Fiat 500 Abarth Is Small, but Venomous

After three decades away from the American market, Fiat is back in a big way with a really small car. The Fiat 500 Abarth made its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show last year, replete with a scorpion logo and $22,000 price tag. The small car comes hot on the heels of the base Fiat 500 models in an attempt to debunk the car’s cutesy image.

For those unfamiliar with the Abarth name, the Italian tuning brand is deeply rooted in racing heritage and performance pedigree. Karl Abarth—a racing legend—is best known among aftermarket aficionados for transforming small, lightweight cars into powerful, track-tuned machines. Suffice it to say that Abarth’s engineering prowess is evident in this particular Fiat 500 model.

The Italian tuning house was able to massage 160 hp and 170 ft lbs of torque out of the Fiat with a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine—nearly double the power ratings of the base model. While its expected zero-to-60 mph time of seven seconds does not sound impressive on paper, it is certainly enough to embarrass any Smart car that crosses its path.

Apart from its signature scorpion logo, passersby will be able to differentiate this special model Fiat 500 at first glance by its blacked-out grille, red brake calipers, and rear spoiler. Moving to the interior, the driver will notice an Abarth-themed steering wheel wrapped in perforated black leather and bolstered seats befitting of a true sportscar.

Simply put, this Fiat 500 Abarth is proof that great things can come in the smallest of packages.(www.fiatusa.com)

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