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The madness that is the Fiat 500 Abarth

With its overly loud engine and on-the-edge handling, the 500 Abarth is a recipe for barely controlled fun.

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
1 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

The base Fiat 500 offers an economical ride with a bit of Italian flair, but the Abarth version kicks up the power considerably.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
2 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

The power increase comes through a turbocharger added to the engine, and is accompanied by a notable loudness boost, as well.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
3 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Fiat gives the 500 Abarth suspension tuning to make it handle better, but the car's height makes it feels a little on-the-edge.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
4 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

The result of increased power and suspension tuning is a crazy little car that will frequently spike your adrenaline.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
5 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

The Abarth name and scorpion badge go back to a company founded by Carlo Abarth in 1949, which designed sport upgrades for production cars.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
6 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Body work sees few changes for the 500 Abarth, and retains the high roofline. That height is great for passenger headroom, but negatively impacts handling.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
7 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Optional 17-inch wheels pack Pirelli P-Zero Nero tires, wider than the tires found on a stock Fiat 500.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
8 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

At the heart of the 500 Abarth is this turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which manages 160 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
9 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Contributing to the 500 Abarth's edgy handling, the weight distribution is far from balanced, with 64 percent over the front axle.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
10 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Overall curb weight is just 2,512 pounds, making the car a featherweight in the industry.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
11 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

The 500 Abarth can be a lot of fun, but it's going to be in the slower groups at track days.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
12 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Carried over from the standard 500, this hatch offers a fair amount of practicality.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
13 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Sport seats come as part of the Abarth trim.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
14 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

As a two-door, getting into the rear seats involves a little bit of squeezing, but the head and legroom in back is not terrible.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
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A nice body-color panel runs across the dashboard.

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
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2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
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2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
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2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
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2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
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2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
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2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
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2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
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2016 Fiat 500 Abarth
24 of 24 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

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