Posts Tagged ‘500 Abarth’

Abarth 500 European Trophy: Emanuele Moncini wins the championship

Monday, September 21st, 2009

By winning the last two races on the circuit of Imola, Italian Emanuele Moncini won the Abarth 500 Selenia – European Trophy, beating fellow countryman Manuel Villa by a whisker. Villa was leading the standings prior to the last round. Only three points separates the two drivers at the end of the 12-round championship, the last of which was livened up by the fight between the two Italians, Moncini prevailing in the enthralling duel. Frenchman Benoît Perret finished third. The finishing order reflects the hierarchy of the championship as the transalpine driver takes third in the trophy.

Abarth 500 European Trophy: Emanuele Moncini wins the championship

Abarth 500 European Trophy: Emanuele Moncini wins the championship

At Imola, Moncini won Race 1 ahead of Manuel Villa and Alex Campani, the latter posting the fastest lap time which earned him pole position for Race 2.

Smoking hot fast pace imposed by the front runners characterised this last race, as well as the head-to-head battle between Moncini and Villa. At the start, Villa immediately tailed Alex Campani, who started from pole position. Moncini stayed behind and then made attempts to climb up the leaderboard in the first lap. In the second lap, Campani went off track, handing first place over to Villa. The two leaders in the standings were initiating a long battle. Meanwhile, further back down the field, Jorge Rodrigues was duelling with Simone Monforte for fifth place. Perret, then lying fourth, was a spectator of the battle for the lead, without being able to worry Matteo Milani. The retirement of this one handed third place over to the transalpine, allowing him to conclude the season on the podium.

Final Abarth 500 European Trophy race at Imola

Final Abarth 500 European Trophy race at Imola

To be pointed out is the fine performance of championship participants Erika and Simone Monforte, the youngest drivers to take part in all the rounds of this continental series with the Abarth 500 Assetto Corse.

Open until the end, the 12-leg championship was spread over six rounds at Valencia (Spain), Brno (Czech Republic), Porto (Portugal), Brands Hatch (England), Oschersleben (Germany), drawing to a close at Imola in Italy. The return of Abarth to European competition has been a success, with many young drivers from different countries of the old continent entering the events held in six nations.

The show is due to be repeated next year. The Abarth 500 Selenia Trophy and the Abarth 500 Selenia-European Trophy will be organised again in 2010 in accordance with procedure to be determined in the coming weeks.

Like this year, there will be a national and an international series, which will still feature the Abarth 500 Assetto Corse, a high-performance car that has proved highly competitive on the demanding circuits it has raced on, thanks to the 190bhp delivered by its 1400cc turbo engine.

Final Abarth 500 European Trophy race at Imola

Final Abarth 500 European Trophy race at Imola

Race 1 classification:
1. Emanuele Moncini (I) 9 laps in 19min48.807s – average speed 133,09 kph;
2. Manuel Villa ITA + 3.695s;
3. Alex Campani ITA + 4.163s;
4. Jorge Rodrigues POR + 8.551s;
5. Benoit Perret FRA +10.267s;
6. Simone Monforte ITA +23.960s;
7. Matteo Milani ITA + 32”.047s;
8. Massimiliano Baraldi ITA at 1 lap.

Fasted lap by Alex Campani in 2min10.857s – average speed 135.05 kph.

Race 2 classification:
1. Emanuele Moncini (I), 9 laps in 19min56.229s – average speed 132.27 kph;
2. Manuel Villa (I) + 1.664s;
3. Benoît Perret (F) + 8.444s;
4. Jorge Rodrigues (P) + 15.398s;
5. Simone Monforte (I) + 20.581s;
6. Paolo Debe (I) + 32.179s;
7. Gabriele Larini (I) + 51.122s;
8. Erika Monforte (I) + 1min03.288s;
9. Luca Cassol (I) + 2min16.312s

Fastest lap by Emanuele Moncini, 2min11.129s – average speed 134.77 kph.

Abarth 500 Selenia – European Trophy final standings:
1. Emanuele Moncini (I) 156 points;
2. Manuel Villa (I) 153;
3. Benoît Perret (F) 143;
4. Jorge Rodrigues (P) 131;
5. Simone Monforte (I) 102;
6. Erika Monforte (I) 47;
8. Alex Campani (I) 44;
9. Lucas Guerrero (E) and Freddy Nordström (S) 43.


The Abarth 695 “Tributo Ferrari”

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

The Abarth 695 “Tributo Ferrari” makes its world debut at Frankfurt. This new performance version of the Abarth 500 confirms the link between Abarth and Ferrari based on shared values that include a passion for performance, a racing soul, attention to detail and Italian style.

