The Fiat Punto light car has been on the South African market for less than a year, but the Italian marque is already putting the finishing touches on its successor, which will be built on the same platform as the next-generation Opel Corsa.

The Fiat Punto light car has been on the South African market for less than a year, but the Italian marque is already putting the finishing touches on its successor, which will be built on the same platform as the next-generation Opel Corsa.


Styled by Italdesign's Giorgetto Giugiaro, who was responsible for facelifts to the Alfa Romeo 156 and 147 (due in South Africa later this year), and most recently Fiat Auto SA's Palio models, the next Punto is almost entirely new, sharing only some engines with the existing line-up.


The new Punto will be a product of the technical collaboration between Fiat Auto and General Motors, and will follow the familiar format of transverse engine, MacPherson strut suspension up front and a coil sprung torsion beam axle at the rear.


Despite the fresh platform, the new Punto will ride on the existing 2 460 mm wheelbase, but will be slightly longer and fractionally taller than the current car. Whether these changes will add more interior space remains to be seen, speculated on Monday.


It is hoped that the new light car from Fiat will show improvements in body stiffness, safety, refinement and build quality, as well as a wide variety of options, ranging from high-powered audio to telematics systems, the report said.


The new engines will include an uprated version of Fiat's 1,3 JTD Multijet diesel, as well as potent 112 KW 1,9 Multijet oil burner.

Petrol powerplants will include a 45 kW 1,2, an 60 kW 16-valve 1,2, a 71 kW 16-valve 1,4 and possibly a 97 kW 16-valve 1,8.


Sources say five-speed manual and six speed sequential transmissions will be on offer in the new range, which will be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year, before going on sale in Europe early in 2006.

Original article from Car