Fiat 500 Abarth – drive test

The Fiat Cinquecento is one of the most iconic cars ever produced by the Italian car maker. Being one of the first and smallest city cars ever produced, the people at Fiat decided to bring back the legend, and they did so, in 2007. The car made a huge splash, all over the media and among its fans, conquering many city inhabitants’ hearts and digging into their pockets for change.

Last weekend we took the Fiat 500 Abarth for a ride and you should know it felt freakin’ amazing! Of course, after Abarth got its hands on it, the little Fiat 500 kept its sheep skin, but got a wolf’s heart. Here’s what Red Riding Hood handled the situation.

We’ve always liked quality, well made things. We have a special appreciation for a well designed products, with exquisite final touches, and details that come together in perfect harmony and give personality to that product. A product such as the one described above is the refined Fiat 500 Abarth.

The exterior

The retro look is what we expected from the new Fiat 500, since it has to continue the legacy of its forefather, which was one of the most popular cars in history. Of course, the car isn’t called Abarth for nothing: the modified spoilers, the two exhaust pipes, the custom rims and stickers, reveal its sporty origins and make the little Fiat a head-turner. The white paint fits it perfectly, making it both elegant and stylish – a true fashion icon! Men and women alike are thrilled about this little toy!

The interior

The interior of the Fiat 500 is worthy of its Italian heritage: the sporty seats, the lovely dashboard, made of quality materials, the leather steering wheel, the custom mats and a well partitioned space all prove it. Although the back seat is quite small and its main purpose is to fit the car in the four seater category, so the taxes don’t go as high as they are for the two seaters, if you’re skinny, you can seat quite comfortably on it. The front seats can be regarded as small(ish) by some drivers, but such a sporty car can only be matched to a fit owner. So maybe it isn’t so bad that it makes you want to go to the gym more often.

The dashboard is very chic, and Abarth added a big watch to show the turbo pressure and to notify you when you should change gears in the Sport mode, in order to get the best performance out of this car. We had our moments when we felt like we were driving in Racing Kingdom, we admit it.

The trunk is surprisingly spacious, for such a small car, so you can actually go shopping with it.

Technology and safety

Fiat 500 Abarth is fitted with a radio/CD/mp3 and a good sound system, with USB and you can even synchronize your Windows phone with the car (if you own one). Moreover, the Blue&Me system allows the car to receive vocal commands: you can change the song on your audio system, you can call someone by saying their name and you can even have your text messages read to you, so you can focus on driving. There’s an entire manual that describes what the Blue&Me system can do.

Safety is a main concern for any car maker, and the Fiat 500 got 5 stars at NCAP and has some extra airbags, making a total of 7. To this Fiat added a lot of safety features, such as ESP, ASR, MSR, Hill Holder and TTC (Torque Transfer Control), to keep you on the road, enjoying this precious little car.

The monster under the hood

We finally got to the fun part: the engine! This is the essence of the Fiat 500 Abarth, its soul and spirit, which leaves a huge smile on your face when you get out of the car. Under the hood, Abarth put a 1,4l turbo charged engine that delivers 135hp. For a car that weighs under a ton, that’s a lot of power! This little things get from 0 to 100 km/h in 7,9 seconds and we took it to 205 km/h, in sport mode.

When sport mode is off, the 500 Abarth is a perfect city car, easy to park and easy to drive, good looking and which you can use to get around rush hour traffic. But when you get the courage to press the Sport button, the car transforms from a chic toy to a kart, ready to throw aside pretentious SUVs.

The steering wheel hardens and if you’re serious about stepping on that throttle, the car will be thrust forward like a tiny rocket. Overtaking is so easy in this car! Curves become so much more fun , because the TTC (Torque Transfer Control), which transfers torque between the wheels while cornering, limits understeering and keep the car glued to the road. It’s, by far, the most fun car we’ve ever driven!

The fuel consumption is also great! Here are the numbers:
– 4,9 l/100km out of town, with sport mode off
– 5,2 l/100km out of town, with sport mode on
– 6,2 l/100km in the city, with sport mode off
– 8,8 l/100km in the city, with sport mode on.

Fiat 500 Abarth technical specs

Engine/transmission: 1,368cc, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol with DOHC and four valves per cylinder; 135bhp at 5,500rpm and 152lb ft of torque at 3,000rpm. Five-speed manual gearbox, front-wheel drive.

Performance: top speed 127mph, 0-62mph in 7.9sec, EU Urban fuel consumption 33.2mpg, CO² emissions 155g/km.

If we had the money (namely from $19,500 to $21,500), we’d go tomorrow to the first showroom and buy one!

This is a car you can easily fall in love with, a car with soul and passion, like Fiat knows how to make, and also a true fashion statement, for both men and women.

Would you like to own a car like this?

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