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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Introducing the new Fiat 500 Abarth...

The talk in the Automotive industry is one of the cars the Fiat/Chrysler alliance will bring to America is the Fiat 500. Here's an introduction to the hottest version, the 500 Abarth, courtesy of Fiat SpA.

500 Abarth

Abarth design

Just over one year has gone by since the announcement and, as planned in the brand relaunch plan, Abarth & C. S.p.A. has kept its promise to resume and bring up to date all the activities that have made its name go down in history. To emphasis the authenticity of the project, brand activities have immediately focused on resuming and bringing up to date all the activities carried out in the past by Abarth & C., beginning with direct participation in Italian and international races, the organization of single-brand trophies and the preparation of the cars for customers - moving through road cars and conversion kits to accessories and garments reflecting Abarth style. A whole new world has been reborn around the Abarth brand, hinging on the core values that bought it such good fortune in the past: innovation in design, the use of cutting-edge materials and attention to detail. All founded on the most authentic passion for motoring, without forgetting the human and engineering heritage.

The Abarth engineers immediately focused on one specific detail that has marked out the world of Abarth since the beginning: transferring the experience of motor racing to the world of road vehicles. Abarth has always been a byword for lively cars, challenges, passion and great emotion - and now it is back with the intention of appealing to the dreams of all motor-sport lovers: last September saw the first Abarth reinterpretation carried out on the Grande Punto and now comes the turn of the brand new 500 Abarth to add another notch to this ambitious project of Fiat Group Automobiles.

This clear, strong approach that Karl Abarth was first to make his own has now reappeared in the design and production of new models and in the development of all brand activities. Abarth achieves this goal by calling on the aid of leading companies in the sports car component field: Brembo, BMC, Sabelt, FPT–Fiat Power train Technologies and Magneti Marelli amongst others. These important partners of international scope guarantee the highest levels of performance and safety through their products: exactly in accordance with the Abarth philosophy.

The new Abarth is, however, first and foremost a company in its own right with a diverse organization (led by its CEO Luca De Meo), with its own headquarters and production workshop divided into four levels, with a product range and a dedicated distribution network: flagship store, dealerships, specialized preparation shops and service workshops.

The organization of this commercial network encapsulates three important brand values: sportiness, authenticity and customer relations. To ensure an authentic shopping experience, the conversion is carried out with the greatest attention to every detail in accordance with a unique style, a veritable distillate of references to the world of Abarth: history, sports cars, tuning kit, accessories, merchandising and the world of racing.

The first figures suggest that the products are selling as fast as an Abarth: more than 80 dealerships are already operating in Europe, in Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Greece. By the end of the year, the network should be complemented by the addition of Belgium, Portugal, Spain and Poland: this confirms the goal of 100 dealerships in Europe, the same number of official preparation shops and some 200 authorized workshops. The extension will also affect non-European markets, beginning with Japan by the beginning of 2009.

A distribution and preparation network that is truly one of a kind and has certainly contributed to the great success of the 155 bhp Grande Punto Abarth 1.4 Turbo T-Jet: more than 2000 cars have been sold in less than nine months since they first went on sale. Not to mention the fact that last May, two tuning kits for the 155 bhp Grande Punto Abarth 1.4 Turbo T-Jet went on sale, one entitled ‘Assetto’ and the other ‘esseesse’ (the latter also includes an engine modification that increases the car's power to 180 bhp): more than 500 kits have already been sold in just two months.

Customer age is another significant factor: more than 60% are under 30 while more than 30% of Abarth customers are buying a Fiat Group Automobiles product for the first time. These data confirm the worth of the project and uphold another historical Abarth value: allowing motorists to enter the world of motorsport in complete safety at an accessible price.

Now comes the turn of the brand new 500 Abarth to continue along this path, starting from absolute respect for an unforgettable past and taking forward into the future an entire world of victories, style and symbols that have made the Abarth Scorpion logo into an authentic legend that still stirs the blood of car enthusiasts.