The Abarth 695 "Tributo Ferrari"

The Abarth 695 'Tributo Ferrari'

Abarth and Ferrari are two great names that have contributed, with conviction and dedication, to the legend of Italian racing that is known around the world. The legendary men behind both marques followed very similar careers: first drivers, then tuners and finally heads of companies that command genuine respect in the world of motor racing. These extraordinary men were associated in the past: in 1953, for example, a unique Ferrari-Abarth was born, the Ferrari 166/250 MM Abarth. The car raced in various international trophies including the legendary Mille Miglia. The tie between the two companies has been reinforced above all by the exhaust systems designed by Abarth specifically for the cars built at Maranello: numerous exhaust systems have been made for various Ferrari models, some of which have won World Championship titles.

The two brands have recently renewed their collaboration. The first result of this was the supply of a limited and numbered series of Abarth 500’s to Ferrari’s European dealers in recent months for use as “courtesy cars”.

Now, attention turns to the new Abarth 695 “Tributo Ferrari”, an exclusive vehicle that not only enables Abarth to extend its range by entering into the luxury sports car market, but also offers Ferrari customers a small but exciting small car for all their mobility needs, including practical urban mobility.

The Abarth 695 "Tributo Ferrari"

The Abarth 695 'Tributo Ferrari'

The new Abarth 695 “Tributo Ferrari” is distinguished by a number of stylistic changes, but more importantly by substantial modifications developed by Abarth and Ferrari engineers. The engine, for a start, is a 1.4 Turbo T-Jet 16v, tuned to develop over 180 HP. This is combined with an MTA (Manual Transmission Automated) electromechanical gearbox with race-inspired paddle gearshift that makes full use of the engine’s performance by reducing gearshift times.

To improve acceleration, the car is fitted with performance tyres on 17” alloy wheels featuring a design inspired by Ferrari wheels. The suspension and braking systems have also been strengthened to cope with the extra power: 284 mm multi-section discs with fixed four-piston calipers, both by Brembo, and special shock absorbers let you enjoy performance in total safety.

And of course there is a “Record Monza” variable back-pressure “dual mode” exhaust, designed to improve engine performance and deliver an inspiring sound over 3,000 rpm.

'Record Monza' variable back-pressure 'dual mode' exhaust

On the outside, the car is finished in Scuderia Red, with carbon fibre door mirrors and with details like the wheels and rear air intakes in Racing Grey. This new Abarth is equipped with Xenon headlights with dipped and main beam functions for improved light emission and excellent efficiency under all weather conditions. Made by Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting, these elements deliver three times the light intensity and duration of standard halogen lamp headlights.

The interiors are also personalised and demonstrate the attention to detail and the sporting style that are common to both brands. “Abarth Corse by Sabelt” seats are fitted and finished in black leather with a shell and seat base in carbon fibre. These seats offer a perfect blend of racing characteristics – light weight (10 kg less than the standard seat) and the ability hold the body steady against lateral and longitudinal forces, thanks to body support elements filled with crush-resistant foam – with the ergonomics and comfort of road seats.

The black leather steering wheel is characterised by red leather inserts and a tricolour hub on which the MTA gearshift paddles are mounted, while the instrument panel is specially made by Jaeger, and inspired by typical Ferrari instrumentation. Attention to detail has gone into the floor too: the foot wells are covered entirely in non-slip aluminium and the racing pedals are personalised with the Scorpion logo. The interior is embellished with other details too, like special kick plates and a plate bearing the vehicle series number.

Technical specifications – Abarth 695 “Tributo Ferrari”

Engine

  • 4 cylinders in line, 4 valves per cylinder, 1368 cc
  • Power output: over 180 HP at 5,750 rpm
  • Peak torque 230 Nm at 3,300 rpm.
  • Turbocharged with fixed geometry Garrett 1446 turbocharger.

