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New Fiat Ritmo - (Australia)

July 30th, 2008
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Fiat has launched two new versions of its family size hatchback, the Ritmo, based around a new trim and equipment package named ‘Dynamic’ and two new engines that enables Fiat to offer the Ritmo with a new opening recommended retail price of $24,990 and provide Fiat’s advanced Turbo Diesel engine in a Ritmo for the first time under the $30,000 price point.

“These two new versions of the Ritmo take our family Fiat into a whole new market sector for both price and diesel availability,” says Andrei Zaitzev, General Manager for Fiat in Australia. “These new versions of the Ritmo may have new, more affordable prices, but the Ritmo retains its stylish good looks, its benchmark five star EuroNCAP safety standards, and high levels of equipment. The two new engines set new standards for performance and, as would be expected of the company that invented the common rail direct injection diesel engine, economy, with the new Ritmo JTD offering a remarkable economy, using just 4.3 litres per 100 km of fuel on the open road.”

The Fiat Ritmo family now opens with the 1.4 Fire engine, the latest development of one of the most successful families of engines in the world. In this variant, which boasts significant upgrades for its Ritmo application, it produces 66 kW and 128 Nm of torque. With a combined fuel consumption figure of 6.7 l/100 km, the latest version of the Ritmo enters the official Australian Government Green Vehicle Guide in fifth position, providing a Fiat with a unique achievement: Every model in its car range is represented in the top five greenest cars on the market.

No less successful – and arguably a member of the most popular diesel engine family available in Australia – the 1.9 litre 88 kW Turbo diesel engine in the new Fiat Ritmo enables diesel economy to now be available in a Ritmo for just $29,990.

The Dynamic equipment and trim package joins the Sport and Emotion equipment packages already offered in Australian market Ritmos and it is by no means a stripped poverty pack variant. Standard equipment includes AirCon, digital audio system, remote central locking, cruise control, trip computer, front power windows, plus a carbon fibre effect and chrome trimmed interior. Nor has safety been sacrificed, with ABS brakes standard, along with six airbags, all standard and the FiatCare Warranty remains at three years/100,000 km with 24 hour roadside assistance.

The new Ritmo joined the Fiat Punto, which relaunched Fiat in Australia last year and was the first of two new models launched in 2008 that have redefined Fiat’s position in the car market. The Ritmo was a strong entrant into the upper end of the increasingly important small car market sector and the new Dynamic variants place it squarely in the middle of this sector, while the Fiat 500 is, quite simply, the most sought-after new car to enter the Australian car market in 2008.

Augmenting an interior design founded on the fundamental pre-requisites of class-leading space, exemplary build quality, and visual and tactile sophistication, the new Fiat’s equipment specification has been carefully considered to simplify and enhance life on board. Interior trim is not just good to look at; it also provides a wonderful tactile experience, with different textures to delight on touch for interior trim and upholstery.

All versions are fully equipped, offering front electric windows and exterior mirrors, cruise control, power steering, remote central locking, an advanced audio system, AirCon and a host of other features as standard.

As befits its name, the Sport adds comprehensive performance orientated equipment package, including rear spoiler; sideskirts; Climate Control AirCon; sports pedals; front sports seats with lumbar adjustment of driver’s seat; leather sports steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake knobs; sports upholstery, red brake callipers and 17” sports alloys with 225/45 tyres.

The Sport versions also come with the innovative Blue&Me integrated telematics system developed in a joint venture with Microsoft, which has proven so popular that more than 20 per cent of Fiat vehicles sold in Europe are now equipped with it. In simple terms, it offers hands-free system with Bluetooth™ technology with steering wheel controls, instrument panel with multifunction display, MP3 audio file player from a USB port and SMS text reader.

While the Ritmo is fully endowed with Italian ‘brio’ and spirit, it is also supported by cutting edge design and development technology that ensures that its beauty is also more than matched by brains.

The new Ritmo, using a name derived from the Italian word for rhythm was created in just 18 months from design ‘freeze’ to production. To achieve this record-breaking development time, Fiat employed new, groundbreaking, state-of-the-art Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) systems of unprecedented power and complexity, allowing the development of this new hatchback to be undertaken almost entirely through virtual analysis and engineering.

So sophisticated is the computer software involved, that not only could Fiat’s engineers simulate every aspect of the Ritmo’s structural, dynamic, NVH and accommodation characteristics to a level of unprecedented detail, but they were also able to create a virtual production-line to ensure consistently outstanding component and build quality.

The benefits of these all-encompassing developments in virtual design and engineering are clearly evident in every aspect of the new Fiat Ritmo, from consistently high build quality and class-leading passenger accommodation, to superior driving dynamics, minimal NVH levels and, of course, outstanding safety provision.

The new Ritmo has been awarded a maximum 5-star rating for adult occupant protection in the gruelling Euro NCAP crash test programme.

Achieving 5 stars for adult occupant safety, 3 stars for child protection and a further 2 for pedestrian protection, the new Fiat recorded 33 points, placing it among the leaders of its category in terms of passive, active and preventive safety.

The 1.4 litre T-Jet 110 kW turbocharged petrol engine, makes its debut in the Ritmo. This is the second example of a new family of turbocharged petrol units developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies to combine the sporting performance and low NVH characteristics of a petrol engine with fuel economy comparable to a diesel unit and CO2 emission levels which readily comply with increasingly stringent European regulation.

Through cubic capacity downsizing allied to the adoption of the smallest possible turbocharger, Fiat’s responsive new 110 kW 1.4 litre T-Jet engine combines performance equal to or better than a conventionally aspirated 1.8/2.0 litre petrol engine, but with a reduction of between 10% and 20% in fuel consumption and emissions.

The T-Jet engine offers an ‘overboost’ button located on the centre console in Sport versions, will deliver an impressive 230 Nm at 3000 rpm, endowing the Ritmo with a 0-100 kmh acceleration time of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 208 kmh. Notwithstanding such lively performance, this superbly responsive powerplant still returns 7.1 l/100 km in the combined cycle and restrict CO2 emissions to just 167 g/km.

The 110 kW 1.9 litre MultiJet unit in the new Ritmo boasts an impressive 305 Nm torque delivered at just 2000 rpm, allowing acceleration from 0-100 kmh in just 9.0 seconds and a top speed of 209 kmh, whilst returning a fuel consumption of less than 5.6 litres in the combined cycle.

With a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating to its name, the new Fiat Ritmo Sport builds on an already impressive safety portfolio with the full range of braking, traction control and stability systems available on the market today: ABS anti-lock brakes, complete with electronic brakeforce distribution, ASR to limit wheel spin during acceleration, MSR to modulate engine brake torque whilst changing down, and a sophisticated ESP to control vehicle stability through bends, which includes hydraulic brake assistance and a Hill Holder function to facilitate smooth hill starts.



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