You’re looking at the first official photograph of the aggressive new Fiat 500 Abarth, one of the funkiest looking, and potentially most exciting, hot hatches arriving in 2008.The 500 Abarth will debut at the Geneva motor show next month and is the second Fiat to be overhauled with the scorpion sports treatment as part of the Abarth brand’s recent revival.
Hot 500 gets 135bhp: still want that Mini Cooper?
Powered by a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine, the new 500 Abarth develops 135bhp at 5500rpm and a maximum 151lb ft torque from 3000rpm in ‘Sport’ mode. It drives the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. To get that power to the road smoothly, the 500 Abarth uses an electronic Torque Transfer Control system to help eliminate torque steer. And the car's beefed-up looks aren’t just for show; engineers claim all the styling tweaks serve a purpose, reducing drag and improving aerodynamic performance. That jutting front bumper, for example, channels air beneath the car improving high-speed handling. The bulge on the bonnet, pushed forwards and outwards, is a design nod to classic Abarth models but also accommodates the turbocharger.The Fiat 500 Abarth's suspension is a MacPherson strut set-up at the front with a torsion beam at the rear. Both have been beefed up to cope with the car's extra pace. Expect a 0-60mph time of around 7.0sec and a top speed of close to 130mph.Other racy touches to the Abarth 500 include LED shift lights in the cabin, and scorpion logos embossed on the twin exhaust. There’s also potential for owners to fit official aftermarket kits for more power, and there’ll be a track-only special edition available too. We’re expecting the Fiat 500 Abarth to cost around £14,000 when it arrives in Britain later this year.