For enthusiasts, there is no question about which Fiat is the one to get: it is the 500 Abarth hands down. That’s because, despite being small, the 500 is no lightweight. It isn’t quick in standard guise, or tuned for precise handling. The more aggressive, boosted Abarth has clearly resonated with the buyer base Fiat was targeting. It is already sold out and Fiat is working to boost deliveries for the next model year.
After seeing the Abarth’s success, Fiat recognized there is an interest in more performance for the diminutive 500,. To that end they showed off the mid-level 500 Turbo model at Pebble Beach this past weekend. It is a pitch perfect (quite literally) addition, being just the trick for those who want a 500 with more power but not wanting to opt for the full monte.
On the exterior the Turbo adds a touch of aggressiveness to the 500’s demeanor, changing things up with smoked headlights, and a body kit. The wheels are darkened and are designed to show off the car’s upgraded braking system. The 1.4-liter four-cylinder is where it’s at though, being a version of the MultiAir unit in the Abarth. In the Turbo, it makes 135 horsepower and 150 pound feet of torque, a substantial boost in power versus the standard 500’s 101 hp and 98 pound feet of torque.
Along with the sportier exterior and clearly more powerful engine, the Turbo gets a beefed up, sport tuned suspension, stiffer shocks and a re-tuned steering rack. So far so good. Moving to the interior, Fiat fitted sports seats and leather-steering steering wheel and shift knob. Chrysler’s collaboration with Dr. Dre in audio continues in the 500 Turbo, so you can rock out to music a lot more enjoyably. The best part about the 500 Turbo? It comes in at just $19,500 – a few thousand less than the more powerful (and currently sold out) Abarth.