Italy’s Iconic Abarth Alive and Well In America

Manufacturer: Fiat S.p.A.
Model: 500 Abarth
Year: 2012
Tuner: Fiat/Abarth
Date: 09.18.13
Engine Type: Electric Three Phase Induction Motor
Drivetrain: Front Engine, Front Wheel Drive
Horsepower: 160bhp
0-60mph: 6.8 seconds
Photoshoot / Car Notes: The Abarth version for North America was introduced at the LA Auto Show in November 2011 and features a 1.4 L turbocharged Multi-air engine that produces 160 hp with 170 lb·ft of torque. Shot locally in Tampa, this 2012 Abarth represents the epitome of Abarth performance in America with it’s brilliant and evocative “Rosso Clearcoat” red paint.

Fiat Abarth Logo: 300pxThe Fiat 500 had its US debut at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, and production started in December 2010. It resurrected the Fiat brand in the United States and Canada, where the brand had not been sold since 1984.

The North American version, built in Toluca, Mexico, by Chrysler, has the same trim levels as the European 500: Pop, Lounge and Sport. The American version has some exterior differences compared to European version, including a more rounded centre grille and a plastic lip that wraps onto the bottom of the spoiler. The cabriolet version 500C comes for sale a bit later in Spring 2011. The 500 Abarth is also confirmed for North American markets. The US 500 version was rated at 38 mpg highway by United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The North American 500 has a 1.4-litre Multiair engine produced at the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance in Dundee, Michigan, United States. The engine produces 101 hp at 6,500 rpm and 98 lb·ft at 4,000 rpm. The North American model has been reworked for North American roads and buyers. Key differences include increased body strength; suspension reworked for the US market; over 20 specific hardware changes for reduced noise, vibration and harshness; BiHalogen projector headlamps and amber front and red rear sidemarker lights and reflectors on each wheel arch edge to comply with FMVSS 108; new four-wheel anti-lock disc brake system with new front calipers for better brake performance; larger 10.5 gallon fuel tank; upgraded heating and cooling system; new front seats with a new armrest and seat cushion for improved comfort; easier entry system designed into the new front seats; new steering wheel controls and revised steering and new Bose brand audio system. The North American 500 has two gearbox choices: a 6-speed automatic transmission which has also driver-selectable gear changes or 5-speed manual.

The Toluca-built version of the 500 is for sale in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and was launched in mid-2011 in Brazil and Argentina where it replaces the European version made in Poland.

Down Shift Magazine Photo of the Day: September 30th, 2013 - 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth