GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Fiat Coupe Turbo

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fiat_coupe.jpg

SPECS

 
Year: 1994-2000
Class: Sports Car
Type: 2-door coupe
 
Country: Italy 
 Host: GT2, GT3, & GT4
 
Price: $39,900 (GT2)
 
 
Length: 167.3" // Width: 69.6" // Height: 53.14"
Wheelbase: 100.0"
Overhang: @5 feet 7 inches
Track: 58.7" [F] 57.8" [R]
Ground Clear: 5.9"
Weight: 2,888 pounds
Wgt. Distr: 68 / 32
Steering Radius: 34 feet
Layout: Front-drive / Front-engine
Tires: 225/45ZR-16
F. Suspension: Macpherson struts, coils, lower A-arms, anti-roll bar
R. Suspension: trailing arms, coils, anti-roll bar
Brakes: vented, cross-drilled discs
 
Engine: 2.0 liter DOHC inline-5
Aspiration: intercooled turbo
Fuel System: multi-point fuel injection
Valves / Cyl: 4
Bore x Stroke: ?
Compression: 8.5:1
 
Horsepower: 214 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque: ````````
228 @ 2,500 rpm
 
Credits per HP: $186.45
Pounds per HP: 13.49
Hp per Liter: 107.1
 
Redline: 6,500 // RPM Limit: 7,000

Transmissin: 5-speed manual
 
 
``````````````from Idle ``````````````from 4,500 rpm in 1st
0-60 mph: 6.107 seconds       5.935 seconds
0-100 mph: 16.946               16.705  seconds
 
400 M: 15.103 @ 94 mph
1 KM: 
27.130 @ 122 mph
 
 
Brakes: 100-zero: 3.767 seconds
Test Track: 1:46.647
Top Gear RPM @ 60 mph: 2,500
 
Top Speed at Redline:
1st: 37 mph
2nd: 65 mph
3rd: 96 mph
4th: 126 mph
5th: 156.55 @ 6,400 rpms
 

-------------------EXTERIOR / HISTORY------------------

It looks like a Ferrari, yet costs like a Fiat!!! Please come and take a drive in the most powerful European production front-drive available from the '90s.
 
The Fiat Coupé is one that inspires. It can handle many more races than we might think. In Europe, it is perhaps an alternative to several options, like Honda Integras and Renault Meganés. Though it costs a few thousand more than some other front-drives, the Coupé has many advantages few realize in our games.
 
Some may balk at its looks (I did, initially), which were designed (oddly) by an American dude named Chris Bangle, even though Italy has some of the best styling houses in the world. Chris later went on to create some radical, controversial shapes for BMW we now see everyday. Like the Alfa 145 Cloverleaf, it's hard to give the Fiat Coupé an apt description that'll fit in less than one sentence, but here goes. The Coupé is boxy yet sleek, boasts a long hood with a short trunk, and has a demeanor which is odd, yet is purely modern-Italian. Is it ugly? Well, that depends on your opinion and point of view. If your answer is 'yes', several tens of thousands of real-life customers seem not to agree. In fact, it is rumored that when Fiat unleashed a limited-edition version in 1998, the very first buyer was none other than Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher. So what do you think of that?
 
The Coupé can be shod with a race kit (GT2) that features several handsome color schemes. Even when stock, we have our choice of many colors...everything from silver-gray to a Ferrari-ish red. Sunny yellow to conservative dark green. The Coupé starts off a tad heavy, yet (for the most part) handles tracks well for a front-drive, 'til we get to GT4 of course. With Stage 1 weight reduction (in GT2) we now have reached Integra-country as far as weight goes. No problems here.
 

 
 

red_fiatcoup.jpg

-------------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-----------------

So whether or not the Fiat Coupé Turbo inspires you, few would disagree once they hear this double-overhead cam 5-cylinder engine growl! Such a beautiful sound. For me, few things in life surpass: Hendrix's guitar, Mozart's symphonies are on my list.
 
...Yes, I said FIVE cylinder. Fiat originally offered several 4-cylinder engines, but when they started offering turbos in 1996, a 5 was added to the list. We can do many things with this block. Three (count 'em) levels of intercooled turbo. At Stage 3, we got 397 horsepower at 6,100 rpm with 358 foot-pounds of torque at 5,600 rpms in GT2....simply amazing for such a small engine whose cylinders pack just 399.6 cc's each. Include the appropriate tires and suspension, and you'll be surpised at all the kings and queens of Ai racing you can topple!
 
