Comparison

Face Off: Fiat Abarth Punto vs VW Polo GTI

The dawn of the hot hatch segment is finally upon us. With the launch of the Polo GT twins, VW kick started a segment long awaited for by petrolheads of our country. Sadly however, buyers looking to get themselves something fast and hatch-y had their choices limited to the Polo GT alone.

With Fiat finally launching its Abarth sub-brand here in India, we finally have a worthy competitor to the incredibly impressive VW Polo GT. Volkswagen, not one to fall too far behind is already planning to launch another, more powerful variant of the Polo hatchback. This time, the German car maker will bring in the Polo GTI. Today, we compare the upcoming Fiat Abarth Punto and the soon to be revealed Polo GTI to see which hot hatch comes out on top.

Exterior

Fiat Abarth Punto:

The Fiat Abarth Punto borrows its shell from the current gen Punto Evo. As a result, the upcoming car closely resembles its more pedestrian sibling. Visual changes include signature Abarth racing strips along the lower length of the car, Scorpion badging in place of the Fiat logos at the front and back, red ORVMs and scorpion alloys.

At launch, the Fiat Abarth Punto will be one of the fastest hatches in the Indian market
At launch, the Fiat Abarth Punto will be one of the fastest hatches in the Indian market

For the Indian market’s love of flash and chrome, the Italian car maker revamped the Punto’s instantly recognizable, understated character to produce something that appeals to a wider audience. As such, the new Fiat Punto Evo bore a few more sharper angles and a lot more chrome. While some may argue that the new Evo’s bells and whistles allow for greater road presence, the Punto Evo does lose a bit of the classic Punto charm.

VW Polo GTI:

VW’s next big game changer for the Indian market will be the Polo GTI, an even faster variant of the Polo. Volkswagen’s understated design philosophy continues with the Polo GTI as well. Critical changes to the front end include the instantly recognizable GTI badge on the grille, reworked lower bumper and a red accent across the grille.

VW's answer to the Abarth Punto, the Polo GTI will hit dealerships much later and will have to play catch up
VW’s answer to the Abarth Punto, the Polo GTI will hit dealerships much later and will have to play catch up

The rear features chrome plated dual exhaust tips and an all new rear diffuser with a sole chrome GTI badge adorning the trunk of the car. Volkswagen has also endowed the Polo GTI with sporty avantgarde alloys.

While the cosmetic upgrades may not be far too evident, the small changes build on the Polo’s “sleeper” character.

Winner: VW Polo GTI

 

Interior

Fiat Abarth Punto:

The interiors of the Abarth Punto remain largely unchanged with Fiat making subtle changes to the color scheme and badging. The tastefully executed cabin of the Punto Evo is now provided with a touch of sportiness providing occupants with a more enriching experience.

Abarth badges are present all over the interior as well
Abarth badges are present all over the interior as well

VW Polo GTI:

The VW Polo GTI features an all black cabin with red contrast stitching that aid in enhancing the car’s sporty character. The aluminium accented flat bottomed steering wheel and large toucschreen infotainment system add to the premium feel of the cabin. However, similar to most VW cars, the design feels far too clinical and lacks a bit of flair that has come to be expected of high performance cars.

The interior of the VW Polo GTI
The interior of the VW Polo GTI

Winner: Fiat Abarth Punto

 

Engine

Fiat Abarth Punto:

Powering the Fiat Abarth Punto will be a turbocharged 1.4 l four cylinder petrol mill that churns out 140 hp and 200 Nm of torque. The powerful engine is mated to a conventional 5 speed manual gearbox which sends power to the front wheels. To improve handling characteristics, the Abarth Punto sits lower than the standard car and comes with disc brakes for all four wheels and stiffer suspension.

The T-Jet engine that powers the Abarth Punto
The T-Jet engine that powers the Abarth Punto

VW Polo GTI:

The VW Polo GTI houses a 1.8 l turbocharged four cylinder petrol engine that churns out 192 hp @ 6200 rpm and  236 lb-ft (319 Nm) of max torque @ 1450 rpm. International variants of the Polo GTi are offered with both a six speed manual gearbox as well as a seven speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.

VW's tried and tested TSI engine makes an appearance in the Polo GTI as well
VW’s tried and tested TSI engine makes an appearance in the Polo GTI as well

Verdict

The Volkswagen Polo GTI will by far be the more powerful hatch. However, with only a few test mules spotted over the past six months, it is unlikely that the hardcore GTI variant of the Polo will land on Indian shores anytime soon.

Fiat has managed to already showcase the Abarth Punto in its production specifications and will launch the hot hatch sometime during the festive season.

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Psst! Weekend Warrior isn't really his name. Chirag is an automotive journalist for TurboZens, one of the fastest growing autoblogs in India. if you can't find him tearing up clubs (his backyard) every weekend, you can always try Google+