I recently tested the Fiat 500 C Lounge and I was very impressed with it. It offered the best of open air Italian flair with lots of luxury, all at a fair price. The Abarth version is all about speed and is named for Carlo Abarth, who was famous for his motorcycle and auto racing, founding the Italian marque Cisitalia, for tuning Fiats, and getting the most performance out of there engines with his roaring exhaust systems. So is the Fiat 500 Abarth worthy of carrying on his legacy? Let’s find out!
In terms of its looks, the Fiat 500 Abarth looks very aggressive for such a small car. My test car reeks of speed with its arrest me red paint job with black accents and black alloy wheels. The Scorpion badge was adopted by Carlo Abarth when he founded his company and was chosen because Scorpio was his astrological sign.
The modified looks actually have substance too. The vents on the front actually do help with air intake and as well as cooling the twin inter-coolers. The side skirts help to blend the front and rear diffusers and the large spoiler actually helps to produce down force to improve handling.
The 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth is powered by a 1.4 liter Multi-Air turbo four cylinder which produces 160 horsepower and 170 lb. ft. of torque. If you are not in sport mode, you will only be getting 150 lb. ft. of torque!
That torque is available from 2500 to 4000 rpm and peaks at 5,500 rpm. That will scoot you to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds on to a top speed of 129 mph.
The 0-60 time drops (by Fiat’s testing) to 7.2 seconds, the quarter-mile now in 15.5 sec. They claim 0.85g on the skidpad and a 129-mph top speed we can confirm. Light weight also helps, as the Abarth only weighs about 2500 lbs.
The Abarth only comes with a 5 speed manual that has been beefed up from the version in the non turbo 500. Fuel economy is rated at 28 mpg in the city and 34 on the highway. You can expect 31 mpg overall. That’s actually better than an automatic equipped normally aspirated 500 which has an expected average of 29 mpg overall.
Starting at $22,000 the Fiat 500 Abarth seems like a bargain when you consider how quick it is. Usually exhaust tones like the ones the Abarth generates come from cars costing at least twice that price!
My test car came equipped with the $750 safety and convenience package which includes an alarm, auto temperature control and Sirius XM radio. The black mirror cap and side stripes add another $300 and the Tom Tom navigation which is designed to clip in right on the dash is priced at $400. Add the $1,000 17″ wheel package plus destination and you are out the dealer’s door at $25,200.
That seems very fair to me considering that the non turbo Fiat 500 ranges from $15,500 all the way up to $18,500, and the Abarth version is much faster, and gets better gas mileage than the automatic normally aspirated 500. There is competition from the Mini Cooper, Mazda 2, Chevy Sonic, and even the VW GTI, but the 500 hails from Italy where Ferrari’s are made, and plus America has been waiting for decades for the return of Fiat to our shores.
The Fiat 500 comes in 3 different trim levels. Pop is the entry level model and comes with a manual transmission for $15,500. The Sport offers a firmer suspension and a slightly different look for $17,500, and the Lounge starts at $18,500 and comes with a 6 speed automatic. There is also a designer Gucci edition which starts at $22,500.
Driving the Fiat 500 Abarth is really exhilarating on the right road. Karlo Abarth would definitely approve of the exhaust tone and the overall high level of performance and handling. If you were to close your eyes, you might think you were in something way more pricey and exotic than the 500 Abarth.
Fiat has come up with a great little pint sized performance car and they’ve combined it with great luxury, utility, style and looks as well. I think the Fiat 500 Abarth is definitely worthy of carrying on the Abarth name and Scorpion badge! I’m Drivin’ Ivan Katz.
Here is Drivin’ Ivan’s Complete Video Review of the Fiat 500 Abarth