2012 Fiat 500 Abarth new car reviews

The Fiat 500 Abarth: a worthy MINI Cooper S competitor?
The Abarth combines our favorite things: more grip, more power.
The interior is all business, too.
And, of course, our dream: a pair of Abarths so we can race.

Better than: the regular Fiat 500
But not as good as: a pair of Abarths
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 93.35

Does the MINI Cooper S finally have some real competition? Publisher Tim Suddard just drove the new Fiat 500 Abarth: 160 turbocharged horsepower, stiffer suspension and factory Koni shocks. And the driving experience wasn't a brief encounter--he covered a few hundred miles out West while also lapping Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch.

We love the details. Up front, the Abarth sports a degree and a half of negative camber from the factory. Left-foot braking is easily accomplished. The factory seats are both supportive and comfortable.

Here's our favorite line from the review:

"While it gives up a little power to the MINI Cooper S--and don’t think for a minute we won’t be comparison testing these two cars shortly--the Abarth feels lighter and doesn’t have the understeer and wheelspin of the Cooper."

His verdict? This car rocks. It's fast. It's comfortable. It looks cool. Speaking of looks, enjoy the photos, and look for the full review in the May issue of Grassroots Motorsports. To request a free sample, click here

Join in the conversation about this car on our forum.

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Visit the Grassroots Motorsports online store for back issues.
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Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/6/12 8:36 a.m.

Yeah, sorry about the spam outbreak. Hopefully it has been neutralized.

Autolex
Autolex Dork
3/6/12 9:44 a.m.

where's this going to slot in stock class autox? how's the clearance for wider tires?

JFRCross
JFRCross New Reader
3/6/12 11:40 a.m.

I agree with pinchvalve, it would be great to see comparisons between cars that we actually cross-shop. Real world enthusiasts do not limit themselves to certain cars based on the auto industry's size classifications. We look at all the options in our budget range with the abilities and/or features we wish to have. Great to see a report of the Abarth.

BAMF
BAMF HalfDork
3/6/12 12:43 p.m.

I seriously hope they remix this with the convertible. Can't let MINI have all the topless fun. I could use another Italian convertible. I've only had 2 at this point.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey PowerDork
3/6/12 1:01 p.m.

I wouldn't cross-shop a GTI and an Abarth, ones a compact and the other is a sub-compact.

I want a video of the Abarth!

integraguy
integraguy UltraDork
3/11/12 4:57 a.m.

In Europe, the Abarth IS available as a 'vert, so let's hope that it comes here, too.

mndsm
mndsm MegaDork
3/14/12 4:14 p.m.

I hope to christ it's better as a driver than it is as a build quality.... I've seen better dashboards in K cars.

Downforce
Downforce None
3/24/12 12:33 p.m.

sat in the Abarth in the Atlanta auto show, disappointed considering the high price. cheap "carpet" and a rubbery shifter. I'd hold out for the upcoming Fiesta ST, or a Sonic RS.

DAVEG
DAVEG New Reader
5/30/12 4:27 p.m.

I like the effort and want more...cars with performance. The John Woods Mini would be a good car to see. The new Golf R is another car I would like to see tested

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

Does the MINI Cooper S finally have some real competition? Publisher Tim Suddard just drove the new Fiat 500 Abarth: 160 turbocharged horsepower, stiffer suspension and factory Koni shocks. And the driving experience wasn't a brief encounter--he covered a few hundred miles out West while also lapping Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch.

We love the details. Up front, the Abarth sports a degree and a half of negative camber from the factory. Left-foot braking is easily accomplished. The factory seats are both supportive and comfortable.

Here's our favorite line from the review:

"While it gives up a little power to the MINI Cooper S--and don’t think for a minute we won’t be comparison testing these two cars shortly--the Abarth feels lighter and doesn’t have the understeer and wheelspin of the Cooper."

His verdict? This car rocks. It's fast. It's comfortable. It looks cool. Speaking of looks, enjoy the photos, and look for the full review in the May issue of Grassroots Motorsports. To request a free sample, click here

Join in the conversation about this car on our forum.

Like what you read here? You can get a whole magazine full of these types of articles delivered to your home or shop 8 times a year. Subscribe now!

Visit the Grassroots Motorsports online store for back issues.
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