Rate It: One of the First Cars Styled by Chris Bangle, the Fiat Coupé

By Colin Wood
Oct 26, 2020 | Fiat, coupe, Rate It, Chris Bangle

Chris Bangle may be best known for his work at BMW (for better or for worse), but before his tenure there, he was working over at Fiat. During his time there, he served as chief designer for a uniquely styled front-wheel-drive coupe.

That car, known as the Fiat Coupé, was notable for the angular exterior design that Bangle penned, and even featured an interior styled by Pininfaria. More than 72,000 examples would be built over its 1993-2000 life span.

A number of engines were available, the most powerful being a turbocharged, 2.0-liter inline-five rated for 217 horsepower and 229 lb.-ft. of torque. That meant the front-wheel-drive coupe could hit 60 mph in around six seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph when equipped with the six-speed manual.

A few Limited Editions could also be had, adding features like an exclusive body kit, red front brake calipers, Recaro Seats and Sparco pedals.

Based on the numbers, is the Fiat Coupé prime for importing now that it’s 25 years old, or does the exterior touched by Chris Bangle not do it for you?

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Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/26/20 10:51 a.m.

Honestly, im a fan. I love the interior, too. I still prefer the Alfa built on the same platform (or a contemporary Mitsubishi FTO), but i wouldn't kick one of these out of my driveway. 

Semi-related? E60 BMW taillights are some of my favorite taillights in history.  These ones here are...not. 

nderwater UltimaDork
10/26/20 11:21 a.m.

I once saw one of those in Monaco and was completely baffled as to what it was.  The styling is a thumbs down for me.

mr2s2000elise UltraDork
10/26/20 11:24 a.m.


Dave M (Forum Supporter)
Dave M (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/26/20 11:47 a.m.

Fugly. Looks like a mangled EV-1. 


The interior looks nice though.

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/26/20 11:57 a.m.

wow, you really chose some nasty pics that make a sleek and stylish car look awful.



The biggest issue with the fiat coupe' was the 5 cylinder turbo.. Yes, it was the most powerful of the breed, you needed to pull the engine to do the cambelt.  There was just no room between the front of the engine and the side of the car to do the work.  the 16v engine (same as the Lancia Delta and based off of the beloved Fiat twincam) was much easier to work on, lighter, and could be tweaked to supply the same power.

1988RedT2 MegaDork
10/26/20 12:05 p.m.

Oh, good grief!  All the warning signs were there, and still BMW made the horrible mistake of hiring the man.  What were they thinking?

STM317 UberDork
10/26/20 12:08 p.m.
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) said:

wow, you really chose some nasty pics that make a sleek and stylish car look awful.




All I see is a goofy Sunfire

slowbird SuperDork
10/26/20 12:29 p.m.

I liked it in Gran Turismo 2. Looks better than most of the BMWs he's known for.

Duke MegaDork
10/26/20 12:32 p.m.

The yellow one mad_machine posted sure looks better than the blue ones up top.

But it still suffers heavily from Bangleism:  a layer of weird, fussy detailing failing to hide fundamentally bad proportions.


Yuck. Luckily it looks like a car you wouldn't mind breaking down. 


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