Transmission

  • 5-speed C510 gearbox

Suspension

  • Front: MacPherson struts with anti-roll bar
  • Rear: wheels interconnected through a torsion beam with anti-roll bar
  • Lowered sports setup with special shock absorbers

Steering system

  • Electric power steering with SPORT setting

Brakes

  • Brembo fixed front calipers with 4 x ø 36/40 mm pistons
  • Self-ventilated, multi-section front discs, diameter 285 x 28 mm
  • Floating rear calipers with single ø 34 mm pistons
  • 240 mm diameter x 11 mm rear discs
  • HP 1000 high performance front brake pads

Wheels

  • Special Abarth Style 7″x17″ ET 35 wheels
  • 205/40 ZR17 tyres

Ecology

  • Complies with Euro 5 EEC-F5 standard
  • CO2 emissions 155 g/km

Performance

  • Top speed – 225 km/h
  • Acceleration 0-100 km/h in under 7 seconds

Abarth “Record Monza” exhaust systems

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Abarth and Magneti Marelli engineers have developed a range of exhaust systems designated “Record Monza”. “Record Monza” exhausts are variable back-pressure systems capable of improving the performance and the sound of the engine and making it more characteristically “Abarth”.

Abarth “Record Monza” exhaust systems for Abarth 500

Abarth “Record Monza” exhaust systems for Abarth 500

These thoroughly innovative exhausts also embody one of the most authentic traditions of the Scorpion marque. Thanks to the racing experience and genius of Karl Abarth, the 1960’s saw the introduction of the famous Abarth performance kits whose key feature was an exhaust based on a simple but clever idea: these exhausts featured a central pipe of constant section with side passages through the fibreglass, and the elimination of all diaphragms to minimise exhaust gas compression. This simple but innovative system gave Abarth exhausts a clear advantage in terms of performance, and an unmistakable sound. In only a few years Abarth & C. achieved a global dimension: in 1962 the company’s staff of 375 people produced 257,000 exhausts, 65% of which were destined for export.

Faithful to this history, Abarth is offering the new range of “Record Monza” exhausts, with variable back pressure ‘dual mode’ design that improves the sound of the engine above 3000 rpm.

“Record Monza” exhausts can be mounted on the Abarth 500 , the Abarth Grande Punto, and on petrol versions of the Fiat 500, and come in a matt black finish, with chromed tail pipes sporting the Abarth logo in relief.

Update: UK price has been set at £759.87+VAT (£873.85 inc 15% VAT).


Successful weekend of racing for Abarth in the UK

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Thousands of motorsport fans were treated to a spectacular weekend of racing as the Abarth 500 European series came to the UK.

British driver Adam Jones took full home advantage to post two wins out of two over the action-packed weekend (18/19 July) at Brands Hatch circuit in Kent. He was one of 11 drivers competing in the fourth round of the Abarth 500 Selenia-European Trophy – one of the main attractions at the race meeting.

Abarth 500 European Trophy at Brands Hatch

Abarth 500 European Trophy at Brands Hatch

The Abarth 500 Assetto Corse’s speed, driveability and balanced power/weight ratio made it ideal for the Kent track and the cars were completing the lap distance at an average of 130 km/h (80 mph), creating an exciting spectacle for the crowds.

“It was good to see the Abarth 500 race cars here in the UK and what better place to showcase them than Brands Hatch?” says Ivan Gibson, head of Abarth in the UK. “Both days’ races were full of drama, great driving and wonderful excitement – which is what the magic of Abarth is all about.”

The fight for overall victory will resume at the next meeting of the Abarth 500 Selenia-European Trophy, which is scheduled for 5-6 September in Germany.

Abarth 500 European Trophy at Brands Hatch

Abarth 500 European Trophy at Brands Hatch

Meanwhile, two more Abarth cars were competing in Britain over the weekend – this time Grande Punto versions, which were entered into the BARC Hillclimb Championship at Gurston Down, near Salisbury.

The event was part of Abarth UK’s media motorsport programme, and allowed four of Britain’s top motoring journalists behind the wheel for an experience of the sport. It was a close thing with less than two seconds separating the drivers – Owen Mildenhall and James Disdale (Auto Express), freelance writer Jesse Crosse and Performance Car’s Chris Knapman.

Grande Punto Abarth at BARC Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down

Grande Punto Abarth at BARC Hillclimb Championship, Gurston Down


Abarth 500C Convertible?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Autocar claims to have received insider knowledge to indicate that Abarth are likely to introduce a hot version of the recently launched Fiat 500C convertible.

Abarth 500C © NetCarShow.com

Abarth 500C © NetCarShow.com

Body rigidity should remain high, as the 500C isn’t a true convertible, instead retaining its roof rails and pillars.

Engine choices are, of course, likely to remain as the 1.4-litre turbo in 135 bhp guise with the option of the ‘esseesse’ kit to bring that to just shy of 160 bhp.

The Fiat 500C is roughly £3,000 more than an equivalent Fiat 500, and that would seem to indicate a £16,500 starting price for an Abarth 500C, rising to £19,250 for the esseesse version.

