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The Abarth 500 is the sporty cousin of the wildly popular Fiat 500. Fiat’s sporting offshoot, Abarth, has taken the standard 500 and given it a fiery makeover with upgraded power units, firmer suspension and sharper handling.
Under the bonnet you’ll find a 1.4-litre turbo charged petrol engine providing at least 135bhp, with excellent mid-range pulling power. Stir the five-speed manual gearbox and send the revs soaring to enjoy the sublime exhaust note.
When you’re not tearing up the road, the Abarth 500 remains a comfortable and practical small car, perfect for threading through tight gaps in busy city traffic. It’s massively fun to drive, yet surprisingly fuel-efficient in everyday driving, so running costs are manageable.
Standard equipment is generous, and includes a CD/radio with USB, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, sports seats and electric windows. Popular options included leather upholstery, split/folding rear seats and a portable satellite navigation system known as Blue&Me, so keep a look out for examples that come with these desirable extras.
If you crave extreme performance, look out for Esseesse editions (‘SS’, to you and me). These have even more powerful engines, stiffer suspension and enhanced brakes. Both versions are offered as standard hatchback or convertible ‘500C’ models.
The Abarth 500 was launched in 2009, and was the subject of a minor facelift in 2015. At the same time the model name was updated to 595, so you can find more recent models under this designation.
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