Test Fiat Coupe

Test Fiat Coupé 1.8 16V: the last in a long line

It is the last coupé in the long history of the Turin brand, and the first units are also going to be 30 years old, the perfect excuse to take the controls of this unit.

Since its origins, the Turin company has been accustomed to producing automobiles with coupe bodywork, which usually take advantage of the engines and frames of much more widespread models. That is also the case of protagonist of our test, the Fiat Coupé, equipped with the same platform as the Fiat Tipo and Tempra.

After launching the Fiat Tempra saloon in 1990, which expanded the range started by the Fiat Tipo since 1988, the transalpine brand decided to create a coupé. It was about Project 175, which recovered the Fiat tradition in that type of bodywork. The premises of the future coupé focused on a strikingly designed body, which was going to include some details linked to classic tradition. And, in addition, powerful engines and an efficient frame, designed for driving enjoyment.

Rear Fiat Coupe

For its part, Pininfarina was in charge of designing the cabin and made a dashboard painted in the same color as the body. A style that was reminiscent of that common in sports cars manufactured in the 60s. international presentation of the Fiat Coupé took place in November 1993, while its commercialization in Spain began on May 20, 1994. Initially It was offered in 2-liter 16-valve versions with 145 HP and a 195 HP turbo..

El American designer Chris Bangle was in charge of the study carried out by the Fiat Style Center, the result of which was a car that leaves no one indifferent. We start with the front, where the grille and the shape of the headlights are surprising. Also striking are the nine lower openings in the front bumper, intended to provide fresh air to the crankcase and radiator. In addition, the immense hood covers the headlights, the grille and even integrates the upper half of the fins.


When viewed from the side, in this coupé the attention is drawn to the Marked grooves on the wheel arches. Of course, they give it personality, as does the widening that began in the final third of the door and continues to the rear. Similarly, the way the doors open is curious, with a hole in the central pillar and the knob above the door lock. In that same line, the gas tank cap causes impact, made of aluminum and quick opening.

The rear area also shows its character, both by the sudden drop of the rear and by the two circular optical groups. Above are the brake and position lights, while below are the turn signals and fog and reversing lights. Likewise, the rooms are attractive and well ventilated. alloy wheels, whose measurement of 6,5 x 15 inches appears adequate for the power of this model. The same goes for the 205/50 ZR 15 tires, also in line with performance.

As for the trunk, its 305 liters of capacity are linked to a very usable configuration, without irregularities. It opens from the driving position and has a hatch on the left side to carry long objects. When raising the hood, its large dimensions and generous lateral extension allow access a good part of the mechanical organs. Of course, the engine compartment is completely occupied, but any maintenance work can be carried out without problems.


Registered in 2000, its last year in production, was premiered by María del Carmen, doctor and professor of pathology at the University of Cádiz. She drove it regularly for twenty years, until she stopped using it when she was old. It was then that she gave it to Manuel López Doña, also a colleague and a great fan of classic and antique vehicles. In this way, María del Carmen made sure that The Fiat Coupé was going to continue in good condition.

Being stored inside a warehouse with many old cars, it was necessary to push at least nine other cars until our protagonist was removed. And then, connect the battery, start the engine, wash the bodywork and dry it carefully. Once shiny, it was time to place it in a sunlit area and photograph every exterior detail. As This coupe is quite austere in ornaments, it took us little time to immortalize the wheels, moldings and other details.

At the time of the photo session, Its odometer read just under 115.000 kilometers.. However, its presence both externally and internally does not suggest that it has traveled such a distance in its almost 24 years of existence. And when we looked at the MOT sticker, we saw that it was expired for three weeks. Faced with such a setback, we preferred to ride with him inside the private property, so as not to risk receiving a sanction.


As in most coupes, the interior floor is low and forces you to bend your knees and back before sitting. Once inside, the width of the cabin stands out, while the height to the ceiling is somewhat limited. The leather steering wheel feels pleasant to the touch and it is easy to achieve the ideal driving position. This is due to the possibility of adjusting the height of the steering wheel, added to the adjustment of the seat in distance and inclination of the backrest.

Likewise, it makes a pleasant impression dashboard painted in the same color as the body. In fact, it was the signature Pininfarina the one in charge of the interior design and this is stated by the molding installed in the center of the dashboard. As for the instrumentation, it is composed of a voltmeter and an oil pressure gauge located on the left side, plus the gasoline gauge and the coolant thermometer located on the right side.

