The Abarth Grande Punto and Abarth Punto Evo are great cars and have stood the test of time very well. However, like any second hand car there are a few things to look out for when choosing either model.
The Abarth punto is not an overly published choice when it comes to choosing a Hot Hatch. Ford, Vauxhall, Renault and Volkswagen are the manufacturer that most people look to when choosing a Hot Hatch. There are countless articles, road tests and buyer information available all over the web for these popular brands but not so much for the Abarth. The Abarth Punto has always lived in the shadows but people who own and know these cars do so with a passion and come to realise they make an excellent choice, especially if you want to drive something rather special and quite rare. below is a comparison to other similar Hot Hatches just to give you an idea of just how rare these cars are! The figures are taken from (howmanyleft.co.uk) and are UK spec models only (year range specific)
These are just the popular Hot Hatches which are comparible to the Abarth Punto in performance and price range.
* Estimated number based on research
W H I C H V E R S I O N ?
W H I C H V E R S I O N ?
The AGP was only ever launched as a 155 bhp model with a choice of three colours. However, Abarth offered an “esseesse” performance package which could be purchased at the time with the car or later on (as long as it was within 12 months or 12k miles) by an approved abarth dealer.
The esseesse kit was available in two parts so be caerful when viewing an AGP advetisd as an esseesse as the kit was available as a “full esseesse kit” which included the performance upgrade AND the suspension and braking upgrade known as the “assetto corsa” kit. Most AGP esseesse cars have the full kit but some only have either the performance upgrade or just the suspension / braking upgrade so make sure you are clear on which one it has.
I S I T A G E N U I N E E S S E E S S E ?
This may seem like a silly question but due to the rarity of these cars and little knowledge outside the Abarth Punto community, it is easy to be fooled. A few garages (non Abarth dealerships) who have taken these cars in part exchange know little about them and rely on basic information on the internetcand see the “esseesse” badge on the back and assume because it has the badge and in some cases the esseesse wheels that it is an esseesse. There have been a few advertised like this and this is not in anyway a deliberate deception by the garage, more so an absence of real knowledge about these cars, so check carefully and ask questions.
S O H O W C A N Y O U T E L L ?
1. Check the tailgate for the “esseesse” badge
2. Check the engine cover for the RED “esseesse” badge and the BMC filter badge on the airbox
4. Check it has the 18” esseesse wheels, either white or titanium
Along with the certificate there should be a “stamp” in the service book stating when the kit was fitted by the dealer.
A S S E T T O C O R S A K I T
5. Check to see if it has the Brembo drilled discs front and back
3. It should have a certificate of authentication “elaboration”
standard AGP 155 bhp
esseesse AGP 180 bhp
standard APE 165 bhp
6. ChecK under the wings to see if it has the RED esseesse uprated and lowered springs, the car should sit 20mm lower than a standard hight AGP.
O T H E R C H E C K S
In some cases not all the esseesse versions will have the certificate or even the dealer stamp, either its been lost or in some cases the certificate just wasn’t given at the time of fitment.
A lot of the visual mods can be added to the standard car such as wheels, badges and even aftermarket springs and brake discs making it a little harder to tell. If you are still in any doubt then there is a couple of ways to tell. The biggest way is to look at the TURBO housing. It should say Garrett. The esseesse was fitted with a bigger turbo (GARRETT GT 1446) manifold and revised fuel rail, injectors, manifold and larger diameter exhaust standard AGP had the IHI TURBO.
It would also be helpfull to test drive a standard 155 bhp car as there is a noticable difference in power with the esseesse 180 bhp plus it should sound meatier and feel firmer on the suspension
APE esseesse 180 bhp
APE Supersport 180 bhp
APE Scorpione 180 bhp
The Abarth Punto EVO was available in four versions as listed above, unlike the AGP. In the case of the EVO it gets a little more confusing but i will explain as clearly as possible.
STANDARD APE 165
Introduced in 2010. The standard model and available with various spec including 17” diamond cut alloys
APE SUPERSPORT 180
Introduced in 2012 The Supersport featured the ECU upgrade from the esseesse to 180 bhp, larger diameter exhaust and BMC freeflow filter. Satin black 17” claw alloys “Supersport” tailgate badge and the option of Sabelt corsa seats and matt black heritage stripes. Just 199 were built for the UK ( 130 left)
The Supersport also had the option when new to be fitted with the esseesse Assetto Corse kit essencially making it idendical to the esseesse version.
