Twenty four year old Emil Manual Aruja works at ADNOC in Abu Dhabi, and has a small burger joint in Kochi called Eat Street. If the reviews are anything to go by, the place serves tasty food. But his best creation is often parked outside the shop – a white Punto Abarth with subtle lowering and 17 inch alloys.
Emil was smitten by the Punto Abarth when he test drove one. He loved the analogue feel it had and that it wasn’t an easy car to get in a go fast. His first mod was the exhaust system complete with the Remus endcan, which made it sound so much better – something that Fiat should have done from the factory on the Abarth. Emil says the exhaust also helped the turbo spool faster but it wasn’t until Wolf Moto remapped his car that the Abarth got it proper sting.
Mr.Rajiv Chandran of Wolf Moto has carved quite a name for himself, specializing in good remaps for most European cars. In the Abarth, Rajiv has taken it to another level by making it switchable. Map 1 is the factory map, Map 2 is a performance map designed to work with regular pump fuel while Map 3 is for 97 Octane fuel. How it works is, you turn the key to battery position and press the accelerator pedal all the way. With each press, the tachometer needle jumps a point indicating which map is selected. No extra switch, no ungainly displays, not an extra wire anywhere – it is all designed to work seamlessly with the existing hardware. Genius, huh?
The Abarth still runs the stock IHI VL38 turbo with typical boost around 1.3bar, peak boost around 1.5bar and going down to almost 0.8 bar at redline. It also gets an upgraded GReddy intercooler and a K&N Cold Air Intake. It is easier to drive off, thanks to better bottom end which is good in traffic. The HKS blow off and exhaust provide enough music to the ears without being overtly loud inside the cabin. The midrange has seen even massive improvement. There is very strong punch and it races its way to the red-line even quicker. Performance is more Skoda 1.8 TSI league than anything else, even with the big 17 inch rims and tyres. The bigger intercooler makes sure that performance doesn’t suffer, even on the hot day we tested it. Having driven quite a number of them in various states of tune, I can say, if there is one car that needs a remap it is the Abarth.
Emil’s car runs on Eibach lowering springs which gives it a neat look. The ride quality isn’t that bad for just springs, thanks to the adequate damping the OE shocks have straight from the factory. The car is still a running project and Emil is contemplating a Mitsubishi TD04 turbo upgrade good for over 220bhp. Yes, we have driven one and you will read about it in the months to come.