Where there's smoke, there's fire. So it was natural to expect that, with the debut of the mildly facelifted Fiat Punto Evo and its smoked headlights, we might expect an updated version of the fire-breathing Abarth to go with it. And this, according to reports, is our first look at just such a hot hatch.

A revised fascia isn't the only change the new Abarth Punto Evo brings to the table. Confirming earlier reports, the new Scorpion will get a bump in power from 155 horsepower to 170, thanks to the use of Fiat's new MultiAir engine technology. But that's just the base Abarth. The even hotter EsseEsse model is tipped to have 200 hp on tap, perfect for doing battle with the recently revised Clio Renaultsport 200. The use of Fiat's new dual-clutch gearbox is also reportedly in the mix, along with some LED lighting.

In a related development, Scottish racing team If Motorsport is reported to be considering bringing the Punto Abarth into the British Touring Car Championship. The adoption of new, low-cost NGTC rules for the 2011 series is the impetus, and if recent competition-spec Abarth machines are anything to go by, the BTCC could have a real thrasher on its hands.

[Source: Cardisiac via rmpgo.com, Autosport]