Link to Autocar story: Fiat 500C Abarth planned.


Limited-edition Abarth 500 Competizione for Holland

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Abarth has created a limited edition Abarth 500 to celebrate the first year of the company’s return to the Dutch market.

Abarth 500 Competizione

Abarth 500 Competizione

Dubbed the Abarth 500 Competizione, and based on the 155bhp Abarth 500 esseesse, only 10 examples will be produced.  They will be sold at the only franchise in Holland, Nieuwkoop.

Abarth 500 Competizione

Abarth 500 Competizione

The car’s standard features include climate control, Blue&Me Nav satellite navigation, Interscope hi-fi system, Sports leather interior with Competizione logos and Italian stripe, black 17″ Competizione wheels, black roof, and black Abarth door stripes.

Abarth 500 Competizione

Abarth 500 Competizione

Priced at €24,995, the Competizione represents a saving of around €3-4,000 over the standard car once the price of the options are included.

Source: Autocar, Abarthisti


Abarth 500 European Trophy comes to Brands Hatch

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

The Abarth 500 European Trophy comes to Brands Hatch in Kent on the weekend of 18-19 July 2009, alongside the WTCC (World Touring Car Championship).

Abarth 500 European Trophy comes to Brands Hatch

Abarth 500 European Trophy comes to Brands Hatch

Star of the show is the Abarth 500 Assetto Corse, based on the Abarth 500 road car, but with extensive modifications to its 1.4-litre turbocharged engine to produce nearly 200 bhp, as well as a reinforced roll cage, race brakes and suspension, and aerodynamic improvements.

Also competing over the weekend are the FIA Formula Two, Lotus Elise Trophy, Formula Master, and SEAT Eurocup.

Race 1 takes place on Saturday at roughly 5:00pm, while Race 2 gets underway on Sunday at around 4:20pm.

As we head into the fourth round at Brands, Italian Manuel Villa remains in command in the Abarth 500 Selenia-European Trophy standings with a 33 point lead over Frenchman Benoît Perret.

Race Calendar

Saturday 18th July

09.00 – 09.30 FIA World Touring Car Championship Free Practice 1
09.45 – 10.15 FIA Formula Two Qualifying 2
10.35 – 10.55 Lotus Elise Trophy Race 1
11.15 – 11.45 FIA World Touring Car Championship Free Practice 2
12.20 – 13.00 Formula Master Race 1
14.00 – 14.45 FIA Formula Two Race 1
15.00 – 15.20 FIA World Touring Car Championship Qualifying 1
15.25 – 15.35 FIA World Touring Car Championship Qualifying 2
16.05 – 16.35 SEAT Eurocup Race 1
17.05 – 17.30 Abarth 500 Trophy Europe Race 1

Sunday 19th July

10.40 – 11.10 SEAT Eurocup Race 2
11.50 – 12.15 FIA World Touring Car Championship Race 1
12.45 – 13.20 FIA Formula Two Race 2
14.05 – 14.30 FIA World Touring Car Championship Race 2
15.20 – 15.55 Formula Master Race 2
16.20 – 16.45 Abarth 500 Trophy Europe Race 2
17.25 – 17.55 Lotus Elise Trophy Race 2

Timetable is provisional and subject to change.


New “Abarth Corse by Sabelt” seats for 500 and Grande Punto Abarth

Monday, May 18th, 2009

The new seat “Abarth Corse by Sabelt” is born: a technologically evolved product which is the result of the cooperation between two Italian brands, sharing the same sportsmanship and technological values. In fact, Abarth once more found the ideal partner in Sabelt in order to develop this new product, which confirms the goal of the Scorpion brand to transfer to all its customers the functionality, in terms of performance and safety, of the racing world.

Abarth Corse by Sabelt for 500 Abarth

Abarth Corse by Sabelt seats for 500 Abarth

Designed by Sabelt Style Center, under supervision of Abarth Style Center, the new seats stem out of the same philosophy that inspired, in the 60’s, the creation of racing seats for the Abarths 595 and 695. These monococque seats, clearly sports featuring, were designed and produced by Roberto Fusina, with their rounded lines and marked containment bands, suitable either for track racing and road use.

Abarth Corse by Sabelt seats for Grande Punto Abarth

Abarth Corse by Sabelt seats for Grande Punto Abarth

Nowadays, the seats “Abarth Corse by Sabelt” match the typical features of sport seats – such as lightness (10 kilos less than production seats) and the capability of retaining the body under lateral and lengthwise drives, thanks to their mono-layer padding containment bands – with the ergonomy and comfort of the seats conceived for road use.