In addition, In the central area of ​​the dashboard there is an analog clock. Likewise, the console that is mounted between both seats houses the sound system, six switches, and the climate control and air conditioning controls. Further down, near the handbrake and the gear lever, we find the electric windows for the front windows, as well as the two controls that allow electrical adjustment of both exterior mirrors.


Upholstered with textile material, the front seats enjoy an anatomical design that promotes rested driving. They also have lumbar adjustment, ideal for traveling comfortably and riding without becoming fatigued. In addition, both the seat and the backrest are enveloping and provide comfort, which is added to lateral support in line with the performance and sporty spirit that characterizes this model.

We then moved to the back seat, being careful not to trip over the lower anchorage of the front seat belt. Once on board, it becomes clear that The rear seats are designed to easily accommodate two adults.. Curiously, there is ample legroom and on both sides there are armrests formed into the side trim. On the other hand, the height is somewhat limited, since the heads are very close to the rear window.

Even so, the two possible occupants They have a generous spaciousness. Added to this is a seat anatomy that promotes comfort, although they lack the lateral support that distinguishes the front seats.


Then comes the time to restart the 1,8 liter multivalve engine, which joined the Fiat Coupé range in the autumn of 1998. When it appeared, it replaced the engine designed by Aurelio Lampredi that was used previously. It is now Sara, Manuel's daughter, who activates the ignition key and the powerplant instantly comes to life. Of course, the electronics cause the idle speed to rise to 2.500 rpm for a minute, until it drops to the usual 800 rpm.

Sara engages first gear and we begin a quiet ride on the farm's paved roads. It immediately goes into second gear and accelerates in an instant up to 50 km/h, like proof that the engine has considerable thrust. At a stable speed, you can see that the suspensions ensure that passengers are comfortable. And paradoxically, they also achieve effective and progressive behavior, preceded by a reassuring and slight understeer.

In that same sense, the speed and precision of the steering is appreciated, whose 2,8 turns of the steering wheel between locks favor quick handling. And the standard servo assistance, which adds rest during maneuvers and stands out for the comfort provided. Another notable chapter is the low mechanical noise achieved at medium and low speeds, which is achieved both by a modernly designed engine and by quite careful soundproofing.


The next day and with the MOT already passed, we had the opportunity to ride this coupe again. Now It was time to move on faster roads with little traffic, where we can reach greater speed and have different sensations. Surprising is the almost zero inclination of the body when cornering at a brisk pace, something that encourages you to maintain a faster pace. The brakes also help to a large extent, combining strong decelerations with an easy-to-modulate feel.

By contrast, the gear control lacks precision. It forces you to mark each step calmly and accurately. In turn, engaging reverse gear is difficult and requires gentle action with the clutch pedal and the gear lever. We complete the route on a stretch of highway, an environment in which this coupé makes use of its good aerodynamics. On the one hand, to travel without annoying sounds produced by the air; and on the other, to achieve commendable consumption figures for its power and displacement.

Also interesting is the game that can be played with the three highest gears. In fact, we can stretch the third ratio up to 120 km/h legal to accelerate vigorously, or roll in fifth gear at that same speed and only 3.800 rpm on the rev counter needle. Likewise, rolling on this type of expressway not only stands out for its comfortable cruising and ride comfort. It also adds driving pleasure, marked by the smoothness of the controls and controllability from the steering wheel.

Already in 2024, The first units of the Fiat Coupé have over thirty. Therefore, it can be incorporated into the world of historical vehicles, where the surviving examples will show their aesthetic exclusivity at the usual gatherings. On the other hand, this model has notable features and an effective frame in terms of brakes, steering and suspensions, which make it a good candidate for use on speed circuits after appropriate preparation.


It's time to put an end to the Fiat Coupe test. In short, an interesting specimen designed in the last decade of the last century, provided with quite complete equipment. It also has the attraction of having the signature of Pininfarina, which was in charge of outlining the style of the interior. Developed by the Fiat Stile Center in collaboration with Pininfarina, this four-seater coupe-type bodywork It has a peculiar aesthetic and an exclusive personality. And, in addition, it achieves a commendable Cx coefficient of 0,32.

