As you can see from the screen grab above, some people get to have all the fun. Jay Leno, who owns more cars than you will ever drive in your lifetime, was graced with the presence of a Fiat 500 Abarth at his garage.

Now, this was not the first time that Fiat has stopped off with the potent Italian runabout. Fiat dropped in on Leno with an Abarth back in December of last year, but this time he was able to take it out on the road and put the performance-minded 500 through its paces. And that he did.

Leno owns the very second 500 to be sold in America, and raised the question: Is the Abarth good enough for an upgrade? We certainly think so, but Jay took to the Los Angeles streets to find out. Along the way, he mused about how the Abarth would stack up against the Ferrari Dino and the future of the performance automobile. To find out what Jay thought of the Fiat 500 Abarth check out the video below.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 70 Comments
      Toyota ft-86
      • 2 Years Ago
      He even has a Mercedes C-Class as his camera car, nice.
      Mitchell J. Mattice
      • 2 Years Ago
      You know, im a Ford guy, but I have to admit, my head turns when I see an Abarth driving around (I think I like the white/red combo better). They are pretty comfy inside, and the Abarth has some pretty decent figures from what I can see. From front or rear views, though, kinda ugly. From an angle, proportions seem good to me. Just my 2 cents though. Yes, RWD is definately better for performance, but FWD has improved over the years, but torque steer, has never been something I liked. Im interested to see how the Ford Focus ST mitigates the torque steer with a computer controlled system when I test drive it.
      Joe Carter
      • 2 Years Ago
      Jay Leno being a typical d bag. Always interrupting the guy in the middle of his response to Jay's question. He does this with every single person that appears on his show. Sure it shows the cars off nicely, but he's still a huge tool.
        Joe Carter
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Joe Carter
        Down vote me all you want, it's the truth. It's a shame so many people are oblivious.
      Ben Dover
      • 2 Years Ago
      I know looks are subjective, but this just seems like such an ugly looking car, inside and out. Cosmetics aside, I have also never seen a new car with an interior with this low of quality. Even the aging Toyota Yaris seems like quality by comparison, and that is just, well, SAD. They have been trying to give these away here for 16 grand, and it even showed up on slickdeals because its supposedly cheap for them, but with the piss poor fuel economy and myriad of great new 2012/13/14 vehicles in the works, I could barely justify that at half that price. Much more promising is the soon to release all wheel drive Dodge Dart SRT4.
        Mr.Electric
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ben Dover
        The Fiat 500 is a cool car. The fit and finish is good in my opinion. Obviously you don't agree. You should probably just stick with your aging Yaris
          Nowuries
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mr.Electric
          I agree with Mr. Electric, and I assume Ben Dover hasn't even sat in an Abarth, let alone a base model 500. The fit and finish is excellent; it just isn't obnoxiously laden with buttons and technology. That isn't what this car is about. The seats are extremely comfortable, the car, other than the front clip, looks aggressive, and the exhaust note is the best sound under $25K IMO. The Dart is a great car too, but it is MUCH heavier, so until they come out with an SRT version, it isn't even in the same discussion as the Abarth.
          gtv4rudy
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mr.Electric
          It's understood that Mr. Denver doesn't understand the historical significance of the 500 Abarth and then to compare it to a Yaris? lol.
          Redline
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mr.Electric
          I'm I the only one finding it funny that Ben Dover says the 500 Abarth has a crappy interior and how it bothers him and then says he has a 'vette?
          Ben Dover
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mr.Electric
          The Yaris is a POS appliance car, it was used as an example of the sad state of the Abarth interior only.
          Ben Dover
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mr.Electric
          The Yaris is a crappy cheap appliance car, and was only used as an example of how bad the Fiat is. I'll stick with my Vette though, thanks. ;)
          threefortyduster
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mr.Electric
          Haha, Ben Dover thinks the Corvette has a nice interior.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ben Dover
        [blocked]
          Ben Dover
          • 2 Years Ago
          Oooh, you're so close! http://farm1.staticflickr.com/108/312914556_6ca6a567bd_o.jpg http://farm1.staticflickr.com/117/312913852_5e735857d5_o.jpg http://farm1.staticflickr.com/116/312914550_90519a6ded_o.jpg Anyways, I take it you are PMSing as you own of of those Abarfs?
        Shiftright
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ben Dover
        You're right, looks are subjective, and you're in the minority as the 500 has received several design awards, from people that know about such things. As far as the interior quality goes, every mag that tested it gave it pretty good marks. The Abarth just hit the streets so the ones they were 'giving away' were the base models that start at $15,500.
          Ben Dover
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Shiftright
          Every huh? Autoblog's own reviewer stated about the 500: "The plastics on the door and center console feel cheap, and little details like the chrome rings around the window switches and the general feel of the buttons aren't great." Smoking Tire states "...the 500's interior is most certainly cheap". US News states: "While the 2012 Fiat 500’s interior is criticized for cheap materials, hard-to-use voice controls, cramped seating and skimpy cargo space". Motortrend states: "... hard interior plastics are inferior to what we have come to expect in European models". Car and Drier states: "Hard, hollow black plastic makes up the top of the dash, the door panels, and the center console. And we noticed not all of the segments of the digital clock were uniformly illuminated. That and the fact that the HVAC controls felt as if they might fall off in our hands" The Truth about Cars states: "The interior of the 500 is made of unapologetically cheap materials"
      Cool people
      • 2 Years Ago
      Terrible M P G. Mustang V 6 is a much better option.
      breakfastburrito
      • 2 Years Ago
      "try having the same amount of fun in a vette ~ by 2nd gear you're already in jail" hear hear!!! the BEST street cars feel much faster than they actually are. triumph spitfire, miata, etc. Corvettes and Ferraris are TRACK CARS, meant to go 180+, and only douchebags buy them for street use.
