Sadly, we’re not getting the latest 500 here in the US. But Fiat did bring the last-gen version to the US for several years. And while you could have the Fiat 500 in convertible or even electric 500e form, the most exciting version was the 500 Abarth hot hatch. Used examples tend to be rather affordable, which is why we’re featuring a 2013 model as this week’s Cars and Bids bargain. However, this 500 Abarth is a bit more special.
The Fiat 500 Abarth isn’t the fastest hot hatch…
When the base US-market 500 arrived in 2011, it wasn’t exactly a barn-stormer. Its 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine only offered 101 hp and 98 lb-ft, Car and Driver reports. Having driven a base 500 in the past, I can tell you that they’re somewhat fun, but not exactly fast. But just like the original Fiat 500s Carlo Abarth tuned, the modern version remedies that.
The Fiat 500 Abarth also has a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, but with stronger internals and, most crucially, a turbocharger. So instead of 101 hp and 98 lb-ft, it has 160 hp and 170 lb-ft, MotorTrend reports. And interestingly, that’s more than the standard European-market 500 Abarths offered; our models had the optional ‘Essesse’ kit as standard.
This power goes to the front wheels via either a five-speed manual or, starting in 2015, an optional six-speed automatic, Car and Driver reports. And because the 500 Abarth only weighs about 2500 pounds, manual-equipped examples go 0-60 mph in 7 seconds, Car and Driver reports. Automatic-equipped Abarths only make 157 hp but make 13 more lb-ft, and are slightly faster to 60 mph, Car and Driver reports.
Besides the extra power, the Fiat 500 Abarth also has sportier and lower suspension than the standard car, Roadshow reports. The hot hatch also has sport seats, an upgraded rear sway bar, larger brakes, as well as stronger half-shafts and transmission internals. It even has different gear ratios than the standard manual 500. Plus, a rear spoiler, an exhaust system without a muffler, and a Sport Mode that, to quote Doug DeMuro, “readies the car for battle.”
…but it is one of the most thrilling
Compared to some of its hot hatch contemporaries like the Ford Fiesta ST, the Fiat 500 Abarth isn’t quite as sharp. Its engine has more lag, its shifter is looser, and it has more body roll, Car and Driver reports. And as it’s based on an inexpensive city car, its interior can feel a bit cheap in some areas.
But pushing the engine to redline and listening to the exhaust howl and roar is an “intoxicating” experience, Autoblog reports. And the 500 Abarth still handles fairly well, with communicative steering and a firm but not harsh ride. It’s an angry little car that “practically begs you to push it harder,” Motor1 reports. As a method of delivering “unrefined joy,” it excels, Autoweek reports.
The 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth on Cars and Bids
The 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth currently listed on Cars and Bids has a few extra options. In addition to all the Abarth-specific features, it has remote keyless entry, heated front seats, Bluetooth, automatic climate control, and SiriusXM compatibility. It’s also in very good condition, with only a few scuffs and some mild underside surface rust. And it only has 61,385 miles on the clock.
One thing this 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth isn’t, though, is stock. The current-and-only owner installed a SpeedMotive turbo, a EuroCompulsion intercooler, a cold-air intake system, a Road Race Motorsports downpipe with a high-flow catalytic converter, and a Neuspeed performance exhaust system. They also fitted a GFB turbo diverter valve, upgraded ignition coils, an aftermarket boost gauge, as well as a chassis brace, a rear sway bar, torque-arm bushings, and braided stainless-steel brake lines from Neuspeed. And for good measure, the hot hatch also has an OpenFlash tablet tuner.
In standard form, the Fiat 500 Abarth didn’t come with a limited-slip differential but used its brakes to mimic one. However, this 2013 Abarth has an actual LSD installed, along with a Clutch Masters aluminum flywheel and clutch disc. Plus, it rides on lighter-than-stock BBS wheels, though the rear ones don’t have the TPMS sensors installed, which the owner reports are causing a warning light.
Cars and Bids notes that the seller performed most of their own maintenance work. That also includes painting the mirror caps and dash panels gold. However, this 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth does have some service records, as well as a new starter motor and O2 sensor.
It’s a tastefully-modified clean hot hatch bargain
As of this writing, this 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth is listed on Cars and Bids at $7110 with four days left in the auction. Considering the hot hatch originally stickered for around $25k, that’s a significant savings.
Admittedly, used 500 Abarths can be found in the $7000-$10,000 range on Bring a Trailer and Autotrader. However, considering how many modifications this 2013 car has, it’s a genuine performance bargain. Plus, the seller is including the factory differential and exhaust system in the sale. And honestly, if I was going to buy an Abarth, this is close to how I’d modify it.
So, if you’re going to bid on it, you may have to outbid me.
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