:: THE RANGE
:: '98 - LIMITED EDITION
1998... the year of the big test. Would there be a market for a super-refined version of the Fiat Coupe? The '96 20v Turbo versions got reasonably successful and Fiat decided to do a little market research.
And yes, the Fiat Coupe Limited Edition was born july '98. Featuring a range of stylistic, functional and otherwise performance-wise enhancements, would the public be attracted by the LE?
The trick was to attract people by positioning the LE as a collectors' item. Each one would feature a plaque with a number on. Some 200 cars got it to the British market at first, later stories about a 100 more got through, but no-one actually knows how many were made. Latest number I know of is 1471, but there could be some more...
Car number one has been rumoured to be owned by Michael Schumacher for three months, but...
The general look of the Coupe is enhanced by the bodykit. The LE gets bodycoloured side skirts and front spoiler extensions.
Now let's take a look at what was different on the LE...
With various parts getting a titanium look it's easy to tell a Limited Edition. Side mirrors, rear light armature, fuel filler cap, wheels and dashboard strip. Front grille and headlight mountings also get a grey colour. Some like it, some don't. The thing is: it's different from all other Coupe models, and that's the thing LE owners are looking for: make this special car even more special.
The brakes get an upgrade. Regarding the size of the discs, there's no change, and painting the brake calipers red isn't going to help performance either - it just adds a bit more sportiness to the looks. But the cross-drilling of the discs does add greater performance. Initial bite is a bit better, but the most important thing is the holes let out the gasses formed when braking, which decreases fading and adds force to braking manouvres.
Setting forth the retro elements there is one in the LE that you get to touch each and every time you drive it. The red starter button. You no longer turn the key, no, you press the button. Seen before in some Ferrari's and older race-cars I think this makes the car feel very special. Look at the faces of the people you take along when you reach for the starter. Great! And it's protected too. You can press the button as long as you want or even when the engine is already running, it won't do any harm. Also, you no longer have to shut of everything when you happen to stall (shame on you!).
Okay, everyone admits... the standard Coupe seats aren't very sporty. They sit okay, but miss the supercar feeling. So anatomical seats were just an idea away. But not just any: Recaro's. hey received extra style through red dyed leather. The entire interior received some red insets: doors, steering wheel, handbrake, gear lever,... Even the seat belts received a red colour. On the outside, the 20V Turbo logo on the B-pillar got 'infected' too.
The speedometer got updated with a reading up to 280km/h (175miles per hour)
...and then there's the pedals and footrest. Putting the pedal to the metal in this car results in metal again metal. These Sparco pedals provide better grip through rubber 'dots' and a larger surface. The larger accelerator pedal provides for improved tip-heeling.
You can't believe the Fiat designers still found room under the hood for a strut brace. Providing better turn-in and very tight cornering behaviour, especially on the circuit, the metal bar between the suspension supports is there to please our fast selves. And the red colour is continued in the 'Testa Rossa' too: the cylinder head.
» Model overview
|'98 2.0 20v Turbo||'98 2.0 20v Turbo LE|
|Engine displacement||1998 cm³||1998 cm³|
|Compression ratio||8.5 : 1||8.5 : 1|
|Weight||1.310 kg||1.310 kg|
|6.5 sec||6.5 sec|
|Leather interior||no||black & red Recaro's|
|Titanium finished parts||none||fuel filler cap
rear light armature
|Red finished parts||none||20v Turbo logo
|Body kit||none||Side skirts
Front spoiler extensions
* Acceleration figures measured carrying 2 people + 20 kg luggage.
** Equals 0-62 mph.