After all of the high-horsepower, tire-shredding, rear-wheel drive performance coupes that have taken up brief residence in our parking space, we decided it was time for something a little different at TWPC.
And the 2016 Fiat 500 Abarth certainly qualifies as different with it's stubby, upright stance and oh-so-European finishing touches. It'll make you look twice especially when, like our tester, it's finished in Celeste Blu.
Despite being designed to stand out, however, the Abarth is not to be understimated: it IS a cute car that ALSO packs an impressive performance profile.
Sitting at the top of the 500 model range, the Abarth comes loaded for bear with a 1.4-litre MultiAir turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that pumps out 160 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque that can be paired with either a five-speed manual (like our tester) or a six-speed automatic transmission, both of which drive the front wheels.
On the handling front, the Abarth is equipped with dual-valve Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) KONI front shocks designed for better grip, stiffer spring rates and a 15 mm (0.6-inch) lower ride height.
Because this is a Fiat we're talking about, the Abarth is also adorned with a great deal of fine Italian workmanship, including a red-stitched steering wheel and shift knob, colour-matched dash trim pieces, a large round speedometer and a liberal application of Abarth scorpion badges.
There's a lot more to say about this spicy little Italian number so be sure to check back on Friday for our thoughts on the mightiest 500.
- 1.4L MultiAir turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
- 5-speed manual transmission
- front engine / front-wheel drive
- 160 horsepower / 170 lb-ft. of torque
- 0-100 km/h in 8.0 seconds
Photography by Lee Bailie