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Fiat's 500 Abarth - lacking sting?

2008-02-20 13:15
The Fiat 500 Abarth is official. And while it looks the performance part, it does seem to be lacking somewhat in the performance department...

Developed by Fiat in the spirit of the legendary Fiat 500 Abarth that tore up the racing circuits in the 60s, the little Scorpion is powered by a 1.4-litre petrol turbo engine.

With outputs of 100 kW at 5 500 r/min and a peak torque figure of 206 Nm at 3 000 r/min, it is a way off main rival Mini Cooper S's 128 kW and 240 Nm dispatched from its turbocharged 1.6-litre powerplant.

But it definitely won't be a slouch, either. This just means the promised SS version should be something worth looking forward to.

However, until then, 500 Abarth should be a barrel of fun. In "normal" mode, torque is reduced to 180 Nm at 2 500 r/min, but we've discovered the ferocity of the "sport" button in the Panda 100 hp, so this function is likely to be well used.

Aesthetically, the Abarth is a little beast with special bumpers, side skirts and other racy kit.

Inside, it adds special instrumentation including an analogue gauge measuring boost pressure and an LED feature that prompts "optimal" gear changes through its five-speed gearbox.

500 Abarth rolls on beefy 16-inch aluminium alloys as standard, although it can also be specced with beefier 17-inch examples.

Fiat 500 Abarth makes its debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

For local 500 fans happy to settle for the tamer version - the tiniest Fiat makes its South African debut on July 4.


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Take a virtual tour of the McLaren 570S in SA

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