Fiat 500L

Fiat PandaAs far as product portfolios go, Abarth is about as small as they come. The performance arm of Fiat, Abarth bases its entire line on two models: the 500 and the Punto. And even within that, only the 500 is offered Stateside. But that could change.

Speaking with MSN Cars UK, Abarth boss Marco Magnanini indicates that the Scorpion marque is preparing to expand beyond its current two-car lineup. That could include the Panda (at right), a model we don't get here, and the 500L shown above, which we do. Unlike the 500C (which is essentially a 500 hatchback with a cloth roof panel), the 500L is an entirely different model on a different platform.

If Abarth applies its go-fast treatment to the 500L, Fiat could have a challenger to the Mini Countryman Cooper S and JCW on its hands. The last time Fiat offered an enthusiast-focused Panda, meanwhile, was with the Panda 100HP, widely rated as a blast to drive far beyond its humble output.

Two things Magnanini is ruling out, however, are the prospects of Abarth producing either its own dedicated model or expanding beyond the Fiat lineup to Alfa Romeo. Both were previously considered to be possibilities for the performance brand, and their elimination somewhat limits Abarth's current potential for expansion essentially to the 500L, Panda and the slow-selling Fiat Bravo.
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