Abarth 500 preview

Production Cars 19 Feb 2008
Abarth 500 preview

The first official information and renderings of the Abarth 500, which makes its debut at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. Developed by Fiat Group Automobiles Style Centre and inspired by the models of the 1960s, it will go on sale in July 2008.

Abarth 500 - CutawayThe 500 Abarth which will be marketed by the exclusive Abarth network in July, to further strengthen the brand’s sporting credentials.

The car was developed by the Fiat Group Automobiles Style Centre with the spirit of the legendary 500 Abarths of the 1960s in mind.

In addition to the road version, the small Abarth will also be offered with a racing outfit, the 500 Abarth SS Assetto Corsa, designed for circuit racing.

Faithful to the saying coined for Abarth cars in the 1960s (‘small but wicked’), the 500 Abarth is powered by a Fire 1.4 16v Turbo gasoline engine

The unit delivers a maximum of 135 bhp (99 kW) at 5,000 rpm and peak torque of 206 Nm at 3.000 rpm in ‘Sport’ mode (in ‘Normal’ mode torque is reduced to 180 Nm at 2,500 rpm).

Abarth 500Technical highlights include the new TTC (Torque Transfer Control) system, which improves the transfer of drive torque to the wheels and improves the dynamic behaviour of the car on bends.

Exterior Design

Respecting Abarth tradition, the styling approach of the 500 Abarth combines aggressivity with functionality, aimed at improving the car’s performances.

New design elements include a roof extension and a large winged spoiler that optimize the aerodynamic behaviour by reducing drag and increasing grip at high speed.

The front slits on the bumper heighten the sporty styling but also contribute to the cooling of the two intercoolers positioned at the sides. On either side of the ‘slide’, there is an exhaust pipe that corresponds to the symmetrical exits of a single silencer positioned transversely (branded with the scorpion logo, like those in the 1960s).

Abarth 500On the side, sideskirts envelop the curves of the car creating a more vertical profile, which improves the Cd.

The central inlet is larger than on the basic model, with a much broader upper slit (above the number plate); the two ‘nostrils’, positioned symmetrically at the sides of the bumper, correspond exactly to the position of the two identical intercoolers, which are just visible through the ‘nostrils’, guaranteeing airflow in and out.

The nose with its trim has been ‘pushed forward’ to create the space necessary for the turboblower; this makes the side view of the 500 Abarth more pronounced and recalling the 850 TC and 1000 TC, on which the externally applied manifolds were immediately visible and recognisable as a characteristic feature of the brand.

Abarth 500 - CutawayThe trim itself differs from the one on the Fiat 500 because it is in a single piece: the Abarth logo, which appears for the first time without a chrome surround, ‘floats’ on a finned surface that serves as an additional air intake. The Abarth shields positioned on the sides are shot through by a tri-colour arrow, like the ones on the Abarth 595 and 695 in the 1960s, a symbol of the brand’s racing image.

The 16” and 17” wheel rims come in different styles: from multiple spokes to beading of the bore holes (a clear reference to styles adopted for forged wheels in the 1970s).

Interior Design

Inside, the ‘cockpit’ of the 500 Abarth features special instrumentation which is derived from the outfit on the Fiat model, with the addition of an analogue pressure gauge to measure turbo pressure. It incorporates a LED telltale that optimises gear changes by lighting up at the appropriate moment.

Abarth 500 - InteriorThe main instrumental panel, with its sports graphics, is protected from glare by an upper lip, while the three-spoke steering wheel has shaped thumb rests, is ‘flattened’ at the bottom to increase roominess, and is adjustable.

The aluminium pedals with their rubber trim have a ‘racing’ look, like the gear lever knob (covered with leather with a more anatomical grip).

The same approach is evident in the seats – of the ‘one-piece’ type, incorporating the head-restraint into the squab – which are upholstered with a choice of materials: fabrics in different combinations of colours and textures, and two versions of leather (black or red). The headlining and the side trims are black, giving the interior a more technical, sporty look.

(Source: Abarth)

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