Now that the North American Fiat 500 Abarth has been unveiled, all the major news sources have been able to give their unique spin on it. I’ve compiled a list of the best reactions from the press. There’s plenty of talk of attitude, horsepower, price, and new competition for the Mini Cooper S.
Aesthetically, the gigantic Abarth scorpion logo pokes out like Superman’s chest to let you know this isn’t J. Lo’s Fiat 500. A more pronounced front fascia blends into flared wheel arches and an aggressive look that finishes in a spoiler mounted above the liftgate.
The interior might be the biggest step forward for the Fiat. The deeply bolstered front seats are narrow enough to actually hold you in place and include integrated side airbags. The flat-bottom steering wheel is leather-wrapped and thick-rimmed. Gauges remain concentric.
Race-inspired features for the interior include aluminum foot pedals with black rubber trim, and a black leather-wrapped shift knob accented with red stitching. Front seats feature a one-piece design with large side bolsters and a racing-harness pass-through, and rear passengers will enjoy raised seats bolstered for added back support.
The Abarth is expected to arrive in American showrooms in the spring, unless sales realities postpone that timetable, as they have previously; the model is actually long overdue. No pricing yet, but if it indeed comes in around $23,000 as hinted by the company, that may be scrumptious enough to woo buyers away from the ubiquitous Mini Cooper S.
Overall, Fiat promises that the 500 Abarth stays true to the Continental version, saying that, “every piece of hardware and every mile of development tuning has been thoroughly examined to ensure the European model’s DNA is delivered to North American driving enthusiasts.”
Not surprisingly, we’re eager to get behind the wheel of Abarth’s hot hatch. And we’re already scoping out a Mini Cooper S for a lovely little comparison.
Overall the reactions seem positive and excited, but also hesitant. As the Abarth begins its national tour, I’m sure we’ll start seeing actual test drives and reviews soon.