Faithful to the "small but wicked" saying coined for Karl Abarth's cars in the 1960s, the new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth arrives to America with the racing traditions that have made it a success on European roadways and racetracks ? world-class performance and precision, purposeful and aggressive styling, high power-to-weight ratio and limited-production volume.
Bringing the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth to the U.S. enables FIAT to reach out to driving enthusiasts who want Italian performance at an attainable price. With its lightweight, track-tuned handling and purpose-built design, the Fiat 500 Abarth brings to life the legendary racing heritage of the brand and becomes the Italian high-performance car for everyday driving.
With its all-new 1.4-liter MultiAir® Turbo engine, Abarth-tuned suspension and brake systems, race-inspired design, and technology features not traditionally included on a small car, the new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth unleashes the brand's legendary performance heritage to American streets.
In the late 1950s Karl Abarth believed that race cars with brilliant performance could be derived from small, lightweight, everyday driving cars.
His tradition of track-ready small cars continues today by utilizing the 2012 Fiat 500 Sport as a base point for the new high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth.
The aggressive styling of the new FIAT 500 Abarth embodies the Abarth brand tradition in full ? purposeful and intentional details all designed to improve the car's performance, while enhancing the clean and simple design language of the Cinquecento.
To improve aerodynamics ? while creating the necessary engine compartment space for the all-new 1.4-liter MultiAir® Turbo engine ? the front fascia is more pronounced and pushed 2.7 inches (69 mm) ahead of its signature "whiskers and logo" face, recalling the Abarth stylistic treatments from vintage 850 TC and 1000 TC models.
The signature "Abarth" shield floats on a finned surface that serves as an additional air intake. For a more aggressive look, a blacked-out fascia accent integrates projector-beam fog lamps and helps direct air for engine cooling.
More aggressive Abarth-designed side skirts provide a vertical and athletic profile, while highlighting the iconic curves of the FIAT 500 Abarth.
From the rear, a large liftgate-mounted spoiler extends the roofline of the Fiat 500 Abarth and improves the vehicle's aerodynamic behavior by creating additional down force. Below, the two-piece Abarth-styled rear fascia accentuates the road-holding stance of this high-performance 500 and optimizes airflow output with its black-accented rear diffuser. In addition, symmetric, twin exhaust cutouts deliver a powerful look, while large concentric "double tip" exhausts provide a tuned sound and Abarth-exclusive look.
Bold exterior elements
Paying homage to the brand's racing heritage and vintage Cinquecento-based 595 and 695 Abarth models, iconic Abarth shields are once again positioned on both driver and passenger rear-quarter panels.
Optional bodyside exterior decals pay homage to the historic models and provide the new FIAT 500 Abarth with a track-ready look.
The interior design theme of the FIAT 500 Abarth is an artistic blend of clean lines and functional performance appointments. An Abarth-designed steering wheel features a thick rim, perforated leather and flat bottom to provide the look, feel and increased roominess desired during at-the-limit driving. For easier operation, and to keep the driver's eyes on the road ahead, the FIAT 500 Abarth's steering wheel includes cruise, audio and BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication technology controls.
Behind the steering wheel, the FIAT 500 Abarth features a large concentric instrument cluster with 160-mph speedometer, tachometer and trip computer. The instrument-panel cluster brow is wrapped in Nero leather with Rosso accent stitching.
Unique to the FIAT 500 Abarth is the addition of an analog turbo-boost gauge with integrated LED shift light in the center that illuminates to optimize gear changes.
Abarth-designed aluminum pedal covers feature Nero rubber trim for a decidedly racing look, while the Nero leather shift knob with Rosso accent stitching provides a precise feel of the shifter.
Unique Abarth-styled front performance seats feature a one-piece design with large side bolsters, racing-harness pass through, accent stitching around the perimeter and integrated side-thorax air bags.
Like the European-spec 500 Abarth derived from the standard Cinquecento, the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth builds off the North American adapted Fiat 500 Sport and adds the legendary performance and handling capabilities that have made Abarth models an international success both on and off the track.
Track ready, precision-tuned chassis
The FIAT 500 Abarth features an enhanced front- and rear-suspension design to deliver the precision handling, steering and refinement needed for high-performance driving.
New dual-valve Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) KONI® front-shock absorbers replace standard twin-tube units and deliver an innovative two-in-one solution. This patented technology provides the road-holding and handling characteristics needed for maximum grip and performance. In addition, the FSD system actively filters out high-frequency suspension inputs from uneven road surfaces and adjusts for improved comfort and smoothness.
The beefier rear-suspension design takes the Fiat 500 Sport model's twist-beam design further, with a reinforced rear axle with strengthened coil-spring supports. A new Abarth-specific rear-stabilizer bar increases cornering grip. For improved handling, minimal body roll and ride-height control (when fully loaded), the new Fiat 500 Abarth features 20 percent stiffer rear springs.
The new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth features a 15.1:1 (up from 16.3:1) steering-gear ratio for 10 percent quicker steering to enhance responsiveness, maneuverability and high-performance feel. Compared to the Fiat 500 Sport, the 500 Abarth features a uniquely tuned electronic power steering (EPS) calibration for increased steering response and feedback.
Track-proven brake system
The Fiat 500 Abarth presents a high-performance brake system with an Abarth-tuned electronic stability control (ESC) system which features a three-mode calibration to maximize the new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth's handling capabilities on and off the track. When ESC is selected from "On" to "Partial Off" or "Full Off" on the instrument panel, the 500 Abarth's innovative Torque Transfer Control (TTC) system maximizes throttle performance during on-throttle cornering.
Lightweight wheels with high-performance tires
Standard on the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth, 16 x 6.5-inch cast-aluminum wheels feature a race-inspired design and are fitted with 195/45 R16 Pirelli Cinturato P7 tires that deliver all-season traction and low-noise characteristics.
Putting the new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth to the test
In addition to the 4 million development miles (6.4 million kilometers) of the North American Fiat 500, plus the quality-proven engineering of the European 500 Abarth, the new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth added more than 2 million additional miles (3.2 million kilometers) during its reliability and durability evaluations.