Archive for February, 2008

New 500 Abarth debuts at Geneva

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Just released are the first official pictures of the new 500 Abarth – a high performance version of the Fiat 500 city car which went on sale in the UK last month. The 500 Abarth will make its international public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

New 500 Abarth

New 500 Abarth

The new car was developed by Fiat Group Automobiles Style Centre in the spirit of the legendary Fiat 500 Abarth of the 1960s, and is powered by a Fire 1.4 16v petrol Turbo engine, which delivers a maximum of 135 bhp at 5,500 rpm, and peak torque of 206 Nm (152 lb.ft) at 3,000 rpm in ‘Sport’ mode, while in ‘Normal’ mode, torque is reduced to 180 Nm (132 lb.ft) at 2,500 rpm. This smooth and responsive new engine is also environmentally compatible. Like the Fiat 500 from which it is derived, the new 500 Abarth meets future Euro 5 emissions legislation.

New 500 Abarth

New 500 Abarth

The dramatic styling is not a mere exercise in interpretation, as the 500 Abarth optimises aerodynamic behaviour, reducing drag and increasing high speed stability, while the sideskirts also improve the Cd figure. Inside, the 500 features special instrumentation, with the addition of an analogue gauge to measure turbo pressure. An LED telltale that optimises gear changes by lighting up at the appropriate moment, is also incorporated.

New 500 Abarth

New 500 Abarth

500 ABARTH – BRIEF SPECIFICATION

Engine

  • 4 cylinders in line, 4 valves per cylinder, 1368 cc
  • Power output: 135 bhp at 5,500 rpm
  • Peak torque in SPORT mode: 206 Nm (152 lb.ft) at 3,000 rpm
  • ‘Drive-by-wire’ accelerator control, without mechanical connection
  • Turboboost by IHI variable geometry turbo

Transmission

  • 5-speed gearbox
  • Dual cable external gearbox control

Suspension and steering

  • MacPherson layout at front with anti-roll bar
  • Torsion beam axle with anti-roll bar
  • Ground-hugging sporty stance
  • Dualdrive electric power steering, with SPORT mode

Brakes

  • Floating ZPH 4.1.2 front calliper, piston diameter 54 mm
  • Ventilated front brake discs, diameter 284 x 22 mm
  • Floating CII 34 rear calliper, piston diameter 34 mm
  • Solid rear brake discs, diameter 240 x 11 mm

Wheels

  • Standard: Aluminium alloy rim 6.5″ x 16″ – Tyres: 195/45 R16
  • Optional: Aluminium alloy rim 7″ x 17″ – Tyres: 205/40 R17

Officine Abarth – An exclusive distribution network

Monday, February 18th, 2008

The Abarth & C. S.p.A structure is agile and fast-moving, in the true spirit of the brand, and it has created its own exclusive distribution network, on four levels: flagship branches, dealerships, specialist tuners and service workshops.

The flagship branches are known as the ‘Officine Abarth’, and there will be four in the world (in Italy, Germany, Great Britain and Japan), representing the brand in the key markets. The Italian headquarters obviously had to be in the historical premises in Corso Marche in Turin, to demonstrate that the link with tradition is not only hypothetical but tangible and concrete.

Officine Abarth

Officine Abarth

The second level of the Abarth network is made up of the dealerships, which will be limited in number, and will guarantee a specialist, targeted relationship with all customers. The third level comprises the independent Tuners who will be recognised by the ‘Abarth Assetto corse’ sign, and they will be the real experts of the tuning possibilities and sole installers of the kits. This guarantees respect for all the relevant environmental and safety standards and will keep the make’s hands-on character alive. And finally, the last distribution level comprises the Service workshops which maintain high standards of specialisation, technology and service, guaranteeing the necessary assistance to all Abarth customers.

Officine Abarth

Officine Abarth

The marketing network is organised to embody three of the make’s important values: sportiness, relations with the customer and safety, generating a unique ‘shopping experience’ for the customer at every Abarth showroom. The same distinctive elements will identify Abarth on the new European markets that open up in 2008.

Officine Abarth

Officine Abarth

In the first months of the year the Abarth network will move into Switzerland and Austria, followed in the Spring by Germany, Portugal, Greece, Holland and Belgium, and by Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Poland in the Summer. The expansion of the marketing network in Europe includes the inauguration of about 60 dealers, 120 specialist tuners and 180 service workshops. For example, the Swiss market, the first to be inaugurated, will have 6 dealers (in Geneva, Zurich, Cadenazzo, Biel Bienne, Spiezwiller and Basel), while Austria will soon have 4 dealers, in the cities of Vienna, Salzburg, Graz and Innsbruck.