Unlike the esseesse, the Supersport was recognised as an official model and is listed as such on the logbook and recognised by DVLA.
APE ESSEESSE 180
The esseesse version of the APE differed from the AGP esseesse in a few ways. First of all the EVO already has the Garrett 1446 turbocharger, fitted to all EVO models as apposed to the IHI Turbo so it didnt require the uprated manifold, fuel rail or injectors, just an ECU reflash to 180 bhp. It was also fitted with the BMC freeflow filter and larger diameter exhaust and esseesse badges on the tailgate and engine cover.
The Assetto Corse upgrade also differed from the AGP as it now included the KONI FSD uprated shocks and esseesse lowered springs, as apposed to just the springs on the AGP.
The brakes upgrade was also more substantial on the APE esseesse as it now featured floating drilled discs and these were 6.5Kg lighter than the standard disc at 8.0 Kg a total of 3Kg lighter. 18” esseesse wheels were also fitted in white or titanium. It also had the option of Sabelt corse seats.
The esseesse was not launched as an official model. It was an upgrade added to the standard car by the dealers after purchase and not at the factory. This was because the UK at the time did not have Homologation approvel which would technically make this a modified car.
The esseesse version is NOT on the log book. It will always be listed as a standard AGP 155 and not recognised by the DVLA either. However some insurance companies especially specialised ones do acknowledge this version and will need to be declared as such
Due to the esseesse not being recorded on any data base it is difficult to guess how many esseesse models were converted. It is estimated that around only 50 of the AGP and APE esseesse are left. Dealers estimated only one in three cars sold were upgraded to esseesse. These are now quite sought after and prices remain strong.
satin black 17” alloys and Heritage stripes
optional Sabelt seats
EVO esseesse kit features floating discs and Koni FSD shocks with esseesse springs and 18” esseesse rims in white or titanium.
Like the AGP esseesse the APE was also a dealer only supplied kit and not an official model or recognised by the DVLA. It is also not listed on the log book so dont be suprised to see it listed as a standard 165 APE. Like the AGP it was also supplied with a certificate of authentication and dealer stamp. It is estimated that only about 50 of these esseesse versions are left making it rarer than the Supersport.
APE SCORPIONE 180
The scorpione was a factory special edition based on the Supersport, It was fitted with the full esseesse kit from the factory this time but to get around Homologation rules for the UK it was registered by Abarth as the first owner and imported as technically a new “second hand” car, Available only in scorpion black with special matt black paint scheme for the roof and bonnet and special logo mats. It was also fitted with the Abarth sabelt corse seats and 18” esseesse rims but this time in gloss black with yellow calipers.
To tell it is a genuine edition it will NOT have cruise control unlike all the other models which have cruise control as standard, It also came with a certificate of elaboration. Only 10 were built in RHD for the UK and there are only 9 left so finding one might be a little difficult.
18” gloss black esseesse rims with yellow calipers, special matt black paint and logo mats
A T A G L A N C E E N G I N E P O W E R
ABARTH GRANDE PUNTO T-JET 155
ABARTH GRANDE PUNTO ESSEESSE T-JET 180
ABARTH GRANDE PUNTO EVO MULTIAIR 165
ABARTH GRANDE PUNTO SUPERSPORT MULTIAIR 180
ABARTH GRANDE PUNTO ESSEESSE MULTIAIR 180
ABARTH GRANDE PUNTO SCORPIONE MULTIAIR 180
W H A T T O L O O K F O R
B O D Y W O R K
The AGP and APE have no major issues with bodywork and both models should be rust free, If there is any rust then this is probably down to a bad crash repair. Both Abarth models come with a 10 year anti-perforation guarantee and a 3 year paintwork guarantee. It is important to check around the rear plastic wheel arch as water can become trapped, added with stone chips can cause some perforation and its not unusuall to find some surface rust in this area but this is quite rare.
A common issue especially on the EVO is the colour-coded bodykit which can come unstuck with age, especially around where the rear arch meets the side skirt and the middle side skirt, as in the pictures. Other smaller issues especially on the APE is the front badge which is prone to stone chipping, please not that changing the badge on an APE requires the removal of the front bumper!
E N G I N E
The AGP and APE are by design different engines, although they share the same size of 1368cc. The AGP has no history of major failings and is a robust engine if serviced regularly.
