• Oct 28, 2009

Fiat 500 Abarth EsseEsse – Click above for high-res image gallery

With every passing week comes another report of how Fiat and Chrysler will be sharing products. If it's not Chrysler-badged Lancias then it's Lancia-badged Chryslers or an Alfa-badged Jeep. As for the Fiat division itself, the emerging strategy appears to be to bring the 500 retro-mini over and set it up as something of a brand of its own, with sights set squarely on BMW's Mini and forgoing the rest of the Fiat line-up.

Earlier reports indicated that we'd be getting four versions of the 500 Stateside, including basic hatch, cabrio and upcoming wagon in addition to the Abarth performance model. But rather than start with the basics and work its way up, or launch the entire range simultaneously, the latest news suggests that Fiat is preparing to hit U.S. soil running by starting off with the 500 Abarth. According to WardsAuto, the Fiat 500 Abarth – complete with 133-horsepower turbocharged four, upgraded suspension and all the sporty touches that make an Abarth an Abarth – will arrive at Chrysler dealers in 2011 with an $18,000-$19,000 price tag. Fiat reportedly targets selling 20,000-25,000 units of the 500 Abarth in the first year.

By the time the 500 Abarth arrives, we'll likely be looking at an updated version with even more oomph. With the standard hatch, the open-top 500C and the upcoming Gardiniera wagon expected to follow, there's no telling if the initial model will be the only Abarth on offer, or whether Fiat will follow up with the even hotter EsseEsse version (pictured above), racing models like the Assetto Corse or R3T, an Abarth convertible or specials like the 695 Tributo Ferrari or an Opening Edition of our own.



[Source: WardsAuto.com]


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  • 41 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've been thinking about a Mini S, but I've always liked the Fiat 500. Of course, I'll probably just end up getting a Civic when I do get a new car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No fu*king way will this undercut a mini by that much. Not happening.

      Also, anyone else concerned with reliability of a turbo in a Fiat/Chrysler?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The stigma of unreliable Fiats is just that. These cars are great, and reliable, and Italian.
        ESPECIALLY the 500. I have a couple friends over in Europe that have them and they love them.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @JimBob - so, even though it undercuts the MINI by that much in the UK, you know for certain that it's not going to undercut the MINI here? Based on..... ?

        Note that in the UK the Abarth 500 (133hp) matches up similarly to the MINI Cooper (118hp), and the Abarth 500 SS (160hp) matches up similarly to the MINI Cooper S (170hp). There's no reason I've seen why that wouldn't be the case here in the US as well...
        • 5 Years Ago
        not worried about a fiat , and truthfully the SRT 4 seems pretty reliable.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Abarth is cheaper than the Mini in Europe, so yes way. As far as reliability, it's a non-issue. Fiat makes some of the most technologically advanced four cylinders on the planet, and turbo technology is not new in the least.

        I'll be one of the first to buy one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Uh, check your facts from where both the MINI and Abarth are currently sold:

        MINI Cooper S: £16,580.00
        Abarth 500: £13,600 (essesse kit: £2,500)

        http://mini.co.uk/html/model_range/mini_cooper_s/techSpec.html

        http://www.roadtestreports.co.uk/full-road-test-report/Fiat/500/Abarth_1.4_Turbo_Esseesse/
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't get me wrong, I'd love to own this car. It's just ... hard to get over that bright scarlet letter looming over Fiat. Having Chrysler's name associated with this isn't helping the situation either.
        • 5 Years Ago
        While I appreciate those UK figures, this article is about the 500 arriving stateside. Thanks though ;)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I find it amazing how many people are willing to pay $18-19,000 for a car this size. Half the car for twice the cash! If that isn't bad enough, they STOLE your tax dollars to finance this! Ha! Only in this modern world of Obama, Pelosi, record deficits, bailouts, unfunded government takeovers of health care...

      It becomes clearer and clearer everyday how Obama got elected.

      Only stupid people are breeding. Go ahead libs get mad at this post. Mad at me for telling the truth and not at your government for f@cking you.

