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The Abarth 500 is small but packs a big punch. This small hot hatchback weighs just over a ton but packs a torquey turbocharged engine that truly maximises a mix of performance and economy. The entry level 133bhp model starts at £14,707 and boasts 133bhp, as well as a reasonable 43.5mpg.
Aesthetically, the car is perfectly brilliant. Anyone who can remember its sixties automotive ancestors will smile at the 500 Abarth because the latest addition to the Fiat family puts the C back into cool. The Abarth has head-turning foot wear that features scorpion engraved 16 inch alloys which temper with the cuteness of its relative the Fiat 500.
The Abarth gives the standard Fiat 500 a bit of much needed aggression, through its 1.4 litre engine and its meaty turbocharger. However the power is still a little way short of the Mini Cooper S’s 175bhp, but the car more than makes up for this through its character.
The interior shares similar characteristics to the 500 in general, but it is quite apparent that Fiat wanted to make sure that there was no doubt that you’re inside the Abarth 500. The cabin is full of detailing that is pure Abarth. Internal features such as the addition of bucket seats, that are comfortable and pleasing on the eye, have given a much needed sporty uplift. The steering wheel also includes the obligatory flat spot at the bottom and also implements sculpted hand grips that make it feel good.
The handling of the car is pleasant enough whilst the car is on a good road; however it is a story of two tales because the Abarth can be notably loud while the car is on bad ones. As a general overview the 500 Abarth has decent linearity with a hint of springiness that feels far less Tigger-like in its bounciness.
Since 2002 the Mini Cooper has had things all its own way despite there being an abundance of alternative hot hatchbacks on the market; however the Fiat 500 Abarth does more than enough to alter this balance.