Abarth Corse by Sabelt seats for Grande Punto Abarth

Abarth Corse by Sabelt seats for Grande Punto Abarth

Equipped with a release and forward-tipping lever, the backrest embodies the headrest and shows the typical slit for the passage of four-point seat belts. In addition, the shell (with its newfangled supporting backrest) and the cushion plate are made out of white compound material, formed by structural polyester resins with 1″ glass fibres, and are moulded using state-of-the-art SMC (Sheet Moulding Compound) technology.

Available in two versions (Frau black leather and fretworked black Alcantara, or black “F1” technical fabric) the seats “Abarth Corse by Sabelt” are embellished with some details like, for instance, the aesthetic felled seams with red thread and the distinctive Abarth writing, while the silver colour typifies the Scorpion Logo placed on the backrest tilt knob.

After being presented at the recent Geneva show, the first seats “Abarth Corse by Sabelt” have been installed on 200 Abarth 500s used as courtesy cars by European Ferrari dealers. This renewed cooperation with the Maranello firm deepens its roots in many shared values, such as passion for performance, racing soul, care of details and Italian style, and in the certainty that the “little and wicked” will be capable of satisfying even the highly demanding clients of Ferrari. Featuring an exclusive colour and a coat inspired by the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, these special cars show typical sport features such as the seats “Abarth Corse by Sabelt”, the variable back-pressure exhaust “Abarth by Magneti Marelli” and the satellite navigator “Abarth Blue&MeTM MAP” with Telemetry function developed by Magneti Marelli.

Some contents of this special series will be soon included in the official Abarth Cars Accessories catalogue, allowing all clients to customize their cars with racing features. In particular, the seats “Abarth Corse by Sabelt” will be available not only to the cars of the “Scorpion” but also to the Fiat 500 and Fiat Grande Punto 3-door models.

Abarth Corse by Sabelt seats

Abarth Corse by Sabelt seats

Abarth Corse by Sabelt seats

Abarth Corse by Sabelt seats

Abarth Corse by Sabelt seats

Abarth Corse by Sabelt seats

Prices

Item Price
Black “F1” technical fabric £1,760 per pair
Frau black leather £2,250 per pair

Abarth 500 Trophy at Monza: Villa and Baldan win

Monday, March 30th, 2009

With 27 drivers on the starting grid, the inaugural round of the Abarth 500 Trophy in Monza has been marked by a great show and fierce competition. Both races took place under the rain but, far from putting the drivers in trouble, the conditions emphasised the natural qualities of the Abarth 500 Assetto Corse, with duels to the hundredth of a second but in the most absolute correctness.

Abarth 500 Trophy at Monza

Abarth 500 Trophy at Monza

After the first two races, the leader of the Abarth 500 Trophy classification is Manuel Villa, from Liguria, who won the first race and finished third in the second. He is followed by Sicily’s Salvatore Tavano, fifth in the first race and runner-up in the second. Tavano was credited with the fastest lap at an average speed of almost 90 mph (145 kph). Third place is occupied by Venetian Nicola Baldan, who got the satisfaction of winning the second race after having finished seventh in the first one.

The next round of the Abarth 500 Trophy will take place at the Mugello track on May 3rd.

Nicola Baldan, Abarth 500 Trophy at Monza

Nicola Baldan, Abarth 500 Trophy at Monza

Classification after Race 1:
1. Manuel Villa 7 laps in 17min18.987s (average speed: 140.505 kph);
2. Andrea Rizzoli + 2.973s;
3. Umberto Scandola + 3.411s;
4. Enrico Fulgenzi + 4.296s;
5. Salvatore Tavano + 5.795s;
6. Raffaele Giammaria + 8.914s;
7. Nicola Baldan + 9.380s;
8. Gianluca Giraudi + 11.142s;
9. Tobias Tauber + 15.062s;
10. Lorenzo Bontempelli + 17.634s.
Fastest lap by Giraudi in 2min26.384s (average speed: 144.934 kph).

Classification after Race 2:
1. Nicola Baldan 7 laps in 17min48.525s (average speed: 136.621 kph);
2. Salvatore Tavano + 2.355s;
3. Manuel Villa + 2.839s;
4. Scandola + 2.937s;
5. Andrea Rizzoli + 3.851s;
6. Raffaele Giammaria + 6.621s;
7. Lorenzo Bontempelli + 9.769s;
8. Gianluca Giraudi + 10.169s;
9. Tobias Tauber + 12.779s;
10. Davide Uboldi + 13.681s.
Fastest lap by Tavano in 2min25.662s (average speed: 144.989 kph).