Officine Abarth

Officine Abarth

We should underline that the choice of dealers is not random; only the best Fiat dealers have been chosen, in order to guarantee an efficient top quality service to customers. All the showrooms will be furnished with a uniform style, a true ‘concentrate’ of concepts and references to the Abarth world: history, sports cars, tuning kits, accessories, merchandising and the racing world.


Abarth’s new premises in Turin

Monday, February 18th, 2008

As envisaged by the plans to revive the brand, the Abarth & C. Spa company has set up new premises in the Mirafiori complex in Turin, bringing together the manufacturing, design and management functions for the whole company, as well as the staff of the Racing Team who were formerly housed in the historical plant in the nearby town of Chivasso. And it took just eight months to build the new structure and to transfer the racing team, living up to the brand’s reputation for ‘speed’. This is all the more remarkable if we remember that the premises cover an area of more than 23,000 square metres, conceived specifically to house all the brand’s activities, and employ more than 100 people.

Located in the historical Mirafiori Engineering plant – now known as Officine 83 and also the home of the Fiat Group Automobiles Style Centre since 2007 – the new Abarth structure offers important advantages for both the expansion of the brand’s specific activities and for relations with the Fiat Group’s other industrial activities: the location will simplify interaction with the Style Centre, the Experimental construction centre, and the Engineering and Design departments.

The project embodies the same guidelines that accompany the brand’s re-invention: effectiveness, speed, essentiality and functionality. A large industrial building has been refurnished, but maintains its original industrial configuration, and now houses the workshops where the models are manufactured and developed, divided into different departments: racing cars, prototype development, development of cars derived from standard production and the Racing Department. The technical and design offices are located next to the workshops, while the Marketing and the Sales & Network Development functions are housed on the first floor, with the other business support functions (Finance, Purchasing, etc.).

The entrance introduces the brand’s distinctive elements immediately: an Italian flag on the white side walls to underline the brand’s nationality, and a 1 metre high 3D rendering of the classic Abarth shield, made of steel.

Abarth Headquarters

Abarth Headquarters

The Abarth name appears over the main door, also in steel, 208 cm long and 25 cm high; a texture mounted on adhesive on the sliding glass door represents the car’s main mechanical components, a distinctive element of all Abarth dealers.

Beyond the entrance are the words ‘Officine Mirafiori’ (in relief) under another classic Abarth shield, which underlines the parent company’s determination to maintain the brand’s historical values and seamless continuity with the past. On the right, is the characteristic ‘Abarth wall of fame’: 40 photographs from the past that celebrate Abarth’s victories, successes and most important models, like the one in Carlo Abarth’s office 60 years ago.

Abarth Headquarters

Abarth Headquarters

The generous space to the left of the entrance will house a 560 square metre showroom, which will illustrate the brand’s past and future through a display of models and distinctive elements from Abarth’s history. With the strong imprint of the corporate colours (red and white with grey details), the exhibition space harks back to the past, underlining that the link with tradition is not only ideal but real and visible.

Abarth Headquarters

Abarth Headquarters

Next to the showroom is a chequered doorway – a symbol that represents the finishing line of endurance races and was applied on the roofs of cars with the Scorpion badge – leading to a small room where the new 500 Abarth will be displayed during the inauguration of the new premises, standing on a large aluminium scorpion: this ‘small but wicked’ car will be the only one in the room, a striking way of underlining the importance of its launch.

Abarth Headquarters

Abarth Headquarters

Another element that conveys the personality of the whole centre is the new workshop, which is equipped with eight car lifts for carrying out tuning operations on the cars. A special area has also been earmarked as a future assembly line for cars in small production runs. The route through the workshops is marked by a red Abarth strip (3.5 metres tall) on all the walls, to demonstrate that the Abarth spirit involves the whole company.

Abarth Headquarters

Abarth Headquarters

After the workshops is the area set aside for the various warehouses, where the walls are painted dark grey. Nothing random about this: grey was the colour that Carlo Abarth used on his cars (to produce it, he used tins of paint destined to the aircraft at the airfield adjacent to the original headquarters in Corso Marche).