2012 Fiat 500 Abarth Preview

Jeff Youngs | Feb 27, 2012
  • More powerful turbocharged engine
  • Larger brakes, sport suspension tuning, bigger wheels, performance tires
  • Modified styling with body kit, unique color combinations

Exterior FeaturesThe 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth is a 3-door hatchback intended to provide a higher level of performance than a standard Fiat 500. Design modifications distinguish the Abarth visually while simultaneously improving system cooling and aerodynamic downforce, according to Fiat. The Abarth is available in four exterior colors with a choice between 16- or 17-inch aluminum wheels in three finishes. A large rear spoiler and red-painted brake calipers are standard, while contrast-color mirror caps and special side stripes are optional.

Interior Features

The 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth is equipped with a flat-bottom steering wheel featuring a thicker rim than is found in regular 500 models. Front performance seats include pass-throughs for the installation of 5-point racing harnesses, and the 500 Abarth includes a 160-mph speedometer, turbo boost gauge, and aluminum pedal covers. "Blue&Me" hands-free Bluetooth connectivity is standard, and when the rear seats are folded, the 500 Abarth can hold 26.8 cubic feet of cargo.

Optional Features

According to the automaker, the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth is well equipped considering its base price. Options include a power sunroof, leather seats, navigation system with USB port and portable music player compatibility, satellite radio, automatic climate control, and an anti-theft alarm system. The 500 Abarth can also be equipped with 17-inch wheels wrapped in P205/40R17 Pirelli P Zero Nero summer performance tires. test

Under the Hood

A turbocharged, 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that generates 160 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of torque is standard in the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth. This represents increases of 59 percent and 70 percent, respectively, compared to the standard 500. A 5-speed manual gearbox is the only option (no automatic is available) to transfer power to the front wheels, and the 500 Abarth includes a Torque Transfer Control system designed to limit wheel spin when the car is in Sport mode.
SafetyFiat installs seven air bags in the 500 Abarth, including a knee air bag for the driver. Additionally, 4-wheel-disc anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist are included, as well as a traction and stability control system.

In testing performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Fiat 500 received a "Top Safety Pick" rating for its performance in frontal-, side-, and rear-impact evaluations, combined with a "Good" roof crush strength test result.

In tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Fiat 500 received an overall test rating of 3 stars (out of a possible 5). Front passenger protection is rated 3 stars in a frontal impact and rear passenger protection is rated 2 stars in a side impact, according to the NHTSA.
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