New Fiat Panda TwinAir Turbo Review: Diary Of An Italian Drive - Day 2 Photo:
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Tim O'Brien | Oct, 21 2013 | 4 Comments


DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3

This is going to put the little Panda to the test: from Sulmona nestled at the base of the Apennines, to Calascio del Rocca, Abruzzo's highest hill-town.

But hey, I've got two cylinders and 875cc under the bonnet. And there's a turbo hanging off the side.

Hook all that together and you've got a more-than-useful 63kW and 145Nm (buckets of power). Fact is, as we learned on the Autostrada, if you keep that little motor humming along - like north of 4000rpm - it is as lively as a puppy.

But try to lug it along below 2000rpm, and nothing, absolutely nothing, happens.

This is an engine for revs, and lots of them. Thankfully, the five-speed manual gearbox is light, a bit long in the throw, but fun to row around.

And how much fun is this? Wringing the little Panda's neck from one apex to the next in an 'Italian Job' climb up through the Apennines, it's like a cartoon.

It's roly-poly, and leans through the corners like a Bolivian bus, but is incredibly 'well-stuck'.

With that motorbike sound of those twin-cylinders filling the ears, it is simply just a hoot. And the fuel gauge? Barely moved; averaging 6.8 l/100km for this mountain climb.

So we got there... in record time (well, we've only done it once so anything's a record). And here, in the tight 'main street' of Calascio, you couldn't possibly have a car any bigger than the Panda. It just wouldn't fit.

Day three will have us climbing higher again - to the foothills of the Gran Sasso which rises nearly 10,000ft.

And the fun continues - we'll be putting the Panda TwinAir over some gravel roads.

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