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Fiat the coming of age

Ritmo is the star attraction on the Fiat stand at the Brisbane International Motor Show.

The new model sits above the Fiat Punto providing the Italian car maker with a second model in the important and lucrative small car category.

Fiat will also launch the turbocharged version of the Punto Sport at the show.

David Stone, general manager for Fiat Cars in Australia, said the Brisbane International Motor Show marked the “coming of age” for Fiat's return to the Australia market.

“The Ritmo is our move into a market sector that is becoming increasingly important in the Australian market premium and prestige small cars,” he said.

Ritmo comes with ABS, stability control, remote central locking, four airbags, electric front windows, CD player, power steering and Follow Me Home headlamps in the Emotion trim level.

The Sport version adds dual zone climate air, cruise control, Bluetooth, sports seats, alloy wheels and a body kit.

Pricing will be announced at the show.

It is powered by a choice of petrol and diesel engines. The 110kW 1.4 litre T-Jet turbocharged petrol engine is the first example of a new family of turbocharged petrol units developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies.

The T-Jet engine offers an over boost button on the centre console in Sport versions and deliver 230Nm at 3000rpm, giving it a 0-100kmh acceleration time of 8.2 seconds.

At the same time, Fiat claims fuel economy figures of 7.1L/100 km in the combined cycle and restrict CO2 emissions to 167g/km. Ritmo also comes with a 110kW 1.9 litre JTD turbo diesel with 305Nm of torque at 2000rpm.

Fiat claims a 0-100kmh time of 9.0 seconds and fuel consumption of less than 5.6 litres in the combined cycle. These engines are mated to six-speed manual gearboxes with a Dualogic self-shifting gearbox later in the year for the 1.4L T-Jet.

The new Fiat Ritmo was created in just 18 months from design freeze to production, using Computer Aided Design Computer Aided Engineering systems.

This meant its development was almost entirely achieved through virtual analysis and engineering.

Fiat claims this led to consistent build quality, driving dynamics and low noise, vibration and harshness levels.

Ritmo has recorded a maximum 5-star rating for adult occupant protection in the Euro NCAP crash test programme, three stars for child protection and two for pedestrian protection.