By Asian Journal Auto staff
The sexy Fiat 500 Abarth version starts at a base price of $31,995 – expensive yes, but it arrives with many extras, and more performance plus the Abarth mystique in the form of exquisite detailing. A major attraction is the tuned, turbocharged Multiair 16V 1.4-litre engine with more power, producing a very impressive 160-hp/170 lb-ft of torque. This is up from the standard 101- hp/98 lb-ft torque. The transmission on our tester was a performance tuned AISIN heavy duty six speed auto transmission with stronger half-shafts to handle the extra power output. Also added as part of the Abarth package is an uprated handling package and flashy trim.
The 2016 Abarth 500 Cabrio model we tested arrived with: a black power folding soft top roof, body colored fascia’s, black trimmed lights, dual bright exhaust tips, fog lamps and body colored power heated mirrors. Options on our tester included: a bright yellow Moderna Pearla yellow tri coat paint on the outside; 17-inch Forged alloy “Hyper Black” wheels with bigger 205/40R17 BSW 3 season tires, heated “Nero Black” premium leather trimmed bucket seats, Air conditioning, “Abarth” tape stripes, Beats premium audio system, Sirius XM radio, GPS navigation and of course; the highly desirable yellow and red chrome ringed “Scorpion” Abarth badges on the grille, body sides and the rear hatch.
The interior is a typically sporty Abarth cabin. The dash in particular is very cool, with its body-colored accents and flush fit controls buttons. Small amounts of chrome trim are liberally sprinkled around. The cabin is small, but storage is adequate with large and small storage cubbyholes, a 12-volt power point. The rear compartment is tight looking, but it is possible to jam two kids or two very small adults back there for very short journeys. The trunk is good for the cars size however. The 2016 500 is also impressive in the safety front with over 35 safety features, including seven airbags, electronic stability control with traction control, hill start assist, active front headrests and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution.
The black fabric power roof is operated via a windshield header mounted switch and is preset to stop at three positions for maximum versatility. With the top up it’s a snug, rain and weather resistant cabin and with the top down it is a glorious light filled fun place to be.
On the road the tiny Fiat Abarth is seriously impressive with amazing power. Firstly that engine note and the angry, snorting exhaust add a great audio soundtrack, for sporty driving, the term “go-kart like handling” may sound a bit of cliché, but not in the Fiat Abarth 500! Add the quick-ratio, electric assist steering and the Fiat Abarth is a delight to drive hard and fast, when safe and allowable. Some may find the ride trifle harsh, but those are not the kind of customer me thinks who would ever consider this car Fuel economy is good as well for such exciting thrill at litres/100 km: 9.6 city/5.7 highway and 8.6 km L/100km combined. Note premium fuel is recommended.
All in all, a normal Abarth 500 Cabrio comes in at a base price of $31,995 according to our sticker sheet, however options ac tax and destination charge saw our tester ring in at a final price of $38,740. Yes, the Fiat 500 Cabrio is a tad expensive, but the price can be justified by the Italian heritage and the performance in unique package. If you love driving small, agile, fast coupes, the Fiat 500 Abarth is definitely the one to get if you can stretch the budget.
2016 Fiat 500 Abarth Cabriolet: Base Price: $31,995 Price as tested $38,640 including destination and delivery.