Comeback for Fiat Panda 100HP
The higher-performance version of the Panda was killed off when the latest-generation car was introduced last year. However, Fiat's European head of brand, Gianluca Italia, has told What Car? that a successor to the car could yet appear, powered by the 104bhp turbocharged two-cylinder engine that will form a key part of the 500L's line-up when it reaches the UK in March.
'In our core brand principles we have the Panda as "functional" and the 500 line-up as "aspirational",' Italia said. 'However, that doesn't mean the Panda can't have "aspirational" models too; we think the Panda 4x4 and Panda Trekking are both under that category.
'A new high-performance Panda is not a priority, because the 100HP sold in small numbers, but yes, it could happen. Perhaps there is something we can do with the latest Twinair engine. We are looking at lots of other uses for that, including putting it into a non-Abarth version of the 500, so obviously the Panda is an option.'
The new Twinair engine produces 104bhp and 107lb ft of torque, enough to take the 500L from 0-62mph in 12.3 seconds. The smaller, lighter Panda could conceivably trim a second or more from that time.
Fiat could also offer the Panda 100HP with the same 'Eco' function that appears in the 500L. This is a mode – selected via a dashboard switch – that limits power and torque to help improve fuel economy in town driving.
By John McIlroy