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Fiat’s feisty Abarth 500C Esseesse


WHEN I got the call that there was a sexy, Italian performance car with a deep heritage in racing waiting for me at the office, I became very excited. My excitement grew when I heard that it had a fabric roof.

I couldn't wait to get to the office that day, unfortunately upon arrival I discovered that it wasn't quite what I had in mind. What awaited me was the Fiat 500C Abarth Esseesse (pronounced SS). 

My attention was drawn to how small this car was; it's the size of a shoe box. It had cute white rims and a big Abarth sticker on the side. Talk about a let-down.... Well, that was until I glanced at the quad-tail pipes protruding from its short little rear end. 

This is no glam automobile, oh no, this is a true little pocket-rocket in every sense of the word, and here's why:

The Fiat 500C Abarth Cabrio harks back to Fiat’s open-air track cars of the 1960s, while delivering the most visceral experience of any modern Cinquecento to date.

The Fiat 500C Abarth delivers the wicked attitude and track-proven capabilities of the hatchback model, now with the rush of open-air Italian performance, and with the push of a certain 'top down' button this turbocharged Cabrio can unleash that added sense of freedom, while offering one of the most respected soundtracks of all-time, the rasp from its signature Abarth-tuned exhausts is brilliant. It has somewhat of a snap/crackle/pop element to it. 

It features the track-proven 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo engine, now with a 19 percent power increase in Esseesse guise and develops a punchy 118kW and 230Nm of torque. Expect 100km/h to be reached in the low seven-second range. To keep this power under control, The Fiat 500C Abarth features a high-performance brake system with semi-metallic brake linings at all four corners, and larger 11.1-inch ventilated rotors for greater stopping power. 

The aggressive styling of the Fiat 500C Abarth embodies the Abarth brand tradition in full; purposeful and intentional details all designed to improve the car's performance, while enhancing the clean and simple design language of the Cinquecento. I loved its mean little attitude and its aggressive character. It reminds me of a Jack Russell, an honest, no-fuss dog that will take on a lion just because it believes it can. 

Are there any issues? Well, yes there are some; it's very small so it's not practical. It's not very comfortable but it's a sporty car riding on very low profile rubber, so what do you expect? It also costs quite a bit of money, R371 900 to be exact. However, the sheer driving pleasure is a reward that not many cars these days can deliver upon and the smile this little car put on my face, makes it seem like a bargain. 

Article written by Justin Jacobs
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