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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  • 29 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Mr.K
      • 1 Year Ago
      Alfa does not need Abarth to tune its cars !! (sacrilege) Alfa Romeo's in-house tuners and race division is Autodelta (1961) (They make Alfa Romeo GTA performance editions). Auto journalist these days- no research. Fiats in-house tuner since the 1960's has been Abarth.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mr.K
        [blocked]
        ChaosphereIX
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mr.K
        you are right good sir - Autodelta needs to do the hot Alfas, nobody else - Novitec does good work for an aftermarket tuner, though Abarth for Fiat, Autodelta for Alfa.
        RJC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mr.K
        I believe Abarth DID tune an Alfa in the day. Are you willing to overlook that historical fact?
          Mr.K
          • 1 Year Ago
          @RJC
          That was in the 40's-50's when car makers did not have dedicated in-house tuners. And that was the only ever Abarth Alfa. My preference for Alfa in-house tuner is as follows 1. Autodelta SPA- Alfa's race and performance division 2. Ferrari - Yes: back in the day Ferrari was Alfa's race team(check prancing horse on Alfa race cars) 3. Abarth - Least of my preferences
      vi_per
      • 1 Year Ago
      Abarf.
      Durishin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Two words occur to me as appropriate: 1) Lipstick 2) Piglet
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Durishin
        [blocked]
      RJC
      • 1 Year Ago
      Carlo would roll in his grave at the idea. You don't apply the Abarth treatment to something like the 500L, it's a family and cargo vehicle. Let's stick to tradition, convertibles, coupes, the occasional sedan and purpose built sport racers.
      ferps
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why make all the same mistakes as Mini?
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ferps
        [blocked]
      ChaosphereIX
      • 1 Year Ago
      could be cute, but no not needed. and the 1.4 multiair is perfectly fine, it just needs a tune to wake it up they should bring back the Coupe instead, give it the Abarth treatment - was a fantastic car and I will have one soon God willing
      Bill Burke
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bad idea that may dilute the Abarth image. Stick with the hip sedans and coupes and forget the family friendly "people movers". Lets get some of that technology over to Chrysler instead and spend the developmental dollars, sorry, euros, on some vehicles that will get some bang for the performance buck..... sorry, Euro.
      RGT881
      • 1 Year Ago
      James May should be very pleased about the Panda.
      vi_per
      • 1 Year Ago
      One of the ugliest cars in the world.
      pickles
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's too bad FIAT didn't just give us the Panda. It's well designed, loved around the world- but we got that painfully proportioned 500L and we have to deal with it. If only they'd never seen a Countryman, they might have had their own better design ideas.
        Colin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @pickles
        The Panda is very small, built on the same floorpan as the 500, which in fact was based on the Panda, not the other way around, and It is practically the same size as the 500.. So anyone in the US thinking they'd prefer it would have to factor in a small interior with limited rear legroom and only room for four people, and then at a pinch. This is perfect in Europe where space is always at a premium and some places are literally inaccessible to larger cars, but in the wide open cities and landscape of America the Panda would be seem as a pointless joke. Don't forget, lots of Americans already compare the 500 with the Fiesta and the Mini and the Mazda2, all of which in Europe are generally considered to be a size larger and therefore not directly comparable. America is the home of huge cars, look at the trucks and SUVs, which seem to be growing even bigger again. I always read negative comments about how ridiculously tiny the 500 is, and that's reasonable, if you live in Texas, but in Rome or London or Paris, or any village or small town in between, the 500, and the Panda, are plenty big enough. So the 500L it is. I think it's great by the way: funky and fun.
        aatbloke1967
        • 1 Year Ago
        @pickles
        They're two very different cars - the Panda is standard A-segment hatch and utilises the platform of the 500. The 500L is significantly larger.
      Mike Pulsifer
      • 1 Year Ago
      An Abarth Panda is so ludicrous it actually makes me giggle with delight. :)
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