The EVO engine itself is a great engine and like the AGP is mechanically strong. However the EVO engine has a weak point which is the Multiair unit. This is fixed on top of the cylinder head and controls the inlet valves with oil pressure through a set of hydraulic actuators. A conventional cam controls the exhaust valves. Many owners have had a Multiair unit fail and this is the achilies heel of these engines. There is no set mileage in which these units fail, some have failed at low mileage, some high. Check the paperwork to see if the unit has been changed. You will need to budget around £1000 including fitting. When test driving listen out and feel for any hesitation under acceloration or misfiring, this can be a sign of the start of a muliair failure. Replacement units can be bought from Research Garage for £529 (see how to guide for info on signs and symptoms of MultiAir failure)
G E A R B O X
The AGP and EVO do not share the same 6 speed gearbox, they have different ratios. The APE gearbox is strong and reliable with no reported problems. The M32 AGP gearbox on the other hand is the weak point and gearbox failures are quite common due to a pour design in the oil galleries on the end case and weak bearings. When road testing listen out for whinning noise, gears crunching between changes and stiff gearchange. A lot of AGP’s have had the gearbox rebuilt. a common mod is to fit a revised end case with revised oil gallaries and larger bearings, 62mm as apposed to the original 55mm. The M32 gearbox is the same box as fitted to the Vauxhaull corsa VXR. (see courtney motorsport for write up)
S U S P E N S I O N / B R A K E S
The AGP and EVO suspension is slightly different, depending on model, as are the brake discs. AGP suspension is generally good and suffers no more problems than most cars of the same caliber. The APE suspension is divided in to two types. The standard EVO and Supersport share the same plain discs and suspension but for the EVO esseesse and Scorpione the suspension is uprated to Koni FSD (frequently selective damping) and lower and stiffer esseesse springs. It is not uncommon for them to suffer a front snapped coil spring, this is not always noticeable when test driving as the spring suffers a break, not in the middle, collapsing the left or right side but the bottom inch only which can go un-noticed untill MOT time so check carefully where the spring nesstles into the shock absorber cup.
The AGP and APE are both fitted with the brembo twin pot callipers up front. Although there are no common problems to report it is important to note that if you are viewing an EVO esseesse or Scorpione (supersport if it has the assetto corse upgrade) then the brake discs are floating discs and are around £650 a pair to replace! as apposed to AGP esseesse non floating discs around £175 a pair depending on make. It is worth noting that the floating discs and Koni FSD shocks can be fitted to the AGP as an upgrade.
E L E C T R I C S
D R I V E T R A I N
The only issue in this section worthy of note are the rear wheel bearings which seem to be another common failure, like any car listen out for a rumbling noise, they are not particularly expensive to buy and fit.
Another area are the drive shafts, although not a common failure, a few owners have had to replace them due to worn splines especially on higher mileage cars, these are around £500 from Fiat! again it can sound like a wheel bearing so check the drive shaft carefully for excessive play.
Electrics on an Italian car have never had a great reputation but to be fair the Abarth Punto’s do not seem to suffer any major glitches. However, the stop/start can sometimes come up on the display panel as “stop start unavailable” this is quite common and not necessarily a major problem. This can be attributed to a less than fully charged battery even though there seems to no problem with it. The stop/start system is far from optimal compared to other cars and can have a mind of its own. Most owners turn this off.
Like most modern cars the Abarth punto is fitted with a multitude of engine sensors which can like most fail. these will throw up a fault code on the display and the car may not drive as it should. The failure rate is no higher than any other car and not a common issue, however if you experience the car not running right then check the Map Sensor at the back of the inlet manifold, it has a yellow square connector, pull this off and check for moisture in the connector. This is due to a very common problem, not with the sensor itself but due to the location under the scuttle tray which has a long rubber seal running the length of the scuttle panel. The has a habbit of coming loose and allowing water to drip down onto the Map Sensor. (see pic )
O T H E R P O I N T S T O N O T E
There are a few other little annoyances and issues to note.
1. The radio on some APE’s has very poor reception with some owners reporting little or no stations. This is due to the aerial base on the roof getting water ingress. Changing the base will cure this problem.
2. If the model your buying has the upgraded Sabelt seats, check the red “pull” leaver still works as sometimes the cables have been known to snap from the red plastic pull. You have to buy the complete cable with handles.