From racing experience: technology, performance and safety

Introduced at the 78th Geneva Motor show and due to be marketed from July 19 in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, France and the Netherlands, the new 500 Abarth was developed by the Abarth engineers in the spirit of the legendary 500 Abarth cars of the 1960s.
The new car was created with the intention of reinforcing the brand’s sporting position. Outside it looks like a nimble and compact pocket car while inside it offers the very best that is currently available in the field of engineering, safety and technology, remaining faithful to the saying coined for the Abarth cars of the 1960s (small but deadly): veritable scorpions, in other words, able to sting the passion of thousands of motorists with a taste for challenge, speed and Italian style. The new 500 Abarth is certainly no exception. It is a heady mix of technology, performance and safety that finds its roots in the experience and passion of the world of racing.

Sporty and practical style: an ideal stylistic balance between past and future

The style of the 500 Abarth, created by the Fiat Group Automobiles style centre, chimes perfectly with the Scorpion tradition and is no mere window-dressing but significantly contributes to the car’s performance. The best example of this approach to styling lies in the particular attention devoted to the aerodynamics and function of certain elements.
For example, the rear view of the 500 Abarth is typified by the presence of a special bumper, aerodynamic extractor, twin exhaust terminal and tailgate spoiler that give it a sporting look but also excellent aerodynamic performance. A scorpion logo is printed above the silencer, just as on the historical Abarth exhausts.

The front end makes a specific statement that the 500 Abarth is an out-and-out GT: the three-part pattern formed by the air intakes comprises a central intake that is larger than on the basic model, and an upper slot (above the number plates) that is also wider. The two symmetrical ‘nostrils’ on either side of the bumpers correspond exactly to the position of two corresponding intercoolers that can be seen through the openings and are there to ensure air is able to flow in and out.

The front end with the frieze has been shifted forward to create the space needed for the turbocharger. This makes the side profile of the 500 Abarth more pronounced and striking in pitch-perfect Abarth tradition: on the 850 TC and 1000 TC models, no-nonsense external manifolds were a recognisable feature of the brand. The Abarth logo ‘floats’ on a finned surface that acts as an additional air intake. Abarth badges are positioned on the sides, crossed by a three-coloured thunderbolt, exactly as on the Abarth 595 and 695 Abarth of the 1960s, to symbolise the brand’s racing vocation.

The wheel rims, available in 16 and 17 inch sizes, come in different styles: from multispoked rims to rims bordered by holes (the reference to the forged wheel motifs of the 1970s is clear).

Racing interiors for the satisfaction of a sporty drive

The out-and-out racing interiors on the 500 Abarth feature specific instruments and an analogue pressure gauge used to measure the turbo pressure. The pressure gauge contains a ‘GSI’ (Gear Shift Indicator) that turns on an LED to encourage the driver to shift gear.

The main gauge, with sporting graphics, is lipped on top to offer further protection against glare while the three-spoke steering wheel incorporates moulded grips for the thumbs and is levelled off at the base to ensure increased passenger room and space for adjustment.

The aluminium pedals with rubber inserts also reveal a clear racing vocation, as does the gear knob (leather trimmed with a more ergonomic grip for sporty use) and handbrake lever grip (also in leather).

The seats with head restraints built into the back rest also reveal a special Abarth design with a wraparound configuration in order to hold the body tightly in position even when cornering. They can be trimmed in leather, in two black or red specifications, or in two types of different cloth.

Top level driving safety and satisfaction

Created to meet the toughest standards, the 500 Abarth is one of the safest cars in its entire segment. Stable, effective braking plus good pick-up ensured by the 135 bhp power units and predictable handling at all times allow the new car to sail serenely through critical situations. The 500 Abarth is also fitted as standard with 7 airbags (two front, two window bags, two sidebags and one for knee protection): a record for this car category. The new model also features technically sophisticated products to ensure effective car control by the driver (active safety): including ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), the sophisticated ESP (Electronic Stability Program), ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) Hill Holder devices to help the driver during hill starts and HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance) to help in emergency stops.

For the very first time in this segment, the new 500 Abarth also offers two features that are appealing by any standards: the ‘TTC’ (Torque Transfer Control) and ‘GSI’ (Gear Shift Indicator) systems. The first device improves the transfer of drive torque to the wheels and, in particular, guarantees excellent cornering behaviour thus making the car safer and more entertaining during a sporty drive. The ‘GSI’ (Gear Shift Indicator) encourages the driver to shift gear by turning on a special indicator on the control panel (an LED flashes five consecutive times). In detail, if normal mode has been selected, the system tells the driver that fuel savings could be made by shifting to another gear. If the driver continues in sport mode, the gearshift suggestion aims to achieve the best possible performance.

