This gorgeous little MX-5/MGF rival from Italy may have used the Punto’s front-wheel drive floorpan, but it was exceptionally enjoyable, effectively giving hot-hatch levels of grip and predictabliilty with all the exhilaration of a proper small roadster.
Basic in some ways but slick in others (delicate, pop-out alloy door handles), it remains the only car I’ve ever bought brand new, and the one I most regret selling. The Nissan Bluebird estate that replaced it was a real status nosedive, but I needed something to carry rubble, something you can’t get much of into the Barchetta’s dainty boot. Like all of these cars, my Barchetta was left-hand drive, so joining motorways and overtaking tractors needed particular care, but it was never less than wonderfully responsive. SPECIFICATIONS engine 1747cc/4-cyl/ DOHC Power 130bhp@6300rpm torque 121lb ft@4300rpm toP sPeed 118mph 0-60mPh 8.7sec Fuel consumPtion 32-34mpg trans FWD, five-speed manual