The Fiat Abarth 500: A serious big boy's toy
If you're looking for a car that’s sporty, fun and has a heck of a sting to it, then you'll want to check out the Fiat Abarth 500. It's basically a toy for grown-up blokes (and girls too, we guess).
When I first saw the Fiat Abarth 500 I didn’t really know what to make of it. It’s small and compact, so you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just a small city run around. However, it has a mean scorpion badge, which replaces the Fiat logo, and it’s draped in a sports trim (mine was red and black) that let’s you know there’s a little monster hidden under the hood. This isn’t a sheep in wolf’s clothing – it’s the other way around.
Once you sit inside the Abarth there won’t be a single doubt left in your mind that this is just some small city car. As soon as you sit in and get comfortable, you instantly get a sense of what this motor is capable of. Up on the dashboard there is subtle gearshift indicator that will flash at you indicating you need to shift up if the revs get a little close to the red-line, which is pretty cool and if I’m honest, it made me feel like I was in a Need For Speed game. The rev counter doesn’t get in your way at all when driving normally and it certainly gives you an extra sense ‘get the f*** out of my way’, as I liked to call it.
I will admit that the car does have some boy-racer qualities to it, however, it doesn’t shout in your face like some of the mini-motos that are out there - you know, the ones that have bean can exhausts fitted to them? Having said that, you can upgrade your Abarth to a Record Monza exhaust, which if you hold the throttle open at around 85% for a few seconds, will pop on up-changes. It also adds an extra 5hp to the engine so the model I was in came to a fairly impressive 140hp. This model also included a rear wind deflector, climate control, red brake callipers and a stereo upgrade, so I was certainly riding in style for the week.
The seats are top notch too. Some say you can’t put a price on comfort, however, for an extra €2,000 you can kit your Abarth out with Sabelt Racing Seats that pin you to the car whenever your taking corners a tad too fast.
Another great quality about the Abarth is the price. It’s not stupidly cheap, so you won’t have every Tom, Dick and Anto driving around in one, and it’s not so expensive that you can’t afford one yourself. The Abarth range starts at €24,000 for the hardtop model, while the Cabrio comes in at around €26,000. There are loads of extras that you can choose for the Abarth such as the seats and exhaust, so you really can make it your own.
You have to admit, it's one seriously mean looking badge
You can also splash out on an “Esseesse” kit, which will boost the power of the 1.4-turbo engine from 135hp to 160hp, just in case you really want to leave someone in your dust.
I was lucky enough to get a spin in the Cabrio model, which if you don’t know what that means it basically folds the roof back so you can let the wind blow through your hair – if you have any left that is. Sadly the roof only came down once thanks to the weather, however, the Cabrio rides a little softer than the hard-top (because it’s that bit heavier) so it makes it the perfect little drop-top for Irish roads.
The Abarth is a seriously fun car to drive around in, and if you’re a fan of cars that come pre-pimped then you won’t have to look much further than this. If however, you prefer to drive around without half the city staring at you, then you might want to keep on looking.
The car isn’t officially on sale in the Ireland, but you can buy your Abarth from dealers who have imported them in from the UK. Your local Fiat dealer would be a good place to start. An Abarth service dealership is being set up at Fiat’s flagship dealership on the Kylemore Road in Dublin, so anyone who buys one can get warranty work, servicing and repair work done officially.
Head down to your nearest Fiat dealer to find out more about how you can get your hands on an Abarth.