Due into Abarth’s UK dealer network next February, the potent 500 version has already stirred up excitement among British customers – 200 examples of the car, which were set aside for sale exclusively via the Internet, have already been snapped up, three months ahead of plan, while Abarth UK showrooms have been inundated with inquiries and deposits for cars.
Described by Top Gear as “frisky and fun” and “an irresistible piece of Italian tailoring”, the Abarth 500 is praised by the magazine’s judges for its retro styling, sports looks, turbo-boost acceleration, grip and handling.
“This is a good start for the Abarth 500,” says Ivan Gibson, manager, Abarth brand UK. “We have had considerable success already with the Grande Punto version, and now we are looking forward to launching the 500 in the UK. Endorsements from important and influential media such as Top Gear magazine are great news and show us that we are doing things absolutely right with this exciting Abarth brand.”
Powered by a 1.4-litre 16-valve turbocharged engine similar to the one in the Abarth Grande Punto, the Abarth 500 delivers a maximum 135 bhp at 5500 rpm and has a peak torque of 206 Nm (152 lb ft) at 3000 rpm, when ‘Sport’ mode is deployed.
Built to Euro 5 environmental standards, the Abarth 500 returns 43.4 mpg on the combined cycle and has CO2 emissions of just 155 g/km.
It goes on sale in the UK in February priced at under £14,000 OTR. An uprated esseesse version, boosting power to 160 bhp, will also become available here.