Show Spotlight: Fiat 500 Abarth - latimes.com
Published Friday, 18 November, 2011 by Nathan Spencer.
Though most folks under the age of 30 don?t even remember Fiat?s previous stint in the American market (1908 to ?83), drivers of all ages were intrigued by the arrival of the mouse-like 500 last year. Though substantially larger than the miniscule original version (produced 1957 to ?75), the four-cylinder 500 is tailor-made for today?s costly gas and congested cities. The Abarth is the performance variant of the 500.
Fiat began partnering with storied Italian race car company Abarth in 1952 and in 1971 Fiat incorporated Abarth as its own racing department. Abarth?s well-earned reputation for creating ?small but wicked? vehicles out of everyday cars continues with the limited-production Fiat 500 Abarth.
Though full U.S. specifications (and pricing) for the 500 Abarth won?t be revealed until later during the show, Fiat has confirmed that it will be powered by the same turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir engine found in overseas versions. Sport-tuned suspension, to cope with the car?s impressive power-to-weight ratio, seems a certainty. With 17-inch wheels beneath flared wells, the U.S. 500 Abarth, which is expected in dealerships in the first half of 2012, should closely resemble its European counterpart.