      Now here comes Fiat to ram it home some more! Bend over you power bottom you!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Which "half" is missing, and what exactly do you do with that half in your life?

        I have a MINI Cooper, and I'm missing nothing; however, you're missing all the fun!

        Furthermore, I can haul more "fill-in-the-blanks" in my hatch with the seats folded down than you can dream of in your trunk. Oh, are you telling me you have a Sequoia or other big-ass SUV? My mistake. Do enjoy your 12mpg and loser resale value though!

        • 5 Years Ago
        Lay off the meth dude.

        You're the type of old school American consumer that thinks value is all about size, just like domestic automakers thought from the 60's to 90's, and we all know how that turned out This car is about quality of experience and content, backed up by a rich history and lineage. Its diminutive size is part of the appeal. It's a car for individualists, not for ignorant flag waving government conspiracy theorists who sleep next to their "more sheet metal for the dollar" pick ups and guns under their bed.

        This an auto related blog, so keep your politics to yourself.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "...$18-19,000...Half the car for twice the cash!"

        I'd love to see what you think is twice the car for $9-9,500.

        Is it the depreciation-o-rama Chevy Cobalt you have parked in front of your double-wide?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Haha, troll! I love the size=value equation. I guess the H1 Hummer is the best value out there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      500C Abarth, I am going to put my sleeping bag in front of a dealership this evening.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, it isn't meant to be a racing car, only a sporty little zipster; so 133 should be enough. But doubtless a version with much more power, and similar economy will come. There are Alfa Mitos and Fiat Punto Evos with more power from the same Multiair engine already . I reckon it should get 40 - 45mpg American since the same engine in the heavier Punto gives 50 English mpg in mixed driving.

      Doing this gets a proven model to market quickly.

      As for Fiat stealing American money; I don't get it. They are putting in more than they seem to be taking out, and both companies should benefit. Where's the problem?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good point, they did say that about the 6sp 500 (non-Abarth version). Yup, I'd also be happy with 4 close ratio gears and one REALLY TALL one. I'm just sick of buzzing down the highway at 3700rpm in 5th gear...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd always thought that a high fifth gear would be good for America; long journeys etc.. However, the sixth gear on the 500 1.4 (normal) demands so much transaxle space that the front wheel articulation is reduced and the turning circle is extended, which makes tight manoeuvring a pain.

        I'd think it would be better to have four fairly close ratios and a very high fifth, for cruising. Doubtless torque considerations and the available gearboxes have influenced the current provision. I doubt the six speed box can handle the high torque loads of the turbo engines. Don't forget though, Fiat is storming ahead with new engines and gearboxes and there will be big changes over the next two years.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Honestly I care more about a tall 6th gear (Abarth 500s only have 5) for highway cruising than the extra 10hp that the SS version might come with. Only having a 5sp would be one of the few things that would cause me to lean towards the MCS instead.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The irony (correct me if I'm wrong) is that the Abarth 500 doesn't even say "FIAT" on the badge, yet this will be the first "FIAT" sold here.

      I've only seen one in the flesh (in Zurich), so I could be wrong, but I did check out the naaaasty-looking car, even though I of course recognized it immediately.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Or even 170 bhp!
      Never try and check mails and configure a new camera at the same time...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Where do I go put down my deposit?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Where do I go TO put down my deposit.
        • 5 Years Ago
        chrysler/dodge/jeep dealer
        • 5 Years Ago
        SWEET! Sign me up for an Esseesse!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll probably buy one. I've always been curious about how these cars are to live with.
      • 5 Years Ago
      133hp still seem pretty paltry. Does it weigh the same as an Elise or something? Don’t get me wrong it will be great competition for the base Cooper and is attractive but if they want the Abarth name to mean something in America it needs to come with a few more ponies. At least JCW performance or better MS3 level performance.

      The EseEse picture is a hot looking little number, I’ll give it that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      HOLLANDD!!! The country of the weedsmokers, windmills, klompen (wooden shoes), hookers and so on...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Cute little hot hatch.
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