But even stock, the Coupé has quite a torquey engine, which must be carefully launched from idle. Wheelspin will otherwise begin with vigor immediately. In comparison, an Integra's spikey power curve tends to grip in, and the wheelspin shows up slightly afterwards. In the GT2 European Regionals, I noticed the Fiat Coupé Turbo regularly trounced the rear-drive Jaguar XKR and TVR Cerbera in acceleration even though I was using just a Stage 2 turbo kit (328 horses).
 
In typical sports-car fashion, the gearbox is evenly paced for acceleration and a 150 mph+ top speed stock. In any configuration, max power shows up several hundred revs before the redline, and tapers off slightly, meaning automatic trannies are useful. Close gearing is only useful in slower races, unfortunately. I kept noticing at tracks like Apricot Hill and Rome that I was about to run out of redline as I neared the end of the straight. Not a pleasant thought with a hungry RUF Porsche chasing my tail.
 

---------------------CHASSIS / HANDLING------------------

Since the engine recieves some good marks, how about the carriage itself? This is an easy write-up for me....which means I can get back to more racing in a few minutes! ;)
 
GT2
Mostly, the Fiat Coupé takes on corners like our aforementioned Integra, but without the Integra's brakes. Despite Fiat's claim of a sturdy limited-slip in place to combat front-drive issues, there's also a nasty habit of understeer that tends to ruin everything you've worked for during races! Very un-Integra-like. Unless you've got the race kit, you will not cure these problems. Your cure will have to be early braking, and careful manipulation of throttle out of corners. It sucks. But it's what you'll need to learn if you want to master the Fiat and sckool some rear-drive cars.
 
Fortunately, there are some pluses here. Sway-oversteer is rare, since there is a lack of rear overhang. Mostly, it only shows up if your force it. And finally, I have to admit that when braking early and firmly before that corner, what remains in the Coupé is some of the most precise front-wheel drive steering. You can even hit the hammer early and the car will grip grip grip out of that turn....extremely useful in races!
 


 

PROS-----------------------------------------------------

1). What a beautiful exhaust tone! It's the first thing I noticed about the Fiat Coupé as I attempted those B-license tests in GT2 and GT3. Upgrades tend to ruin these lovely sounds, though.
 
2). A torquey, gutsy engine. Three levels of intercooled turbocharging on the aftermarket.
 
3). Grippy handling out of most corners. Tight FWD maneuverability as well. Oversteer rarely steps in unless you invite it.
 
4). Is this car beautiful? Is it a pig? One thing for sure, it's certainly unique.
 
5) . Sub 6-second acceleration (GT2) can be acheived zero to sixty in a stock Fiat Coupé! Not many front-drives can achieve this...even Integras.
 
6). Lots of shades and a race-kit available. (GT2)
 
7). Most driving will not require full-custom gears.
 

CONS----------------------------------------------------------

1). Honestly, some of the worst brakes. Tweak or adjust....modulate or hammer them...they'll only have their best effect if you start early. Late braking is not an option here.
 
2). The understeer that follows if you don't brake early. Once it starts, you'll have to wait. And wait. Lift-off throttle solves nothing. Your suspension and brake settings solve nothing. Make sure you do your best to avoid understeer in this car!
 
3). Many think the Coupé is ugly, judging by comments online.
 
4). A bit heavy.
 
5). Torquey wheelspin. Let's get one thing straight: this car accelerates well, but your right foot needs to be careful.
 
6). Can't help wishing at times there was a rear-drive version of the Coupé. My Ferrari fix is not satisfied by a Fiat. 
 

Published: October 15, 2006

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