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Wait for this car: The fabulous Fiat Linea T-Jet

Last updated on: September 24, 2010 10:21 IST

Wait for this car: The fabulous Fiat Linea T-Jet

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CarWale.com


Looking for an amalgamation of outright performance and cutting edge style? Look no further as we give you the low-down on the soon to be launched Fiat Linea T-Jet.


Fiat began its second Indian innings with the launch of the Linea in January 2009.

The Fiat Linea was initially launched in our country with a 1.3-litre multijet diesel engine (86bhp) and a 1.4-litre petrol engine (89bhp).

The diesel, of course was the one to have in full-spec Emotion Pack trim and there's no hiding the fact that it has always been on our favourite's list.

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Image: The Fiat Linea T-Jet
Photographs: Courtesy, CarWale.com
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In spite of the Linea being an excellent product, Fiat had disappointed some of its fans, since most die-hard Fiat enthusiasts had expected a Fiat which will have outright performance.

Those fans can now rejoice since Fiat will soon launch the Linea with a 1.4-litre T-Jet (Turbo-Jet) petrol engine which should be the Italian manufacturer's new fighter Jet to storm the segment.

On the outside, the Linea T-Jet has undergone a few subtle changes which include bigger wheels and tyres. The very pretty 16" multi-spoke alloy wheel wears meaty 205/55 R16 rubber which really look like it can handle some serious speed.

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Wait for this car: The fabulous Fiat Linea T-Jet

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This new wheel and tyre package has also helped by increasing the ground clearance to 170mm from 161mm on the other Linea's. The other visual differentiators apart from the rather obvious T-Jet badging, are the new sporty roof antenna and the rectangular-chrome exhaust tip.

The T-Jet will also be available in a new gold hue which they call Sunbeam Beige which really does look rather special. Fiat will also be offering a subtle bootlid spoiler which is an accessory, as are customized T-Jet floor mats and scuff-plates.

We learn that a decent set of mud-flaps will also be on offer -- and those who've seen lovely Fiat's with horrendous looking mud-flaps, will know exactly how such a small detail can ruin a car's looks.

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Wait for this car: The fabulous Fiat Linea T-Jet

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The interiors of the Linea have been upgraded as well and now have a much better 'quality' feeling to them. Part of the reason could be that since the T-Jet is the flagship Linea, it gets high-quality imported leather upholstery, which really does give the cabin a far more opulent ambience.

The fit of the plastic seems far better too and Fiat has been working hard as sorting out several fit-finish issues that consumers have been talking about in the past.

In addition to the steering-mounted audio controls, the T-Jet's audio system comes with a remote control.  Fiat has also worked on feedback they received to upgrade the air-con system to deal with higher ambient temperatures. There's a significantly colder blast of air throughout the blower speeds.

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Wait for this car: The fabulous Fiat Linea T-Jet

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Coming to the heart of the matter, the Fiat Linea T-Jet gets a 16-valve, 1368cc, turbo-charged petrol engine (Euro 5 compliant by the way!) which churns out 113bhp@5000rpm and a maximum torque of 207Nm@2200rpm.

The torque produced by the Linea T-Jet is best-in-class with the closest petrol competitor in this segment producing close to 150Nm. The Fiat's original 1.4-litre petrol engine has the same 1368cc engine block, however, there are several changes to the engine since it now boasts of a turbocharger which is running at 2.2bar.

Incidentally this is the first turbo-petrol car in this segment, and Fiat has once again done a segment-first with the T-Jet.

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Wait for this car: The fabulous Fiat Linea T-Jet

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Once you've cranked the engine and slotted the gear into first, the difference is quite apparent immediately.

The T-Jet is highly responsive and driving in the city will be far more stress free as compared to the older Linea petrol, since there's plenty  of power now available at the tap of your right foot.

Overtaking has become much easier and you may not necessarily have to downshift for overtaking in most situations. The regular 1.4-litre Linea did 0-100kph in 15.3 seconds in our performance run and the T-Jet galloped to 100kph in 11.9seconds.

This run wasn't done in ideal test conditions, but it's not too far off from Fiat's claim of 11.14seconds to 100kph timing. The top speed of the Linea T-Jet is 186kph and is possibly restricted in the interests of safety. ARAI figures indicate an economy of 14.6kpl  for the Linea T-Jet.

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Wait for this car: The fabulous Fiat Linea T-Jet

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The underpinnings on the T-Jet remain the same with independent helical coil springs and stabiliser bar at its front and torsion beam at its rear along with the double telescopic dampers.

But the T-Jet's meaty 205/55R16 tyres go further to improve the handling since their bigger footprint really does help plenty! Our press demonstrator came with Goodyear Eagle NCT5 which is a level above the Goodyear GT3's which are usually available on the other Linea variants that wear 195/65 R15 rubber.

As the T-Jet produces more power than the regular 1.4-litre FIRE powerplant, and will be driven quickly, Fiat has replaced the rear drums with disc brakes for fade-free braking.

Couple this with a bigger footprint, thanks to the larger tyres, and the T-Jet should have excellent braking performance in all conditions. And yes, ABS and EBD are standard!

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Wait for this car: The fabulous Fiat Linea T-Jet

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In the initial stages of its launch, the Linea T-Jet will be available only in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.

Fiat wants to concentrate on better customer service and overall presentation at all their touchpoints, since the Linea T-jet is a rather niche product and Fiat customers need a different level of service than they are currently used to in India.

Showrooms will be renovated to offer a premium brand experience, and the customers will be received by a well-trained executive -- a hostess -- who will walk them through the product features apart from offering them Italian Coffee -- for a truly Italian experience!

The customer will also get a test drive of approximately 5kms which will include an open stretch of 1km, so that they can experience the power and torque of the T-Jet engine. Fiat India will also make its customers feel special post the purchase of their T-Jet, by sending them a special bottle of wine delivered to their home in a special Fiat Wine case!

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Wait for this car: The fabulous Fiat Linea T-Jet

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Price

With a renewed focus on the customer and brand experience, Fiat India is now raising the game with the T-Jet.

We reckon that Fiat will price the Linea T-Jet at just a shade over Rs 9 lakh (Rs 900,000) -- ex-showroom, Mumbai -- considering competition's current pricing and will ensure that the Linea T-Jet is a lot more bang for the buck!

The Fiat Linea T-Jet has great styling, thrilling performance, class-leading driving dynamics and has several premium features that really do make it stand apart. Then there's the classy and 'looks a million bucks' styling.

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However, some people still feel that service at Fiat dealerships needs to improve, which at the end of the day will jeopardize a truly great brand and an excellent product. 

Fiat India has aims of becoming a segment leader with the Linea T-Jet and although we certainly think that the T-Jet has what it takes, the question now is whether this Fighter Jet is capable of bombarding competition?




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