The standard Fiat 500 is a fun, cheeky city car that is surprisingly good to drive on twisty roads. The Abarth versions are even faster and even more fun to drive quickly.
The Fiat Abarth’s interior is a neat and uniquely designed place to be with a good driving position and plenty of space for those in the front. The Abarth gets sports seats, which testers say are supportive and firm with a wide range of adjustment, so everyone should be able to get comfortable.
The powerful engine is allied to a stiffly sprung chassis giving go-kart-like steering response. On B-roads the Abarth comes into its own, darting from one corner to the next in a frantic, terrier-like fashion.
The bigger brakes and stiffer anti-roll bars help to keep everything under control, as does the TTC (Torque Transfer Control), which brakes a front wheel if it thinks that things are getting a bit out of hand.
The turbocharged 1.4-litre develops 135hp in standard Abarth form and is more than enough for spirited drivers.
The Italians haven’t fiddled too much with what remains a popular recipe. They’ve sensibly avoided mucking around with the wardrobe department too much (how do you facelift a style icon such as the 500?) but instead focused their attention on engines, trim levels and the interior. The 2015 500 is available in both hatchback and convertible formats.
For starters, there’s a newly uprated 104bhp TwinAir engine available for the first time, but most of the tweaks are more cosmetic. There’s a fancy new TFT digital display fitted to top-end 500s, new colours, upholstery and wheels plus a new Cult trim level.