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Abarth – Fiat 500 for Guys

After driving the Fiat 500 and 500c (cabriolet), I was ready to relegate it to the ranks of “chick car”.  Its high-style accents and accoutrements scream “feminine”.  But, now there is a Fiat a guy can be proud to drive – the Abarth model.  Abarth Fiats have been high performance versions of Fiat car lines for decades since Austrian Karl Abarth began modifying them in the late ’50s.  This is America’s chance to have the most up-to-date Abarth available.

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

Scorpions Anyone? At a glance you can tell the Abarth is something special.   Starting with the Fiat 500 Sport, the Abarth adds a unique front fascia that is actually functional making room for the 160HP 1.4L MultiAir 4-cylinder turbocharged engine.  The Abarth is not shy about shouting what it is.  The Abarth scorpion logo is found on the quarter panels, on the decklid, on the grille and on centers of the wheels.  There is also a lower bodyside stripe shouting “ABARTH”.  The outside mirrors sport contrasting colors depending on the interior color selection and matching the Abarth bodyside stripe.  The mirror caps and Abarth stripe are a $350 option.

Fiat Abarth Scorpion Shield

In addition to the turbocharged intercooled 4-cylinder, the Abarth has dual exhausts, a sport tuned suspension, higher capacity brakes and Electronic Stability Control that can be turned off for the sportiest driving.  The Abarth has a 5-speed manual transmission that cries out for a sixth gear when cruising on the highway.  An automatic is not available – not a surprise for an Italian car.  The fact that the base 500 has an auto available is almost a surprise.

Load Up an Abarth and You can Spend $26,000: You can option up an Abarth with 17-inch wheels (up from the standard 16s) for $1,000, an expensive convenience package with satellite radio and a security system for $800 and leather seating surfaces for $1,000.  Checking all the boxes yields an out the door price of a bit over $26,000 – $4,000 over its base price of $22,000 without destination.  The base, base, base Fiat 500 starts at $15,500 and can be found for much less.  The $6,500 premium for the Abarth provides head-turning appearance touches and sparkling performance.

Is it worth it?  For such a small car, with the Abarth touches and the driving exhilaration the package provides, the $26,000 is worth it.  This is a little tiny car that brings a smile to your face.  It is raucous fun whether driven on the street or on a track.  Yippee!

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