High-Performace Fiat 500 Abarth Headed to America

  • Fiat 500 Abarth
  • Fiat 500 Abarth
  • Fiat 500 Abarth
  • Fiat 500 Abarth
  • Fiat 500 Abarth
  • Fiat 500 Abarth
  • Fiat 500 Abarth
  • Fiat 500 Abarth
  • Fiat 500 Abarth
  • Fiat 500 Abarth
  • Fiat 500 Abarth
  • Matthew Phenix

Small cars are (at last) on a roll in America. The BMW-wrought Mini Cooper proved beyond any doubt that an economical small car could transcend its humble station and catch the eye of the leisure class as well as the working class. And this year, Fiat’s too-cute-for-its-own-good 500 coupe and 500C convertible repeated the feat. The diminutive Italians are the darlings of car-shoppers, thanks as much to their piccolo price tags (each starts at a scant $15,500) as to their cheeky good looks. And the arrival of a chrome-smattered Gucci edition only heightens their allure to the style-conscious. Unfortunately, despite its surfeit of style, the little 500 has heretofore left performance-minded buyers a bit cold (thanks to a spry but hardly pulse-quickening 101 hp engine).

That’s set to change next year with the arrival of the 500 Abarth. Sport-tuned by racecar builder Abarth (which since 1971 has served as Fiat’s in-house speed shop), the top-rung 500 recalls Mini’s hard-core John Cooper Works Cooper S. The 500 Abarth is already on sale in Europe, where it packs a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine producing a stout 160 hp and 170 ft lbs of torque (figures that seem modest only until you consider the 500’s 2,400-pound curb weight). And the engine will be even hotter when it shows up in America next year, likely spinning out 175 hp or more. Naturally, the Abarth’s additional oomph will be abetted by a phalanx of performance goodies, including bigger brakes, wheels, and tires, and a sportier interior with new gauges and a fat-rim steering wheel.

The 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth (pronounced ah-bart) is set to arrive in U.S. Fiat dealer showrooms before the close of 2012. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but look for it to eclipse the Gucci edition’s $23,500 by two grand or so. (www.fiatusa.com)

From Around the Web...
Robb Report's Car of the Year contest ended in a tie between the Lamborghini Huracán Spyder and the Porsche 911 Turbo S.
The results mark a first in the annual event’s history and bode well for the industry…
Robb Report Car of the Year 2017
During Robb Report’s annual competition to determine which sport or luxury car best deserves to be...
More than 150 Robb Report readers convened in Napa Valley to judge 13 extraordinary automobiles…
Watch video profiles of each of the Car of the Year 2017 contenders...
The Giulia Quadrifoglio, the high-performance variant of Alfa Romeo’s new sedan, went on sale in December with a starting price of $72,000.
The top-of-the-line sedan is powered by a biturbo V-6 that churns out more than 500 hp…
The 2018 Porsche 911 GT3
Next year, the model comes with a new engine, a revised chassis, and plenty of performance…
The 2017 Ruf CTR at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show.
With 700 hp and a top speed of 223 mph, this two-door tears it up…
If the DB11 were less of a looker, it might earn more attention for being the Best-performing, best-handling Aston Martin yet
The company’s first all-new car in 13 years was worth the wait…
The Lexus LC 500 will arrive at U.S. dealerships this spring sporting a bold new look for the brand…
The Lamborghini Aventador S
The head of Lamborghini for the Americas talks about why the car and company are cruising…