News of Abarth preparing their own roadster started back in 2008 and, although we have caught some rumors here and there, nothing much has panned out leaving us to believe that Abarth will be clutched under the wing of other European brands forever. That, apparently, was an incorrect assumption.
Hoping to leave behind the disappoint that was the Smart Roadster, Abarth’s new Roadster model will feature an all new design, a transverse, mid-engined layout similar to that of the Lotus Elise. There are previous suggest reports suggesting the future Abarth model will share the chassis with the KTM X-Bow, but that is still under discussion. The car’s exterior design will be inspired by Abarth models of the 1960s.
Under the hood there will be the recently launched turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir, available with outputs as high as 170bhp. The engine will be mated to a new six-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, but a seven-speed version is also a possibility for the future.
Expect the new Abarth Roadster to debut in 2012, priced at around £25,000 (aprox. $40,000 at the current exchange rates). Abarth expects to produce a total of 5,000 units to sell worldwide.
UPDATE 11/01/2010: New information has lead us to believe that Abarth may be creating their mid-engine roadster without the help of Lotus or KTM.
There were numerous issues that arose with KTM. The carbon-fiber chassis on the X-Bow could have been used for the Abarth model, but that would have resulted in a price that would have been way too high for Fiat customers.
While the KTM issue is merely business, the Lotus one may be more personal. Lotus CEO Danny Bahar left Ferrari and took many people from the company with him and let’s face it, those who leave the Italian company never return or work with them again.