1998 Fiat Barchetta 98 LE 1.8 from UK and Ireland


A unique retro-modern roadster with character


Variator is starting to get noisy on start up, noise disappears after a few seconds.

Apart from that very reliable.

General Comments:

Lots of stone chips at the front, paintwork seems a little fragile.

Car is fun to drive even at slow speeds. Handling rewards smooth and committed driving, can be upset by sudden lift-off in corners. Handling is best on smooth roads, mid-corner bumps are just about tolerated.

Engine performance is adequate rather than amazing. Is better than a standard MGF 1.8 and MX5 1.6 and 1.8 (v1.0). Sounds much, much better with a performance exhaust! More Italian.

The interior and exterior is eye-catching with many unique design features, including the aluminium pop-out door handles, smooth integrated tonneau cover and pert rear end!

The front and rear end also incorporates discrete underbody spoilers, which don't spoil the look.

The boot is big enough for double digit holidays to europe for two - if you pack economically. There is loads of space behind the seats and under the tonneau area (where we managed to store 12 bottles of french wine...)

You won't get so much styling and practicality for the price.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th May, 2002

1998 Fiat Barchetta 1.8 from UK and Ireland


An eye-catching car at a bargain price


Variator needed replacement (common fault, haggle with Fiat who may replace it outside the warranty period).

General Comments:

Beautiful styling, nice drive, and some rarity value on UK roads.

Terrible radio.

Window motors weak and slow.

Door handles can be a problem to open in winter.

Do NOT take to a Fiat dealer, they have hardly any experience of them - I highly recommend DTR in Mortlake, London SW14 who specialise in Barchettas (sales and service).

If shopping for a two-seater in the MGF or MX5 price/performance range, definitely check out the Barchetta, and don't be put off by the left-hand drive: in practice, it is very rarely a disadvantage.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st August, 2000

1998 Fiat Barchetta LE 1.8 from UK and Ireland


Top rate styling, but needs more speed


I have had nothing go wrong with the car as of yet. This is a true 60's icon sportster uprated for the 90's.

General Comments:

Compared to the MGF & MX5, this is a leader. The styling is first class and with an engine that can be tweaked up to 290 bhp it's great.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st July, 2000

5th Aug 2003, 03:41

290 BHP? From an engine with a 130 BHP standard? I doubt you could get that with a new Chip, a Supercharger and a NOS system.

Even if you could, if you increase a factory spec output by a factor of 2.5 you'll melt a piston/blow every gasket on the engine. Also at 290 BHP the chassis would render the car undriveable and scuttle shake would be awful.

Can you imagine a 290 BHP mark 1 Punto, because that's what chassis the barchetta has (tweaked admittedly)

No way can you put 290 BHP in a barchetta without changing virtually every part of the car, in which case it is no longer a barchetta.

They are beautiful cars though!

1st Aug 2007, 05:09

It's possible to fit the 4 cyl 16v engine from the original Fiat Coupe, ex Integrale block. Gives approx 150Hp. Might be possible to fit the turbo unit as well (with modification, space is very tight, 190hp standard. These are often tuned to 250-300hp, see the Fiat coupe website, but I'm not sure what this would do to the car's handling.

Nicest would be the 5 cyl 20v turbo (Later Fiat Coupe & 220Hp) but no room unless major surgery to the engine bay.

15th Oct 2007, 07:36

No its not! The front chassis rail will stop the engine going in and the 16vt driveshafts & gearbox don't fit. Where did you get your hp figures from..MaxPower?? Fiat Coupe 16VT makes 190Hp in standard form, 20vt makes 220. To get 300Hp is possible on a coupe, but only with major mods like FMIC, induction kits different turbo, re-map etc. On B no chance. Serious tuners have taken the coupe to 400hp+. That would turn a light car like a B into a missile and probably terminate the driver.

There is however a turbo kit available for it (NovoTech?) which produces 160hp after middling engine work.

1998 Fiat Barchetta LE 1.8 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Nothing to report, although electric windows are slow in winter. Bonnet pops up on to safety latch (never opened fully), just disconcerting.

Reports of variator failure from other owners - Fiat are replacing them free of charge.

General Comments:

Great looks, good organic design, torquey engine, 33mpg, quiet, comfortable, reliable, good fun to drive. Easily drivable in cold/wet weather! Water goes over your head - not too good when you stop though!

Could be quicker, handling could be tricky on the limit (high limits). Insurance is expensive in relation to performance.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th January, 2000

1998 Fiat Barchetta 1.8i petrol from UK and Ireland


Wiper mechanism faulty, engine prone to cut out at idle (dirty valve), general build a bit iffy (FIAT lives up to reputation...)

General Comments:

A great fun car which manages to be better than the sum of its parts. Let down by a few annoying design faults which really shouldn't have escaped the development process. Handling could be better - Punto roots show through sometimes, though hangs on well. Probably works better as a weekend 2nd car than day to day use.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th October, 1999

1998 Fiat Barchetta 1.8 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Windscreen cleaner liquid tank: leaking, was replaced.

Faulty indicator switch to be replaced.

General Comments:

It's Italian.... beautiful with a temper.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th November, 1998