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Abarth 500: Test Drive

Date: 18 February 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: City car
P11D price: £13,400?
Key rival: Renault Twingo

You'd be forgiven for thinking you're looking at a Fiat 500, but this car doesn't carry that Italian manufacturer's badge.

Instead, it carries the Abarth name, which is to Fiat what AMG is to Mercedes and M-division is to BMW - namely a sportier brand, except in Fiat's case even the badging changes.

Further differences include the addition of a turbo to the Fiat 500's 1.4-litre engine, which has the dual result of boosting power from 100PS to 135PS and lengthening the car because the bumper sticks out to accommodate it.

Meanwhile a new sporty body kit, stiffened and lowered suspension, sporty seats and a new traction control system mean the 500 is now also a great drive. It's not super-quick, but it has a useful nippy-ness, which coupled to precise steering and little body roll provides the driver with ample fun.

For those that want a bit more power, Abarth offers an 'Esseesse' kit for £2500 that uprates the suspension further, includes larger alloy wheels and better brakes and also increases power to 160PS. This drops the 0-62mph time from 7.9 seconds in the standard Abarth to 7.4 seconds.

The clever part for fleets, is that, because the kit is essentially an aftermarket option, it does not alter the standard Abarth's CO2 figure of 155g/km. The only downside, is that some fleets don't allow options and would rule this kit out.

Abarth 500 1.4T 3dr manual
P11D price£13,400
Model price range£13,400-£15,900
Fuel consumption43.4mpg
CO2 (tax) 155g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month£42/£84
Service interval18,000mls
Insurancegroup 13
Boot space185 litres
Engine size/power1368cc/135PS
Top speed/0-62mph128mph/7.9secs
On sale February 2009
VerdictStill a cute car with
good residuals, but
now a great drive


Still a cute car with good residuals, but now a great drive