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ZCarMan 04-22-2012 07:24 AM

New FIAT 500 Abarth
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This story begins with a decision by the Mrs. and myself that the Frontier 4x4 just wasn't making the cut with us. Great truck and all. However, not what we needed for everyday in the metro area.

So we started looking at alternatives for a daily driver in the city. We looked at the typical fuel efficient cars from Nissan such as the Versa, Juke, etc. Also looked at Fords and Mazdas. I own a Mazda 3 and considered the new 3 or even a 2. Then I came across the FIAT Abarth, pronounced "Ah-Bart". This was back in January when rumors were that it was coming to the U.S. So we went and looked at the regular 500 and although the Mrs. thought it was "cute" and all but thankfully she likes a sporty car with some balls of which the 500 has none. The 500 Abarth is not the same as the 500. Think of Abarth as the equivalent to AMG. Guys from MOPAR assisted with developing the suspension modifications and tuning of the engine for the U.S. Significant testing was undertaken to ensure it was ready for the U.S.

The Mrs. and I immediately took a liking to the Abarth and after a short time decided we wanted one. I placed an order for the first U.S. spec model in February and it was built in mid March. It finally arrived last Thursday evening to the dealership and we picked it up that night.

Break-in is just 300 miles for the turbocharged 1.4L Multi-air engine that produces 160BHP and pulls with a max of 170lbs feet of torque. This is double the horse power approximately over the 500, and a 70pct increase in torque. With a weight of approx 2500lbs its a fun little car to throw around and yet drive to and from work in. I emphasize the fun part. We could have went with a Mini Cooper or a GTI as the Mrs. actually owned one in the past. However, this new spicy Italian meatball made us smile because its has attitude. If Jeremy Clarkson likes the Euro Abarth with 135BHP on the track, then the U.S. spec should be great fun both in the city and on the track.

With the purchase price (starting at $22600.00 MSRP) you get included a free day with the Richard Petty Driving Experience. You get to use their Abarths and an instructor to flog it on the track, as the Abarth as sold is a track capable car.

I had the dealer specifically not prep it so that I could do it myself. I did that on Friday evening, then we drove over and joined our local Z group for coffee Saturday and then off to leave the car with the clear bra installer. We are only half way to the 300 mile break in but that will be over next week.

Let me just say that I believe we all purchase a car for a variety of reasons. Many do so for practicality, or because of finances, etc. However, we purchased this vehicle because of two things, a) Fun factor and b) sorta fuel efficient at 28 City / 34 Highway. C.) Fun factor.

If you haven't seen the Abarth before check out Jay Leno reviewing and driving it:

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MOPAR and famed Italian manufacturer Magneti Marelli are teaming up to offer performance parts in the U.S. Recently they introduced a prototype Abarth named the "Venom" that featured many of their aftermarket CF parts to lighten it up by 200 pounds.

See the Venom here. Oh yea, Cartrinel Menghia the hot Romanian super model was there for the Abarth unveiling in Vegas too.

Is it for everyone, no. Is it fun for a lot. Absolutely.

For specs/details on the Abarth click the .pdf icon below the photos.

First mod was to replace the rear tailights with blackened trimmed tails.

m4a1mustang 04-22-2012 07:49 AM

Very cool! You're bringing this to ZDayZ, right? It's got to be fun on The Dragon.

ZCarMan 04-22-2012 07:55 AM


Originally Posted by m4a1mustang (Post 1678552)
Very cool! You're bringing this to ZDayZ, right? It's got to be fun on The Dragon.

Absolutely! See just how well those Konis perform up front on the Abarth.

m4a1mustang 04-22-2012 07:59 AM

Awesome! Gonna be so much fun.

GaleForce 04-22-2012 09:35 AM

Sweet! I've always loved these. My wife wants an Abarth badly. I'll have to show her this thread. :tup:

Roadster4Us 04-22-2012 09:52 AM

Nice Jon, tell Pat congrats. Look forward to checking it out.

Red__Zed 04-22-2012 10:05 AM

Looks great Jon! Those things look like an absolute blast!

HKYStormFront 04-22-2012 10:10 AM

awesome jon! big fan of these cars!

cow 04-22-2012 10:37 AM

SCCA has outlawed the 500s due to high rollover risk during autocross-- does this ban extend to the Abarth?

b1adesofcha0s 04-22-2012 11:23 AM

The Abarth looks and sounds great Jon! I was quite surprised by how nice it sounds. :tup:

ZCarMan 04-22-2012 12:36 PM


Originally Posted by cow (Post 1678736)
SCCA has outlawed the 500s due to high rollover risk during autocross-- does this ban extend to the Abarth?

500 is in the Spec B category with Rio, Yaris, Versa, Mini, Sonic, etc. as far as I can tell but yes there was some initial issues with not meeting rollover criteria. I don't believe Abarth has been classified by SCCA just yet as it is so new. However, Abarth is lower and has a beefed up suspension out of the box which should help. The extra power might put it in a different class though. Who knows, maybe a new Spec Abarth class.

ZCarMan 04-22-2012 12:48 PM

Thanks guys! Patricia likes it alot as well as I.

We went a different direction with this purchase. Instead of spending more we decided to spend less and build on it from there. There are some great tuning mods for the Abarth that can take it easily to 210BHP and beyond. I think 200 is a good target for me in the future. Right now, with all the standard performance upgrades already on it, we'll enjoy it as is for a bit.

Here is another video from March when they took a bunch of media to Las Vegas and let them drive it:

Mike 04-22-2012 01:05 PM

very cool Jon, can't wait to check it out at Zdayz!

red6spd 04-22-2012 01:31 PM

Congrats John.

Trips 04-22-2012 01:53 PM

All this to powah to makeup for its ugliness.

I saw and sat in one at the LA Auto Show and wasn't impressed

Not this particular model but the one J-Lo was advertising.

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