Fiat Coupe Side

Likewise, Its 131 HP multivalve engine achieves brilliant performance, without increasing gasoline consumption. And to this it adds a silent ride, as long as it is not driven constantly above 4.500 revolutions. Likewise, its suspensions have a successful compromise between comfort and behavior, which makes it a pleasant sports car to drive on any type of road surface.


Despite the tradition of the Turin firm, from 1975 until the release of the Coupé The Fiat range lacked any version with a coupe body in its range. His predecessor was Fiat 124 Sport Coupé, presented at the Geneva Motor Show, held in March 1967. Created from the popular Fiat 124 saloon, which went on the market in 1966, that two-door, four-seater variant was designed by the Fiat Stile Center. And at the beginning, it was powered by a 1.438 cm twin-shaft engine3 and 90 hp.

And in 1969, Fiat presented the second series of the 124 Sport Coupé, available since then with a 1.608 cm engine3, cylinder head with two camshafts and feeding with two double carburetors. Its maximum power, 110 HP at 6.400 rpm. This version was also manufactured by Seat and stands out for its high performance, with a top speed of 180 km/h and an acceleration per kilometer of 31,5 seconds from a standstill. Likewise, it incorporated a five-speed gearbox.

Fiat 124 Sports
Second series of the Fiat 124 Sport Coupé, now with a 1.608 cm3 engine and 110 HP.

The last major change occurred in the fall of 1972, when the bodywork received a redesigned grille, plus ventilation grilles on both sides and a rear whose trunk lid improved loading, as well as vertical headlight groups with a much larger surface area. It also incorporated the 1756 cm engine3 and 114 hp, until its production ceased in 1975.


Thanks to the platform taken from the Fiat Tipo, with its generous 2,54 meters of wheelbase, It was possible to create this coupé equipped with a cabin for four people. An objective in which the transverse position of the engine also helps. Likewise, the body built by Pininfarina in its factories in Turin and San Giorgio Canavese has a Cx coefficient of 0,32. This figure, although not extraordinary, allows for moderate consumption and good performance.

Equipped with ellipsoidal headlights that are covered by two transparent polycarbonate protuberances, it also has independent suspensions on both axles. As for the brakes, it has four discs, the front ones ventilated. Equipped with a cylinder head with four valves per cylinder in all its versions, There were also turbocharged variants of up to 220 HP.. With such power, its top speed was 250 km/h.

Fiat Coupe X-ray
The engine compartment was designed to house transverse mechanics.

In the same way, the Coupés with turbocharged mechanics had a standard ABS braking system and a Viscodrive self-locking system. This transmission device is responsible for avoiding motor loss, given the abundant horsepower.

 Classic Lane photographs.


Motor transverse front
Displacement 1.747 cm3
Cylinders 4 in line
Diameter x stroke 82,0 x 82,7 mm
Maximum power 131 CV to 6.300 rpm
Maximum torque 164 Nm to 4.300 rpm
Food Hitachi electronic injection
Compression ratio 10,3:1
Distribution Two overhead camshafts
Fuel Gasoline
Traction Lead
Gearbox Five-speed manual + ma
Clutch dry single disc
Chassis self-supporting monocoque
Bodywork Coupé (four seats)
Front suspension Independent McPherson type, with transverse triangular arms, telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers and stabilizer bar
Rear suspension Independent wheels pulled by longitudinal arms linked by a torsional axle, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers and stabilizer bar
Address Zipper
Brakes ventilated discs/discs
Length/width/height 4.250 / 1.768 / 1.340 mm
Ways 1,485 / m 1,470
Battle 2.540 mm
Weight : 1.180 kg.
Tires 6,5J x 15
Tires 205 / 50 R 15
Deposit 63 liters
Consumer goods 8,84 l / 100 km
Trunk 305 liters
Maximum speed 205 km/h
Weight / power ratio 9,0 kg / CV
year of presentation 1993
years of production 1993-2000
year unit tested 2000
Units produced 72.762

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Written by Ignacio Saenz de Camara

I am Ignacio Sáenz de Cámara, I was born in Vitoria more than half a century ago. As it happens to many of you, I too suffered / enjoyed from a young age with that impossible to restrain attraction towards any motor vehicle. As I got older, I saw that I also liked to read everything that fell ... See more

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