Fiat’s Brazilian arm is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the market-specific Uno Turbo i.e. Fiat do Brazil had experimented with performance-focused Unos in the past with models like the 1.5R and the 1.6R but the Turbo i.e. brought even more power to the table thanks to the firm’s first turbocharged gasoline-burning engine.
Like the facelifted European model, the Brazilian Uno Turbo was powered by a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that sent 118 horsepower and 121 lb-ft. of torque to the front wheels via a revised five-speed manual transmission. The hatchback sprinted from zero to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 9.2 seconds and reached a top speed of 121 mph (195 km/h), impressive statistics for the era and the price bracket the Uno competed in.
To cope with the extra power, the Uno Turbo was fitted with a lowered and stiffened suspension as well as front discs and rear drums borrowed from the Tempra parts bin. The upsized brakes ensured the Uno stopped as well as it accelerated.
The Brazilian Uno Turbo stood out from its European counterpart with a more aggressive design characterized by a deep front bumper with two air dams and a set of fog lights, a body-colored grille, side skirts, a roof-mounted spoiler and model-specific emblems all around. Body-colored door mirrors and 14-inch alloy wheels added a finishing touch to the sporty overall look.
Inside, the Uno Turbo boasted a full instrument cluster with a speedometer, a tachometer and gauges for the turbo’s boost, the oil pressure, the oil temperature and the water temperature. Instrument cluster aside the dashboard was standard Uno fare, but sport seats reminded the front passengers that they were not traveling in a run-of-the-mill econobox.
Brazilian Uno Turbo i.e. production ended in 1996. Some sources claim 1,801 examples were built but Fiat has not verified the statistic.
Although it was only in production for two years, the Uno Turbo i.e.’s was popular enough to convince Fiat to launch more performance-focused models such as the Tempera Turbo Stile and, later, the 180-horsepower Marea Turbo.