The 500 Abarth also offers all the properties of dynamism and comfort that allow its users to tackle longer, more demanding routes in comfort. This is also due to the suspension configuration: the front system is a Mac Pherson configuration while the rear suspension features interconnected wheels (i.e. semi-independent) with a torsion beam. Created from a Magneti Marelli design, both selected configurations have been appropriately revised and developed for the new vehicle to ensure great handling and top level driving comfort.

Powerful, smooth power units

Abarth cars are known and appreciated throughout the world as sporty cars that are able to offer the challenge of a great tradition of races and victories through outstanding motor engineering. Cars that enhance everyday driving experiences with a true racing feel and authentic driving satisfaction.

The new 500 Abarth upholds these characteristics but if necessary can also offer something more: more performance, more handling, better braking capacity. All the dynamic performance of a car destined for the track, in other words. The credit goes mainly to the exuberant engine concealed beneath the bonnet: a Fire 1.4 16v petrol Turbo engine that delivers a maximum power of 135 bhp (99 Kw) at 5500 rpm and a maximum torque of 206 Nm at 3000 rpm in ‘Sport’ mode (in ‘Normal’ mode, the torque remains 180 Nm at 2500 rpm). A power unit that ensures a thrilling performance while also making the 500 Abarth extremely satisfying to drive even during day-to-day use.

In detail, the engine is a 1368 cm3 4 cylinder 16 valve unit (turbo charged with a fixed geometry IHI RHF3-P turbocharger) that delivers exhilarating performance. Top speed is 205 km/h while acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes place in just 7.9 seconds. This is partly achieved by the overboost function, activated by the ‘Sport’ button that modulates control unit mapping and turbo pressure in addition to load on the steering wheel. Yet all this typically Abarth sportiness comes with very frugal fuel consumption: 5.4 l/100 km over a combined cycle.

The new spirited, smooth power unit also reveals itself to be gentle on the environment: the new Abarth is already designed to meet the toughest restrictions imposed by future European standards (Euro 5), and already complies with the emission limits that are due to enter into force in 2009.

It should also be remembered that the 135 bhp 1.4 16v Turbo T-Jet belongs to the new T-jet family that applies the philosophy of downsizing: the adoption of a new-generation turbocharger, combined with a smaller capacity engine, allows us to achieve performance levels that are comparable to or even better than higher-capacity power units, but with lower fuel consumption and emissions. And more: the presence of the turbo significantly increases the maximum torque, making it available at a lower RPM, but with the results of offering greater flexibility and an unrivalled response compared to conventional aspirated engines. All this comes with an essential construction simplicity that benefits the strength and reliability.

Telemetric function

Blue&MeTM MAP with Telemetry makes its debut on the 500 Abarth. This additional highly innovative service has been developed by Magneti Marelli as a result of know-how built up in the world of racing and combines an aid to sporting performance with the advantages of Blue&MeTM MAP. The monitoring function displays the main acquired in-car parameters (engine rpm, vehicle speed, gear engaged) that are transferred from the Blue&MeTM to the PND (Portable Navigation Device) Bluetooth.

The TRACK function, accessible if the driver is on one of the circuits present in the device’s SD memory, displays a set of additional information such as the car’s position on the track (by means of GPS) and trip time. The configuration function makes it possible to store telemetric data for a route and associate it with a personalised session (identified by the driver’s name, circuit, date). The information recorded may be retrieved easily and also analysed at a later stage using the analysis function.

The Blue&MeTM MAP 500 represents a new frontier in the portable navigation system market: the system is safe and easy to use due to the high level of on-board integration from an electrical/mechanical viewpoint (achieved by means of a specific support in the dashboard) and also from the viewpoint of connectivity, ensured by a Bluetooth connection to the Blue&MeTM platform.

The benefits of this structure are considerable: the device uses data from the car CAN network to improve navigation, voice messages are played by the on-board sound system, navigation pictograms are replicated on the instrument panel and the destination may be entered by means of keys on the steering wheel or by means of voice commands.