3. The EVO has a habbit of the taillight cluster steaming up with condensation, this is quite common due to the seal failing. A solution is to drill a small hole in the base of the lamp to allow the air to circulate (see fixing solution on the “abarth punto collective facebook”
4. With the APE is is very important that it has a good service history and imperative that it has been serviced with the correct oil Selina 5w 40 as the Multiair unit is very sensitive to the correct grade oil.
check the scuttle seal
aerial base can give problems
check red pull for operation
very common for tail lamp to have condensation
End shaft bearing failure quite common
check the bottom of the springs carefully
check the body kit for signs of lifting
Prices for the AGP have remained fairly strong for the last year or so.These are just coming into to realms of modern classic now. Like any specialist car, price depends on condition, mileage and service history. The esseesse version is quite sought after and prices for these are higher than the standard model.
The APE is divided into 4 versions and prices are quite diverse, again price depends on the same as above but it is more important with the APE that it has good service history and correct oil.
Also consider the spec, the Abarth Corse by Sabelt seats are quite desirable as is the Pan roof and the esseesse rims which are no longer available. prices will always vary depending on spec and the prices quoted are a guide only based on the current market
make sure the correct oil has been used on the APE
W H A T T O P A Y
Abarth Grande Punto £2,900 - £3,700 70k-100k plus miles
Abarth Grande Punto £4,200 - £5,000 50k-75k miles
Abarth Grande Punto £5,000 - £6,600 35kk-50k miles
Abarth Grande Punto esseesse £1000 + over standard model depending on mileage
Abarth Punto Evo £4,000 - £5900 70k-100k plus
Abarth Punto Evo £5,800 - £6,800 50k-75k miles
Abarth Punto Evo £6,800 - £7,500 20k-50k miles
Abarth Punto Evo esseesse £1000 + over standard model depending on mileage
Abarth Punto Evo Supersport £6,800 - £7,500 60k-100k plus miles
Abarth Punto Evo Supersport £7,500 - £8,300 45k-60k miles
Abarth Punto Evo Supersport £7,900 - £8,900 20k-45k miles
Abarth Punto Evo Scorpione £12,000 - £13,500 30k-40k miles
For more imformative information join the “Abarth Punto Collective on Facebook
W H I C H M O D E L ?
The ABARTH GRANDE PUNTO (AGP) Went on sale February 2008 and was in production untill March 2010. Available in 1949 white, speed Red and Scorpion Black and featured an extended black plastic bodykit
(see full options list on this site)
The ABARTH PUNTO EVO (APE) went on sale in March 2010 and was in production untill September 2014. Available in 1949 white, velocity red, scorpion black and for this model campovolo grey. Both models share the same bodyshell and panels. The EVO was facelifted and had revised bumpers and lights and had the bodykit colour coded. Inside the EVO had a revised dash and interior
Mechanically the two are very different. The AGP has a conventional twin cam mechanically controlled cylinder head arrangment. T-Jet engine The EVO however has the Multiair technology cylinder-head.
The EVO also had a different 6 speed gearbox
A B A R T H G R A N D P U N T O 2 0 0 8 - 2 0 1 0
A B A R T H P U N T O E V O 2 0 1 0 - 2 0 1 4
for the benefit of this guide it is intended to concentrate on the various versions, important buying information and common issues and weak points. For a full list of spec, options and servicing please look on this site under model specific
Top Speed 129 mph / 133 esseesse
0-60 8.2 / 7.7 esseesse
1ST - 27 MPH
2ND - 48 MPH
3RD - 71 MPH
4TH - 99 MPH
5TH - 121 MPH
6TH - 142 MPH
GRAND PUNTO GEAR RATIO SPEED
Top Speed 132 mph / 134 esseesse / supersport / scorpione
0-60 7.5 / 7.1 esseesse / supersport / scorpione
1ST - 29 MPH
2ND - 51 MPH
3RD - 75 MPH
4TH - 103 MPH
5TH - 126 MPH
6TH - 147 MPH
PUNTO EVO GEAR RATIO SPEED
T E C H S P E C
IHI RHF3-PI fixed geometry turbocharger
Garrett GT1446 fixed geometry turbocharger (all models)
Garrett GT1446 fixed geometry turbocharger esseesse spec
250 Nm (184 lbft/25.5 kgm) at 2250 rpm
165 bhp PS/120 kW) at 5500 rpm
155 bhp/110 kW) of power at 5500 rpm
230 N·m (170 lb·ft/23.5 kgm) at 3000 rpm
201lb ft @ 2750rpm esseesse
180bhp @ 5750rpm, esseesse
180 bhp/ 132 kW) at 5750 rpm esseesse / supersport / scorpione
270 Nm / 199 ft-lb at 3000 rpm esseesse / supersport / scorpione
Curb weight (without a driver):1185 kg / 2612 lbs
Curb weight (without a driver):1185 kg / 2612 lbs