As much as we all remember 90s European sports cars such as the E36 M3 and the 986 Boxster, some gems of the time remain unsung heroes whose glory days are long behind them.
One of my personal favorites, the Fiat Coupe, specifically the 20V Turbo, faded away into the sands of time far before most of us had even discovered its existence.
This is one of the cars that got me to love cars as a kid. I remember driving a Blu Elettrico one in Gran Turismo wondering why we never got it in the states considering how cool and fast it was.
Produced from 1993 to 2000, the Fiat Coupe was Fiat’s answer to sporty cars such as the BMW E36 Coupe, Ford Probe, and Alfa Romeo GTV. Penned by Chris Bangle, the car received mixed reviews at the time due to its polarizing aesthetics. It was originally powered by one of two 4-cylinder engines derived from the Lancia Delta. After a short time, the turbocharged one was replaced by a turbocharged 20-valve inline-5, which produced a whopping 220 hp and 230 lb-ft. of torque. It was mated to either a 5-speed or 6-speed manual.
Fiat tried to make its cars sportier in the 90s with the introduction of the Coupe as well as the Barchetta and Punto HGT Abarth. The Barchetta was a front wheel drive competitor to the likes of the BMW Z3, Mazda Miata, MG F, and Audi TT. The Punto HGT Abarth was aimed at the VW Polo GTI.
Although it was very quick in 20V Turbo Plus form, it never rose to the fame it deserved. It hit 60 in only 6.3 seconds and hit 155 mph with only 220 hp, which was unheard of at the time. Not only that, but it was available with Recaro seats and side airbags, which was a big deal at the time. Not to mention the fact that it weighed in at under 3000 lbs, even in 20V Turbo Plus guise.
Its build quality and reliability always kept it from shining as brightly as it could’ve. Combined with the depreciation, the Coupe was eventually discontinued in 2ooo with no replacement. Just under 73,000 Coupes were produced from 1993 to 2000, making it relatively rare. Fast forward 18 years, and we find that the Coupe only gets rarer with every day that passes.
The best part? We can import them as of this year. Not the 20V, but the regular one for now. The 20V will become eligible as of 2021, which means we still have a few years to wait. By 2025, we’ll get the finest of the bunch, the 20V Turbo Plus. They’re pretty cheap in Europe, but it’ll be hard to find a clean one with low miles.
As a matter of fact, not only was it in Gran Turismo, but it was also a DLC car in Forza 4
Not to mention the fact that it was featured in season 11 of Top Gear as a “police car” with chariot spikes on the rear wheels
Although it’s largely forgotten, the 20V Turbo Plus Coupe will always remain one of my favorite Italian cars of all time.