        Hazdaz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @breakfastburrito
        That's one of the things that I like best about Jay - he realizes that modern supercars, and even high powered sportscars are simply TOO powerful. You'll wrap yourself around a tree or get thrown in jail before you can use even 1/2 of the total power of some of these cars. Amazing power and technology? Absolutely. But totally impractical in the real world on real streets. These lesser powered sporty cars are really where the action is at. Like Jay always says... its more fun to drive a slow car fast, than have to drive a fast car slow.
        Ben Dover
        • 2 Years Ago
        @breakfastburrito
        Uhm, Ferraris are not track cars. Pure track cars don't need luxurious leather interiors, beautiful paint jobs, and other things that make a Ferrari a Ferrari. And anyone that drives an exotic car is a douchebag? Sounds like someone is suffering from "I'm jealous of people that have more money than me" syndrome. No one in their right mind would pass down a beautiful 599 chick magnet for a frumpy little frodo-baggins fiat, yourself included, no matter what kind of mental gymnastics you want to do to feel better about your low-income job.
          Ducman69
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ben Dover
          RJC, might want to learn to read. Post clearly states that the Ferrari is so much more than a track car, not that it isn't very capable of kicking ass at the track. Its an exotic car. A track car is something that generally looks like crap, has no air conditioner, body panels are thin and slapped on just for aero considerations with no fancy paint job, and the interior is usually stripped bare with nothing more than some foam pads ziptied to the roll cage. See, if you studied more in school you might not only have improved reading comprehension but the ability to own a Ferrari yourself some day.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ben Dover
          [blocked]
          RJC
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ben Dover
          Not a track car? Don't tell that to the Ferrari Club owners out there who wring the necks off of their Ferraris on track days.
          AcidTonic
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ben Dover
          Amen!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @breakfastburrito
        [blocked]
          Begadkepat
          • 2 Years Ago
          50 yards in 1 nanosecond, huh? That's over 150 times the speed of light.
      Bob
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you are a true auto enthusiast, and not some fat autoblog armchair driver always thinking hp substitutes for fun, then go watch 11:15 to the end again and again. I always find that people who dis manuals in favor of paddleshifts or dual clutch garbage, is because they don't know how to drive manuals.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bob
        [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        MyerShift
        • 2 Years Ago
        Inappropriate statement. Cars do not compete in the same segments. I like the Dart and Abarth 500, but they are worlds apart, and price doesn't make one **** of a difference.
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 2 Years Ago
        Thats nice, but this is NOT IN THE SAME SEGMENT AS A DART.
        matin G
        • 2 Years Ago
        I have driven the Dart too and dont know what the heck you are talking about. The Dart weighs in at 3300 lbs! A 2013 Nissan Altima plus the driver weighs less. Come one. Secondly it has vague steering, no backseat room, poor rear visibility and soft breaks.
      opelgt70
      • 2 Years Ago
      Jay's the man. For all of us, those who don't have enough money to buy supercars and thus value cheaper, simpler fun, and those with more money than sense who can buy a Ferrari on a whim, Jay's the man. Yes, he's got the hypercars and knows how to enjoy them. But he also knows a jaunt down a twisty road in a Miata can be as fun as anything.
        Ben Dover
        • 2 Years Ago
        @opelgt70
        Or as an entertainer whose livelihood depends on his popularity, he's just catering to a wider audience by giving some airtime to a little economy car that he otherwise wouldn't touch considering the fleet of awesome and rare automobiles he already has.
        Autothoughts
        • 2 Years Ago
        @opelgt70
        I agree with you and believe that Jay is genuine in his passion for cars. The fact the manufacturers like to leverage him for some publicity works in both Jay's favor and the manufacturers. Win/win, and we get to go along for the ride. I don't find him all that funny, but I like his collection and that he actually drives the cars he owns, as well as shares them with us.
          Radwon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Autothoughts
          Well said Autothoughts. I've never really liked Jay, at all. He seems to be one of those guys that has gotten very far with very little talent. But I love his collection.
      ravenosa
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Burning rubber": One of the many things that is a big fail on a FWD car. Should have kept the windows rolled up, Jay...
      joe shmoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      "rear spoiler for greater downforce......." on a FWD car........
        Ben Dover
        • 2 Years Ago
        @joe shmoe
        No offense, but this is such a retarded comment that I see all the time. Downforce from wings come at speed, and guess what, F1 cars have aerokits on the FRONT of their rear wheel drive cars because downforce is generally for cornering traction and believe it or not even FWD work better when the rear of the car isn't sliding around. That said, that spoiler isn't providing any downforce.
        threefortyduster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @joe shmoe
        Sometimes, as stupid as it sounds, they are needed. The second year of Audi TT production required the previously optional spoiler because of the car's bubbly shape. When people would get it up around 110-120 on the autobahn, it had a tendency to swap ends, where the rear would lift up and spin it out. Sometimes the spoiler isn't to put the weight on the rear tires for grip, but just to keep the thing on the ground :).
        threefortyduster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @joe shmoe
        Keep in mind..that's not to say it's required on this car, but that spoiler probably has more to do with bumping that highway MPG number up than it does downforce. No real angle on it, just looks like it's there to stabilize the air coming off the top of the car.
        Shiftright
        • 2 Years Ago
        @joe shmoe
        Lear a little about aerodynamics before you post comments about it
        Dustin Pedley
        • 2 Years Ago
        @joe shmoe
        It helps to balance the car. It's not always just for tire traction......
      finzenchrome
      • 2 Years Ago
      You gotta love Jay, but the size of his chin makes the car look even smaller.
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