The 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth earned a below-average Total Car Score largely due to the reviews given its parent 500 model. While critics may have mixed feelings about the standard 500, the souped-up Abarth version is winning just about everyone over.
It’s no secret that American car buyers crave power, and that’s a big part of the Abarth’s appeal. Turbocharging and other tweaks have boosted the output of the 500’s 1.4-liter MultiAir engine from 101 to 160 horsepower -- plenty to move the 2,500-pound Fiat in a spirited manner. Track-bred suspension tuning, aggressive styling cues and a performance-oriented interior layout add to the Abarth’s fun-to-drive quotient. And unlike other cars in this category, the Abarth still returns excellent fuel economy -- 34 mpg on the highway -- so this is one hot Italian that has a responsible side, too.
The 500 Abarth has gotten a few negative comments, as some reviewers hoped for more than five forward gears in the manual transmission and more aggressive seat bolsters to match the car’s handling potential. Plus, the 500 is a small car no matter what model you’re shopping for, so the big and tall need to test its accommodations for fit.
The 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth is new for the model year, so it should be a while before it undergoes any substantive changes.
The 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth is a high-performance version of the two-door, four-seat Fiat 500 coupe.
Powering the Abarth is a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine producing 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission sends motive power to the front wheels.
The Abarth’s standard equipment includes unique fascia, body pieces and badging, 16-inch cast aluminum wheels, cloth upholstery, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with Bluetooth, power windows and air conditioning.
Major options available include 17-inch forged aluminum wheels, a power sunroof, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, satellite radio and a navigation system.
Fuel economy ratings for the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth are 28 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined.
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