Classification of the Abarth 500 Trophy:
1. Manuel Villa 37 points;
2. Salvatore Tavano 33;
3. Andrea Rizzoli 32;
4. Nicola Baldan 31;
5. Raffaele Giammaria 24.

Qualifying for the Abarth 500 Trophy at Monza

Qualifying for the Abarth 500 Trophy at Monza


New Abarth 500 on sale now

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Following the huge success of Abarth’s re-launch last year, the Fiat Group’s performance division has now created the ultimate sporting expression of the 500.

By thoroughly re-engineering the highly acclaimed and universally popular city car from the ground up, Abarth has produced a machine purpose-built for the modern driving enthusiast. Not only does it look the part, thanks to bodywork that’s longer and lower than a regular 500, it’s also entertaining to own and drive while maintaining class-leading economy, low emissions and low running costs.

New Abarth 500 on sale now

New Abarth 500 on sale now

Already a winner of BBC Top Gear magazine’s prestigious Hot Hatch of the Year award, the Abarth 500 has been designed as the credible option for drivers seeking to express themselves through their choice of car.

As a faithful modern incarnation of the tuning firm’s ‘small but wicked’ mantra of the 1950s, this latest 500 also follows the traditional Abarth ethos of using racing experience to make rewarding, high performance road cars at an affordable price. Sales to customers then fuel the racing activities which lead to further road-car developments in what amounts to a ‘virtuous circle’. The most tangible result of this phenomenon is the high-performing 190bhp Assetto Corse version which competes in the one-make Abarth 500 Trofeo Europa.

As befits a car with its roots firmly ensconced in motorsport, all versions of the new small Abarth feature a zesty 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, which has been designed to be responsive throughout its entire rev range as well as being economical and gentle on the environment.

Squeezing a turbocharger into the tight confines of the 500’s engine bay was no mean feat, and led Abarth engineers to completely redesign the front end of the vehicle. As a testament to their skill, Abarth technicians created a deeper spoiler that feeds the engine with sufficient air while maintaining the frontal appearance of the 500.

This isn’t the only alteration to its looks compared with the regular 500 which includes adding sporty side skirts, a much larger roof spoiler, and a deep aerodynamic diffuser at the rear. These addenda are the result of hours spent in the wind tunnel and help improve the car’s stability at speed. With vents to draw hot air away from the brakes, twin tail pipes mounted at either edge of the diffuser and small scorpion logos printed just above them, the Abarth 500 is designed to leave a lasting impression on people looking at it from any angle.

New Abarth 500 on sale now

New Abarth 500 on sale now

But this is much more than simply a bodywork makeover. The Abarth 500’s performance is similarly and dramatically uprated, with a 128mph top speed and a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds. To ensure it’s as much fun to drive as it looks, the suspension has been comprehensively re-designed and the car is equipped with Torque Transfer Control to improve its poise through corners even more.

This helps make the newcomer a reassuringly safe car. Based around a Euro NCAP five-star winner, it comes with seven airbags and a host of electronic safety systems to minimise the effects of the unexpected.

The Abarth 500 is available in both standard trim and in esseesse (SS) form. The regular model is well equipped, with air-conditioning, electric front windows, seven airbags, electrically adjustable body coloured door mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels, an Interscope sound system with radio, CD and MP3 file player, and Fiat’s innovative and unique Blue&Me hands-free communication system.

Optional equipment includes 17-inch wheels, Abarth leather interior, an electrochromatic anti-dazzle mirror, automatic climate control, and chequered roof stickers. There’s also Blue&Me MAP which employs motor racing technology to help drivers improve their skills at the wheel through telemetry, in addition to offering regular satellite navigation.

The esseesse version allows drivers to further upgrade their car’s performance courtesy of a retro-fit kit. This boosts engine power to 160bhp using a re-mapped ECU (Electronic Control Unit) and new air filter, as well as adding uprated brakes and springs along with unique 17-inch wheels.

In both regular and esseesse guise, the Abarth 500 interior has an uncompromisingly sporty feel. The one-piece leather-covered sports seats hug the driver and front passenger, and the thick-rimmed flat-bottomed steering wheel looks and feels as though it’s been lifted from a sports car costing twice the price. There’s a dash-mounted turbo boost gauge and gear shift indicator to help drivers get the most out of the Abarth 500’s performance when the Sport button is pressed, and aid economy when it isn’t.

