Fiat has released full details of its new 500 Abarth hot hatch
8 July 2008

These are the first official images of the Fiat Abarth 500, the hottest version of the smash-hit city car.

The Abarth will be powered by a 135bhp, 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine is will to go sale early next year wearing the famed Scorpion badge.

These first photos of a harder Fiat 500 reveal a more severe monochrome interior than the standard car, with a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a leather-covered dash cowl and bespoke Abarth sports seats that will be available in either black or red.

To help counteract torque steer, it uses Fiat’s Torque Transfer Control system, which applies the brakes to cut wheel spin.

Fiat claims the 500 Abarth is the only car in its class to use a system like this. There’s also a round boost gauge in a separate dial off the steering column that also incorporates a gear-shift indicator.

Fiat’s also given the car a telemetry system that can plot your position on a race track, record lap times and store the data for different drivers– it’s part of Fiat’s Blue&Me technology.

The second car pictured (with the red chequered roof) is a more powerful, limited edition version of the Abarth 500 called the ‘Opening Edition’. It’ll only be sold in Italy and will offer 160bhp and 179lb ft torque from a more highly tuned version of the 1.4-litre motor.

The Opening Edition should be able to hit 62mph in 7.4sec. It also gets uprated brakes with drilled discs, different springs and unique 17-inch alloys. Full details of specification and price will be revealed nearer to the Abarth’s launch in the UK.

Our Verdict

Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 is a deserved success story for the brand, offering bags of style, a fine drive and low costs

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8 July 2008

Anyone else think that the 500 photographs a lot better than it looks in the metal? Whenever I see one in pictured, I want one; when one goes by, I think, so what?

8 July 2008

I was quite tempted when I first hear about these. But hang on what this? A more powerful version you can only get in Italy? Hmm I think I'll leave it till they release that then.

And I know what you mean about them photographing well. I think the problem is that when you see them in a photograph you don't get a sense of scale. When you see them on the road they just look bigger than they should, if you know what I mean?

8 July 2008

The good thing with cars like this is that tuning them ought to be comparatively easy. Plug in a laptop and up goes the boost, hey presto more power (within limits). What's the betting the 160bhp version is otherwise identical?

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