A new breed of Panda will be making its UK public debut at MPH ’06, which opens at the NEC, Birmingham on Thursday 26 October, and then in London’s Earls Court on Thursday 2 November.

Panda 100HP is an entirely new sporty addition to the Panda family, featuring a 1.4 litre 16v FIRE engine tuned to develop 100bhp at 6000rpm, and 97lb.ft of torque at 4250rpm, driving through a six speed manual gearbox.

This latest fun-loving Panda represents an entirely usable performance package, with all-round disc brakes, ventilated at the front, together with modified springs, dampers, bushes and compliance. With a modest kerb weight of 1015kg, Fiat Auto’s latest addition to the Panda range possesses lively performance, with 0 – 62mph acceleration in 9.5s and a maximum speed of 115mph, while still offering economical fuel consumption (43.4mpg in the combined cycle) and modest (154g/km CO2) emissions.

Externally, both the front and rear bumpers are a new, sporty design. A chrome tailpipe is standard, as are body coloured door handles and wing mirrors. The wheel arches are enlarged and blend into new sideskirts. Front fog lights and a tailgate spoiler are standard. The 15″ alloy wheels are an all-new design, carrying 195/45 x 15 tyres.

Internally, the dashboard is of a new darker grey. A leather steering wheel and gear knob are standard, as are split folding rear seats, height adjustable driver’s seat, automatic climate control, and a new ‘Sport’ button! The latter enables the driver to select the sensitivity of both the steering and throttle – normal or sport. When ‘Sport’ is selected, the steering offers less power assistance to provide improved feedback, and the throttle pedal becomes more sensitive. Bluetooth® hands-free technology is also standard equipment.

At £9,995 OTR, the new Panda 100HP, ‘flagship’ of a revised 2007 Panda range, represents a highly competitive package, with rivals being generally less powerful, less well equipped and more expensive. Panda 100HP goes on sale here in December.