It typifies a machine designed to empower owners to express their passion for driving, without sacrificing any environmental responsibilities.

ENGINEERED BY CRAFTSMEN – AIMED AT ENTHUSIASTS

The Abarth 500 has been designed to put a premium on driving satisfaction. Entirely new springs and dampers are fitted to the front MacPherson strut and rear torsion beam suspension, while the car is also equipped with Torque Transfer Control. This advanced electronic system replicates the effects of a limited slip differential on the driven front wheels to ensure maximum entertainment and safety during cornering.

In addition to having its road manners honed for predictable, agile and responsive handling, the Abarth 500 has had its safety systems engineered to meet the highest standards. A robust braking system features ABS anti-lock braking with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance) to ensure maximum stopping power when required. There’s also an ESP (Electronic Stability Program) to ensure control is maintained at all times, while Hill Holder makes for stress-free starts on a slope.

As well as the all-important mechanical alterations, drivers and passengers benefit from the high quality sporting environment. Figure-hugging one-piece sports seats are designed to hold driver and front passenger firmly in place, and feature shoulder slots to accommodate racing harnesses. The black leather-clad steering wheel has a thick rim that gives it a chunky feel, with moulded grips for thumbs and a racing car-style flat bottom. And there’s a new gear lever, again finished in black leather, and designed to nestle sportily in the palm. The look is finished off with privacy glass at the rear and black headlining that’s unique to this model.

New Abarth 500 interior

New Abarth 500 interior

UNCOMPROMISINGLY SPORTY – WITH A CONSCIENCE

The heart of the Abarth 500 is its 1.4-litre 16-valve turbo engine. This engine develops a peppy 135bhp at 5500rpm, with peak torque of 206Nm (152lb ft) in Sport mode at 3000rpm. In Normal mode the engine’s 180Nm (132lb ft) at 2500rpm still gives it a pleasing urgency.

The results are a top speed of 128mph while the 0-62mph dash is covered in 7.9 seconds. This is achieved thanks to the dash-mounted Sport button which alters the engine’s power and torque characteristics for sportier responses, while increasing load through the electric power steering for a firmer steering feel and added poise in corners.

The feeling of sportiness is reinforced by the sharp-shifting five-speed gearbox and suspension designed to ensure the driver always feels in close contact with the road.

Yet none of this is achieved at the expense of the environment. The Abarth 500 conforms to strict Euro 5 exhaust emissions legislation, well in advance of it being enforced. And its emissions and fuel consumption – 155g/km of CO2 and 43.4mpg in the official combined cycle – make it a top class performer.

Extracting maximum performance or economy is helped by the gearshift indicator housed within the dash-mounted turbo boost gauge. Push the Sport button, and just like in a racing car, the indicator flashes to tell the driver to change up when engine RPM reaches the 6000rpm red line. With the Sport button disengaged, it reverts to fuel-saving mode, advising the driver to change gear at the point in the rev range where maximum economy can be achieved.

RACE TRACK TECHNOLOGY FOR THE REAL WORLD

Blue&Me MAP is the ultimate all-round driving aid. This portable navigation device is in keeping with Abarth’s sporting heritage and tradition.

Unique in a car of the Abarth 500’s compact dimensions, Blue&Me MAP allows drivers with motorsport aspirations to monitor and analyse their skills behind the wheel. Employing know-how acquired from electronics expert Magneti Marelli’s exploits in motor racing, a real-time telemetry screen displays the engine’s RPM, gear selected, and vehicle speed. Should the driver take his car on a lap of a motor racing circuit, such as Brands Hatch or the Nürburgring for example, and if he or she is using one of the motor racing circuits pre-loaded on an SD card, satellite tracking will show the exact position of the car on the race circuit, and its lap time. On a race track that isn’t on the database, a slow lap with the ‘circuit acquisition’ feature in operation will record all relevant details.

Afterwards, all the information from a track session can be accessed and analysed to enable drivers to improve their performance. Sessions can also be downloaded for comparison with friends, colleagues and other Abarth 500 owners.

But Blue&Me MAP is much more than simply a tool for sporting drivers. Using Bluetooth connectivity, it enables drivers to interact with the in-car audio system and control the satellite navigation safely and without taking their hands off the steering wheel. Navigation instructions appear in the main instrument cluster for enhanced safety. And because this navigation device is portable, drivers can take it with them to use as a map on the move.

