29.08.2012 FIAT PANDA 4X4 TO LEAD OUT EXPANSION OF RANGE IN PARIS

FIAT PANDA 4X4
FIAT PANDA 4X4
FIAT PANDA 4X4
FIAT PANDA 4X4

Fiat will launch the awaited 4x4 variant of the new Panda, the new model family's first niche member, at next month's Paris Motor Show hoping that the return of this respected model to the A-segment line up will help boost its sales.

Fiat will launch the awaited 4x4 variant of the new Panda, the new model family's first niche member, at next month's Paris Motor Show hoping that the return of this respected model to the A-segment line up will help boost its sales. The Panda 4x4 will be joined at the French show by two further derivates: the Panda Trekking (incorporating Fiat's Traction+ technology) and the Panda Natural Power.

The new Panda 4x4 will be the only A-segment four-wheel drive model on the market. It will be built at revamped Pomigliano d'Arco factory in Italy alongside the front wheel drive model. The newest model in the Fiat range and introduced earlier this year, the Panda will be looking for new success from the 4x4 as its production has already been slowed. The Pomigliano d'Arco factory is set for further temporary shutdowns next month and again in October.

Style and dimensions

With five doors, the car is 368 centimetres long, 167 centimetres wide and 160 centimetres high. The wheelbase is 230 centimetres long. It has a front track of 141 centimetres and a rear track of 140.

For the look of the new Panda 4x4, Fiat Centro Stile designers started from the idea of consolidating its purely functional design features, adding small details. Looks are characterised by the marked geometric lines of the front and rear bumpers with aluminium colour cosmetic inserts to underline the presence of metallic protection under the body.

Unlike the previous generation, the tailpipes of the new Panda 4x4 follow the lines of the body and ensure complete protection for the lower part of the car. Two body colours now complement the existing colour palette to enhance its 4x4 looks: Sicilia orange (pastel) and Toscana green (metallic).

The interiors follows the 4x2 versions but with some new details: a new green fascia variant framing the instruments and the large storage pocket, fabric seats with a special design in three colour variant (green, beige, orange) and eco-leather details, front and rear door panels also with eco-leather inserts and finally a high console over the central tunnel which adds a further storage compartment to the 14 already present on 4x2 versions. 

"Torque on demand" four-wheel drive and ELD (Electronic Locking Differential) function

The Panda 4x4 is equipped with a "Torque on demand" transmission system with two differentials and electronically controlled coupling. This is a permanent four-wheel drive system managed by an electronic control unit which, by analysing vehicle signals, distributes traction on the front and rear axle homogenously and proportionally according to road grip conditions. The advantages of this system are entirely automatic operation and no maintenance.

The Panda 4x4 features the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system with ELD (Electronic Locking Differential) function as standard. This system provides additional assistance while driving and setting off uphill on slippery terrain (snow, ice, mud etc.). More specifically, the ELD acts by braking the wheels with poor grip (or those slipping more than the others), thereby transferring the drive force to those which have more grip on the ground. This function can be activated manually by pressing the button behind the gear lever and operates below 50 km/h.

Engine versions

Two engine versions for the Fiat Panda 4x4 will be available, both with Start&Stop: the new 85 HP 0.9 TwinAir Turbo and the 75 HP 1.3 MultiJet II diesel. With respect to the 1.2 Fire of the previous generation, the TwinAir Turbo has 40% more torque. This in combination with the special six-speed gearbox with low-range first gear ensures much better uphill starts, quality when starting, flexibility and pick-up. A similar improvement is found on the MultiJet II engine, where torque is increased by 30%.

Suspension

The suspension system of an all-wheel drive car has two main tasks to fulfil. It must ensure all typically 2WD features such as passenger comfort, handling, road hold and safety, and at the same time it must provide better characteristics for tackling any type of terrain, particularly off-road.  Engineers worked on these parameters to reach both objectives. Levels of absolute excellence have been reached with a particular eye to comfort and off-road performance. For this reason, two tried and tested layouts were chosen: an independent MacPherson arrangement at the front and an interconnected wheel with torsion beam layout at the rear, specifically developed for the four-wheel drive version. With respect to the semi-trailing arm solution of the previous generation, the rear suspension is lighter and provides better ride and acoustic comfort with the same off-road performance as before.

Equipment

Standard equipment includes ESC system with ELD, manual climate control system, CD/MP3 radio, 15" burnished alloy rims, 175/65 R15 M+S tyres, electric rear-view mirrors, central locking system with remote control and rear head restraints. A large range of optional equipment and accessories is available, to enhance its mainly urban or off-road use as required. 

Trekking and Natural Power: the Panda family gets bigger

The Panda has the most extensive, versatile range in its category, and to confirm this two important new Panda family members will be making their debut in Paris: the Trekking and Natural Power versions. The first is the link between the 4x2 and the 4x4 version by combining off-road looks with smart front-wheel drive by implementing Traction+ technology. This is an innovative traction control system, which improves handling on slippery terrain guaranteeing excellent performance when setting off. There is also the new Panda Natural Power equipped with a dual fuel (methane and petrol) 80 HP 0.9 TwinAir Turbo engine to combine all the running cost and eco-friendly advantages of methane with Turbo TwinAir technology for excellent fuel consumption, emission and performance values.
 

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2012 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed