2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

By Mauricio Lezcano / carsNtravel.com

The new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth takes the city friendly proportions and iconic Cinquecento cues of the new fiat 500 hatchback model further, with a stylistic approach to exterior aerodynamics and high performance functionality.

Paying homage to the brand’s racing heritage, iconic Abarth shields are once again positioned on both driver and passenger rear quarter panels and features a shot through red-white-green tri-color arrow, for maximum customization the Abarth designed 17 inch forge aluminum wheels are available in Hyper Black or Bianco paint.

The interior design is an artistic blend of clean lines and functional performance appointments. An Abarth designed steering wheel features a thick rim perforated leather and flat bottom to provide the look, feel and increased roominess desired during at the limit driving.

Unique styled front performance seats feature a one piece design with large side bolsters, racing harness pass through, accent stitching around the perimeter and integrated side thorax air bags. The rear seat is designed to be comfortable for two adults and delivers the high quality, comfort and craftsmanship executed on the front seats.

Designers made an amazingly roomy and capable cabin within its city friendly size. With built storage spaces including two in the instrument panel, map pockets in the door panels and another below the center console’s shifter bezel, this high performance Cinquecento can quickly and conveniently store mobile devices and travel gear. In addition the luggage compartment is spacious providing a maximum of 26.8 cubic feet for gear with the rear seats folded.

The race inspired Fiat 500 Abarth comes standard with many performance features, including the all new 1.4 liter MultiAir Turbo engine delivering 160 horsepower (119 kW) and 170 lb.-ft. (230N•m) of torque.

Structurally, the engine starts with a cast iron block and an aluminum bedplate. Bore is 72 mm (2.83 inches) and stroke is 84 mm (3.31 inches) for a total displacement of 1368 cu. cm (83.05 cu. inches).

The high performance engine is also fitted with a structural aluminum oil pan. Crankcase capacity is 4.0 quarts with a dry filter, synthetic 5W-40 engine oil is recommended due to higher overall temperatures with the turbocharger.

The 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo induction system includes two intercoolers located behind the driver and passenger side air inlets of the Abarth style front fascia. The intercoolers are designed to remove heat in the air charge that the turbocharger generates while compressing incoming air, reducing heat provides a cooler, denser air charge that helps increase the potential for more power.

Fiat 500 Abarth features a standard equipped Sport mode calibration for more engaging driving. Should the driver select Sport mode on the instrument panel the Abarth tuned powertrain control module unleashes the full power of the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo with linear throttle response and a more performance weighted steering feel.

Developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies for high output applications, the Fiat 500 Abarth is equipped with the heavy duty C510 five speed manual transmission, designed to handle the increased torque loads, the transmission includes an intermediate shaft with equal length half shafts to mitigate torque steer. To handle the increased power and torque of the new engine, larger constant velocity joints with 53 percent greater torsion strength delivers added durability and refinement.

Proven on the European 500 Abarth models, this transmission features a 3.35 final drive ratio for quick acceleration and faster top speed while maintaining fuel efficiency.

With the available TomTom navigation with BLUE&ME Hand Free Communication technology, the Fiat 500 Abarth integrates an innovative 4.3 inch (10.9 cm) TomTom portable navigation device that docks on top of the instrument panel. With its large touchscreen, simple map displays with available real time traffic, weather and points of interest, TomTom Navigation with BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology is intuitive for the driver to use and with its direct integration into the interior system, the driver is able to use steering wheel mounted controls to make operation even easier.

My driving impression of the Fiat 500 Abarth is a blast to drive, the engine is allied to a stiffly sprung chassis giving it a go kart like steering response, and the 5 speed manual transmission is fun to use, since there is so much torque and horsepower available at your right foot.

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price excluding destination charge is $22,000.00, the EPA fuel economy estimates 28 MPG city and 34 MPG highway.


Emilio Lezcano

Journalist - Editor - Photographer
Professional Race Car Driver

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