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Fiat 500 Abarth (2008): first official pictures

Wed, 20 Feb 2008

By Tim Pollard

First Official Pictures

20 February 2008 10:00

Watch out Mini, the Fiat 500 – CAR’s car of the year 2007 – is getting the high-performance treatment. The Abarth version unveiled today is pitched as a new interpretation of the Sixties road racer, but can they make a bigger, heavier hatch as exciting as that?

The 500 Abarth 2008-style uses the Fiat group’s 16-valve 1.4-litre Fire engine breathing with the assistance of an IHI variable-geometry turbocharger to deliver a warm 135bhp at 5500rpm. So this car won’t challenge the upper echelons of hot-hatchdom that now have to pump out closer to 200bhp to be in contention. That honour will befall more tuned Abarth SS versions that are under development.

So how fast is the Fiat 500 Abarth?
Power might not break any dyno rigs, but the Abarth musters 152lb ft at 3000rpm in Sport mode; bafflingly for a warm hatch, you can select Normal mode for a reduced output of 132lb ft at a lower 2500rpm. How fast does this make the Abarth? Sadly we don’t yet know. Fiat is saving the juicier stats for the car’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show on 4 March 2008. The Abarth is, of course, front wheel drive and drives through a five-speed manual ’box.

By Tim Pollard