ESSEESSE – SUPREMELY SPORTING

Owners who want to take their Abarth 500 even closer to the tuning firm’s ‘racer for the road’ ideal, can plump for the esseesse specification. The word esseesse means ‘SS’ in Italian and lives up to its name by giving the car a supremely sporting twist.

Abarth 500 esseesse

Abarth 500 esseesse

The £2500 conversion has to be carried out within 12 months or 20,000km of the car’s first registration and can only be undertaken by Abarth’s skilled network of technicians. Their first job is to upgrade the engine’s Electronic Control Unit so that the 1.4-litre turbo pumps out 160bhp at 5750rpm – more than double the power output of the regular Fiat model and very much in keeping with historic Abarth practice. To help with this power upgrade, a new air filter made by Italian specialist BMC is fitted.

To match the additional power, drilled and ventilated 284mm x 22mm brake discs are fitted at the front, together with new pads, while 240mm x 11mm drilled discs replace the already powerful standard items at the rear. Uprated Abarth springs are fitted front and rear too, and so that the esseesse looks even racier, the regular 16-inch wheels are replaced with 17-inch white or titanium colour alloy rims and 205/40 R17 tyres.

A tyre pressure monitoring system and unique key cover are the final touches in this transformation to the ultimate road-going Abarth 500.

Even though this upgrade relies heavily on modern technology, the esseesse kit stays loyal to the legend of Abarth by being delivered to customers in a high quality wooden crate. Once its contents have been emptied, the crate then becomes the property of the customer as a charming memento.

COMPETITION IN THE BLOOD

Abarth has built its rich heritage on making automotive sporting excellence available to everyone. Based on the principles of employing cutting edge materials, innovative design and an unyielding attention to detail, Austrian Karl (renamed Carlo when he changed his nationality to Italian) Abarth founded his business 60 years ago.

By tuning and thus extracting the maximum performance from a series of Fiats, Abarth notched up a string of endurance and speed records during the mid-1950s. But it was his tuning of the original 500, just over half-a-century ago, which acted as a catalyst, taking the company to 10,000 track victories, 10 world records and cementing the Abarth name in the public consciousness.

Born 101 years ago, Carlo Abarth presided over the running of his company until his death in 1979. Despite his demise, the business continued, winning its third World Rally Championship in 1980. Now a wholly owned subsidiary of Fiat Group, Abarth has inherited all the competition activities of the Fiat Racing Team.

BACK ON TRACK

Competition has always been one of the building blocks for Abarth’s success. And it’s no less important now than when Carlo Abarth established his company in 1949. While the Abarth Grande Punto S2000 has recorded remarkable championship- winning success on Europe’s rally stages, 2009 marks the firm’s return to Europe’s race circuits.

The Abarth 500 Trofeo Europa will involve a field of 190bhp Abarth 500 Assetto Corse models running as support to the all-action World Touring Car Championship. They will compete around some of the world’s most famous circuits, including Brands Hatch in Kent and Italy’s Monza.

Abarth’s sporting activities aren’t just limited to the professionals. The newly formed Abarth Driving School offers young drivers the chance to learn how to get the most out of high performance cars in complete safety.

Developed in conjunction with four-time Monte Carlo Rally winner, the legendary Sandro Munari, the course uses a combination of theory and practical teaching to raise road safety awareness among everyday drivers.

Abarth 500 Pricing

Basic: £11,278.36
VAT: £1,691.75
OTR Charges: £629.89
Total OTR: £13,600.00

Options

Code Option Price
140 Climate control £260
195 50/50 Split folding rear seat £150
732 Leather Sports Interior £800
400 Electric “Sky Dome” sunroof £550
59E Fixed glass sunroof £325
410 Auto-dimming rear view mirror £100
55Y Blue&Me Nav w/telemetry £240
55E Five-hole 17″ alloy wheels with 205/40R17 tyres £175
4AY Ten-spoke 17″ alloy wheels with 205/40R17 tyres £175
802 “Funk White” Pearl Paint finish £700
5CE “Crossover Black” Metallic Paint finish £375
5CJ “Pasadoble Red” Special Paint finish £250
5JQ “Campovolo Grey” Special Paint finish £250
4RR Chrome finish door mirrors £70
5HP Red checked roof £135
5HQ White checked roof £135
5HR Black checked roof £135
5HS Red Scorpion bonnet decal £75
5HT White Scorpion bonnet decal £75
5HU Black Scorpion bonnet decal £75
5HI Red Abarth Stripe & Mirrors £160
5HM White Abarth Stripe & Mirrors £160
5HN Black Abarth Stripe & Mirrors £160
5JK Alloy gear knob £50