Technical data: 135 bhp 500 Abarth 1.4 16v Turbo T-Jet
• 4 cylinders in line with 4 valves per cylinder, 1368 cm3.
• Power output: 135 BHP (99 kW) at 5500 rpm.
• Maximum torque 206 Nm at 3000 rpm in ‘SPORT’ mode.
• Turbocharged with variable geometry IHI RHF3-P turbocharger.
• 5-speed C510 gearbox.
• Mc Pherson configuration with anti-roll bar at front.
• Rear configuration with wheels interconnected through a torsion beam with anti-roll bar.
• Low ride.
• Dualdrive electric power steering with SPORT setting.
• ZPH 4.1.2 floating front calliper, 54mm diameter piston.
• Ventilated front brake discs, diameter 284 x 22 mm.
• CII 34 floating rear calliper, 34 mm diameter piston.
• 240 mm diameter x 11 mm rear brake disc.
• Standard: 6.5 x 16" aluminium alloy rim - Tyres: 195/45 R16".
• Options: 7x 17" aluminium alloy rim - Tyres: 205/40 R17".
Environmental level
• Complies with Euro 5 CEE-F5 standard.
CO2 emissions
• 155 g/km.
Fuel consumption.
- urban cycle (l/100km): 8.5
- combined cycle (l/100km): 6.5
- extra-urban cycle (l/100km): 5.4
• Top speed 205 km/h.
• Acceleration 0-100 km/h sec.

Special versions

As for its predecessor, the new 500 Abarth will offer two special versions that encapsulate the concept of sportiness at its most exclusive.

500 Abarth Opening Edition

Manufactured in a limited number – including 100 cars for the Italian market - 500 Abarth Opening Edition offers a characteristic look of great personality and above all exclusive equipment with regards to mechanical units and the extensive list of standard features.
First of all, this particular version is fitted with a powerful 1.4 Turbo T-Jet power unit that develops 160 bhp (147 KW) at 5750 rpm and a maximum torque of 230 Nm at 3000 rpm. Due to its fixed geometry IHI RHF3 turbocharger, the performances are truly exhilarating: top speed is 211 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes place in just 7.4 seconds. The following also help to make the 500 Abarth Opening Edition unique: the adoption of the front and rear perforated disc brakes, high performance front brake pads, a special ‘powered by BMC’ air filter, special low springs and 17" alloys painted white or titanium and complete with 205/40 R16 ZR 17 Pirelli Pzero Nero tyres.

Outside, the 500 Abarth Opening Edition features red brake callipers and privacy windows. Inside, distinctive features include leather upholstery, a plate with the car serial number on the central tunnel and two aluminium badges bearing the wording ‘500 Abarth Opening Edition’ positioned on the faring. The steering wheel is also customised with red leather and target. The gear knob is in glossy anodised aluminium with red engraved gears. The mats are Abarth with a leather band. Other features specific to the 500 Abarth Opening Edition include a grey or white fuel cap and key cover. The car is delivered with a car cover bearing a period Abarth 595 design. Lastly, the 500 Abarth Opening Edition may be clad into body colours (Campovolo grey or pearlised White) and special stickers including a red chequered flag on the roof (exclusive to the Campovolo Grey shade) that pays homage to the numerous sporting victories of the Abarth brand.

This exclusive exterior look is complemented by a long list of standard equipment: in the field of safety, for example, the car is fitted with 7 airbags, fog light, ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), ESP (Electronic Stability Program) with ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) and Hill Holder in addition to the brand new Torque Transfer Control. Not to mention the fact that, in the field of on-board wellbeing, the 500 Abarth Opening Edition is unrivalled, as evidenced by an automatic climate control system, radio with CD and MP3, the sophisticated Interscope Hi-Fi Sound System and a Blue&MeTM Map satellite navigation system (special Abarth version). This array of equipment is completed by electrically controlled front windows and door mirrors with height adjustable steering wheel and seats.

Back to the track: 500 Abarth Assetto Corse

Abarth returns to track racing, and it has chosen to do so with its new ‘500 Abarth Assetto Corse’, the baby supersports car from Abarth, due to be produced in a Limited Edition (49 cars). The new vehicle, designed by the Fiat Group Automobiles Style Centre and produced by a team of Abarth Engineers and Designers, is premiering in a limited edition of 500 that will be the star of track races from next year.

