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Fiat 500 Abarth

4 cylinders in line, 4 valves per cylinder, 1368 cc
Power output: 135 bhp (99 kW) at 5,500 rpm
Turbocharged by IHI turbocharger
0-100km/h (62mph) : 7.9 seconds
Maximum speed : 127mph

Daily hire - £99

Fiat 500 Abarth

Faithful to the saying coined for Abarth cars in the 1960s (‘small but wicked’), the 500 Abarth promises to be a ‘small’ car with exceptional performance. It is powered by a 1.4 16v Turbo petrol engine which delivers a maximum of 135 bhp at 5000 rpm and peak torque of 206 Nm at 3000 rpm in ‘Sport’ mode (in ‘Normal’ mode the max torque is 180 Nm at 2500 rpm). This brilliant, smooth new engine is also environmentally aware : like the regular Fiat model it is derived from, the new Abarth respects future Euro 5 legislation.

Another interesting new feature of the 500 Abarth is the TTC (Torque Transfer Control) system, which improves the transfer of drive torque to the wheels, but, above all, ensures that the car behaves impeccably on bends, making it safer and more entertaining to drive when you put your foot down.

Respecting Abarth tradition in full, the styling of the 500 Abarth is not a mere exercise in

aesthetics, but is driven by the need to improve the car’s performance. The best proof of this stylistic approach can be found in the aerodynamics and functionality of certain elements.

The 500 Abarth optimises aerodynamic behaviour with several elements, including a large winged spoiler and a ‘diffuser’ that links up to the underbody, optimising the airflow output, and involving much of the rear bumper. We should underline that these latter two elements – the spoiler and the diffuser – help to reduce drag and increase downforce at high speed.

Again, the slots on the front bumper heighten the sporty styling but also perform a critical function,
feeding cold air to the two intercoolers positioned at the sides. That is not all. On either side of the ‘diffuser’, there is an exhaust pipe that mimics the symmetrical exits of a single transverse silencer (like those in the 1960s). And on the side, sideskirts envelop the curves of the car creating a more vertical profile, which improves the Cd.

But it is the front that really announces the true performance of the 500 Abarth : the triple air
intakes consists of a central inlet, which is larger than on the basic model, with a much broader upper opening (above the number plate) and the two ‘nostrils’, positioned symmetrically at the sides of the bumper, which correspond exactly to the position of the two identical intercoolers, just visible through the ‘nostrils’, guaranteeing airflow in and out.

The nose of the car has been extended forward to
create the space necessary for the turbocharger; this makes the side view of the 500 Abarth much more pronounced, in perfect harmony with Abarth tradition, recalling the 850 TC and 1000 TC, on which the
externally mounted radiators were immediately visible and recognisable as a characteristic feature of the brand. On this pronounced nose, the Abarth logo, which appears for the first time without a chrome surround, ‘floats’ on a finned surface that
serves as an additional air intake. The Abarth shields positioned on the sides are shot through by a tri-colour arrow, like the ones on the Abarth 595 and 695 in the 1960s, a symbol of the brand’s racing image. And finally in terms of styling, there are new 16” and 17” wheel rims in different styles.

Inside, the cockpit of the 500 Abarth features special instrumentation, derived from that on the Fiat model, to which is added an analogue pressure gauge to show turbo boost pressure. This also incorporates an LED light that optimises gear changes by lighting up at the appropriate moment.

The main instrument panel, with its sports graphics, is protected from glare by an extended upper cowl, while the three-spoke steering wheel has shaped thumb rests, is ‘flattened’ at the bottom to increase roominess, and is adjustable. The aluminium pedals with their rubber trim have a decidedly ‘racing’ look, like the gearknob (covered with leather with a more anatomical grip for sporty driving). The same approach is evident in the seats – of the ‘one-piece’ type, incorporating the head-restraint into the squab – which are upholstered with a choice of materials: fabrics in different combinations of colours and textures, and two versions of leather (black or red). The headlining and the side trims are black, giving the interior a more technical, sporty look.