Review and Test Drive: 2017 Fiat 500 Abarth

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth

By Paul Riegler on 30 November 2017
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The original Fiat 500 or Cinquecento, known for its appearances in multiple films including “The Italian Job,” was a rear-engine four-seat city car manufactured by the Italian automaker from 1957 to 1975. On its 50th anniversary in 2007, Fiat introduced a new 500 whose design was clearly inspired by the beloved original, this time as a somewhat larger front-engine, front-wheel drive vehicle.

The tiny 2017 Fiat 500 is offered in three guises in the United States, ranging from the entry level 500 Pop to the more plush 500 Lounge to the powerful 500 Abarth. All three are available as cabrios as well.

Fiat’s relationship with Abarth can be traced to Italian sports car racing in the 1950s. Austrian car designer Carlo Abarth’s company was purchased by Fiat in 1970 and since 2007 has produced performance editions of various Fiats.

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The Abarth starts with the base 500, and then the bella gente at Abarth go to work. Gone is the 101-horsepower four banger, which is replaced by a magnificent 160-horse turbocharged inline four. It comes standard with a five-speed; a six-speed automatic is optional but could take some of the fun out of the drive.

Outside it’s noticeably lower, the front fascia has twin inlets for the intercoolers and you can’t miss the wing over the hatch or the special Abarth wheels and upgraded tires. Add the special Abarth badging – a red and yellow badge overlaid with a black scorpion – and a broad white Abarth stripe accenting the rocker panels, bigger front brakes, a lowered suspension and you’re ready for some divertimento time.

Inside there are the Nero Abarth-specific seats to grip you in tight corners, a nice thick three-spoke leather multifunction steering wheel, and of course the Abarth scorpion logo.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the 2017 Fiat 500 Abarth

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