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Drives, Fiat — August 27, 2012 at 3:06 pm

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth: First Look


Here’s a first look at the latest Ride of the Week, the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth.

An earlier post on LivingVroom explains my excitement about the Abarth name and this little pocket rocket in particular. I also covered the 500 Abarth for at the LA Auto Show, and I’ve been itching to drive it ever since I first heard of its return. This week, I’ve got my hands on the little monster and, already enamored of its burbling exhaust note, I’m looking forward to seeing how it stacks up against some of its formidable competition, which will soon include another 500 variant, the newly announced 500 Turbo.

The Abarth is powered by a 160-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged MultiAir 4-cylinder engine and includes a slew of upgrades not found on the base 500, from performance suspension and brakes to sportier seats. Pricing for the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth starts at $22,000. By comparison, the new 2013 500 Turbo, which uses a 135-horsepower version of the same motor, is priced at about $2,000 less. Including a $700 destination charge, the test car is equipped with a list of options that bring the total price to $26,200, or about $1,000 less than a Mini Cooper S with the Premium and Sport Packages.

Optional equipment on the test car includes performance leather bucket seats for $1000; the $750 Safety and Convenience package that includes automatic climate control, SiriusXM, red and black seats and an alarm; red mirror caps and side stripes for $350; a $400 tack-on TomTom navigation unit; and, for $1000, 17-inch forged aluminum wheels instead of the standard 16-inch rims.

Quick Specs: 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

body type3-door, 4-passenger hatchback
as-tested price$26,200
engine size/configuration1.4-liter inline-4
horsepower/torque (hp/lb-ft)160/170
transmission5-speed manual
fuelregular unleaded acceptable; premium recommended
EPA city fuel economy rating (mpg)28
EPA highway fuel economy rating (mpg)34
optionsperformance bucket seats; Safety and Convenience package; mirror caps and body stripes; TomTom navigation unit; 17-inch wheels