Introduced during its world premiere at the recent historical re-enactment of the ‘Mille Miglia 2008’- where more than 200 orders were collected from all over the world in a few weeks - the Assetto Corse version of the petite 500 Abarth takes up the baton from its forerunner, the ‘595’ that notched up numerous successes and great victories from 1963 and led to the coining of the description ‘small but deadly’.

The cars sports a full racing outfit: wide track, white 17" special ultralight racing wheels, low ride, sports racing mirrors and a place for a number on the sides. Available in pastel grey with red Abarth side stripes, the ‘500 Abarth Assetto Corse’ reveals an assertive front end that houses a badge bearing the Abarth logo and, below this, wide bumpers complete with an aerodynamic spoiler and screen-printed grilles to replace the plastic louvres on the standard production version. In addition to the classic bonnet clips, the bonnet houses two carbon air intakes bearing the Abarth scorpion logo. The rear part of the car features a white winged spoiler, a badge bearing the Abarth logo and a twin exhaust pipe.

The Abarth identity is expressed to the full with a thunderbolt logo on the side representing the brand’s racing image and a red band and four white chequers on the roof, just as on the winning Abarth 850TC version of the 1960s.

Inside, the ‘500 Abarth Assetto Corse’ is equipped with a roll-bar type-approved for racing that is completely hollow to make the car lighter and faster. The car weighs approximately 180 kg less than the road version. The anatomical seats, the steering wheel (special for racing) and the carbon door panels make the 500 Abarth Assetto Corse a real baby sports car with a indomitable character all of its own.

Abarth has also thoughtfully provided a clothing set for the driver, that will be delivered in an original Abarth-branded leather bag. Owners of the ‘500 Abarth Assetto Corse’ will therefore be resplendent in overall, helmet, gloves and shoes, all meticulously branded with the ultra-new ‘Assetto Corse’ logo produced for the limited edition of the car.
Further information about the car is available on the website:

Technical data: 200 bhp 500 Abarth 1.4 1motor-sport6V turbo ‘ASSETTO CORSE’
• 4 cylinders in line with 4 valves per cylinder, 1368 cm3.
• Power output: 200 bhp (147 Kw) at 6500 rpm.
• Maximum torque of 300 Nm at 3000 rpm.
• Garrett GT 1446 fixed geometry turbocharger.
• Special reinforced water and air hoses.
• M32 6-speed gearbox.
• Front: Mc Pherson, special racing shock absorbers, coaxial springs with wheel for adjusting vehicle height.
• Rear: interlinked arms, special racing shock absorbers, springs with wheel for adjusting vehicle height.
• Electric power steering with racing setting.
• Brembo radial front calliper with four M4X40 pistons.
• 305 mm diameter x 28 mm perforated, ventilated front brake disc.
• Rear calliper with 36 mm diameter piston.
• 264 mm diameter x 11 mm rear brake disc.
• High-performance racing brake pads.
• Rear spoiler and front bumper splitter.
• Reinforcement cage structure welded and built into the body.
• Lightened interiors, Sabelt Racing safety conversion.
• Driver’s seat optimised and moved towards the center of the car.
• 7 x 17" painted casrecognizablet aluminium coloredrims.
• 205/50 ZRsymbolizemulti spoked17 tyres.
• 930 Kg.

Press release courtesy of Fiat Group Press


tahrey said...

Please, please, please, PLEASE tell me there's a styling option that re-labels the "Sport" button as "TURBO BOOST" and makes it as large and as bright red as possible within the button panel :D

Anonymous said...

when will this car come to the us? i just drove the 500 but found its serious lack of power the only shortcoming

Anonymous said...

Hi all...
I am curious to know as to whether the Abarth might be offered in either automatic, or dualogic semi-automatic as it is in the U.K. If anyone is privy to this information, it would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

How much is the damn thing

Anonymous said...

yah what is this little devil going to cost and when will it be available?
I want one NOW!!!!

Sami Susani said...

Hey everyone!
Thanks for your valuable additions to this post. Apart from the original post, I found these comments interesting too.