Fiat continues to tease us here in America with funner and funner versions of its 500, the modern interpretation of its micro car from the 60s. Essentially Fiat’s response to BMW’s MINI, the 500 supposedly has a lot going for it. It’s stylish; light handles well and has decent enough horsepower to make it fun to fling around. Now comes word that the diminutive 500 will get even more fun.
Abarth, for those of you not up on high performance Italian tuning & race shops from the 50s and 60s is, well, a high performance Italian tuning & race shop. They’re still (nominally) in existence and have been working hand in glove with Fiat since time immemorial. They stroke and tune the most mundane of Fiat’s offerings, and actually win races with them. And when that wasn\’t enough, they’d use Fiat components in their own bodies & chassis to make lightweight, fun racers. Sort of like Pagani using Mercedes running gear for the Zonda.
So, Abarth is not going to let the new 500 just sit there, now are they?
No, no they are not. Word from Europe says that Fiat is reviving the historic Abarth badge for a sporting version of its 500 and the Italian automaker says it will create an entire unique Abarth brand starting with a sports car. Recent rumors have Fiat working on a low-slung sports car, but the news comes that the Abarth coupe will be based on the Fiat 500. Although it will be front-wheel-drive (sadly), the Abarth Coupe will employ Fiat\’s Torque Transfer Control, which acts like a limited slip differential. AutoExpress reports the coupe will feature the traditional Abarth lightweight aluminum chassis and a 1.4-liter turbo four from the 500 Abarth (cranking out 135-horsepower). And in the future, expect a 158-horse high performance variant that should still average 45 mpg on the European combined cycle.
So, more fun for Europe … but wait, what’s that I hear about Fiat returning to America? Is there any more news on Fiat’s interest in Chryslers?
We could see the new Fiat Abarth on our streets yet.