2012 Fiat 500 Abarth Test

B-class Betty is wicked quick

I’m back at the Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada to drive the all-new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth on the 5.0-km long road course where this pint-sized car is proving you don’t need a ton of horsepower to create a super-sized grin.

The Abarth is the high-performance version of Fiat’s 500 subcompact that is gaining popularity in North America and is outselling other small cars like the Mini Cooper, Honda Fit, and Scion xB and xD since launching in late 2011.

Although Canadians will pay two grand more than our American neighbours, as well as miss out on a full track day event learning to drive their new Abarths, $23,995 is still a fair price for such big performance in a small package.

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

The twin-intercooled 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo four, for example, makes an impressive 115.3 hp per litre and the car weighs just 1,151 kg. Combine its 160 hp and 170 lb.-ft. of torque with a host of enhancements over and above the standard Fiat 500. Among them, a heavy-duty performance five-speed manual transmission, tuned suspension with Koni FSD twin-tube dampers and beefy sway bars, 17-inch alloy wheels, powerful ABS brakes and a nicely-balanced chassis, and it really is a track-ready every day car.

Continue reading my review of the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth on Autonet.ca.

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