With the exception of the Mazda-based 124 revival, sports cars have been missing at Fiat for more than two decades. The last renowned coupé, simply christened the 'Fiat Coupé', was discontinued in 2000 and featured a range-topping version with a 2.0-litre turbocharged five-cylinder 20V engine capable of 217 bhp.

This engine, like most of the range, which in this model was based on the 129 bhp 1.8-litre four-cylinder block, belonged to the family of modular engines known as 'Pratola Serra', named after the town in the province of Avellino (Italy) where the Fiat factory where they were produced was located.

Four- and five-cylinder

The 'Pratola Serra' engine family was developed in the early 1990s to replace the previous series of Fiat and Alfa Romeo twin-cylinder engines and to create a modular architecture to meet the needs of almost all production while containing costs.

This was a very broad family, including four- and five-cylinder units, including the 1.9-litre and 2.4-litre diesels that would later evolve into the famous Multijet. As for the petrol versions, there was a long series of them with displacements ranging from 1.4 to 2.4-litres, although the most powerful ones were not the largest.

Fiat Bravo HGT 20V 1995

Fiat Bravo HGT 20V 1995

The most important features of these engines were the thin-walled cast iron crankcase with integrated cylinder liners, the aluminium cylinder head with integrated cooling pump and the asymmetrical combustion chambers in the petrol engines, with a valve angle of 47°.

They also had aluminium alloy pistons with graphite coating to reduce internal friction and water-cooled lubrication, which became air-cooled in the turbo variants.

For the petrol versions, the layout was twin overhead camshafts with four valves per cylinder, toothed belt drive and, for some variants, a variable valve timing and variable length intake duct.

Fiat Coupé 2.0 20V Turbo Plus 1997

Fiat Coupé 2.0 20V Turbo Plus 1997

The Turbo 20V

There were two five-cylinder engines, a 2.0-litre and a 2.4-litre (plus a 10-valve turbodiesel variant, also 2.4-litres), but while the latter was only available as a naturally aspirated engine, the former was also available in a Turbo version, which arrived in 1997 to replace the four-cylinder 2.0-litre Turbo 16V designed by engineer Lampredi.

This 20V represented the maximum performance achieved by the Pratola Serra family and the Coupé, which was fitted in the Turbo Plus version with an output of 217 bhp at 5,750 rpm (a good 30 bhp more than the 'Lampredi') and 310 Nm of torque, capable of propelling the sports car to 250 km/h (155 mph), with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.3 seconds.

In the naturally aspirated version, the engine was also offered on the Marea and Bravo/Brava saloons with a power output of up to 153 bhp. Apart from the Fiat Coupé, the only other model to feature the turbo variant was the Marea in the South American version, where, however, the maximum power output did not exceed 182 bhp.

Gallery: Fiat 2.0-litre 20V Pratola Serra engine