Last year at the Los Angeles Auto Show Fiat unveiled the American version of the Fiat 500 Abarth and this year the company made a comeback with the cabrio version. On the European market the model already enjoys a great success, and Fiat is now hopping it will do the same good impression on the U.S. market.
The model features the same design language as the coupe version, except of course its power-operated cloth top that can be operated at speeds up to 60 mph just be pressing a button.
"The new Fiat 500c Abarth delivers the wicked attitude and track-proven capabilities of the hatchback model, now with the rush of open-air Italian performance," said Tim Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand for North America — Chrysler Group LLC. "And with the push of a button our new turbocharged cabrio can unleash that added sense of freedom, while offering one of the most respected soundtracks of all-time, the rasp from its signature Abarth-tuned dual exhausts."
The new Fiat 500C Abarth will go on sale in the first-quarter of 2013.
UPDATE 12/06/12: Hold on to you pants, gentlemen. Fiat recently released a new commercial promoting the Abarth 500 Cabriolet. Suffice to say, it features supermodel Catrinel Menghia, a naughty little scorpion, and the 500C. Oh, and did we mention that Menghia went "topless" in the ad? Yep, click on the photo above to check it out!
Gallery Fiat 500 Cabrio
Just like with all the previous Fiat 500 models, the new 500C Abarth retains the the clean and simple design language of the original Cinquecento, but it gives it a modern, elegant interpretation. When compared to the standard 500C, the Abarth version has received a more pronounced front fascia with a larger intake for better engine cooling, twin "nostrils" positioned on the front fascia to maximize airflow in and out of the two engine inter coolers.
For the rear Abarth added a cloth-top-mounted spoiler and a diffuser that will optimize airflow output. And, as a final element, the exhust system with its large concentric double-tip will further accentuate the exclusive look.
The model will sit on a new set of standard 16" wheel or optional 17" lightweight forged-aluminum wheels combined with performance brake system.
On the interior Abarth will add the same sporty feeling thanks to the addition of an Abarth-designed steering wheel with a thick rim, perforated leather and flat bottom. The instrument cluster features a 160 mph speedometer and it is being wrapped in Nero (black) leather with Rosso (red) accent stitching.
That sporty feeling is being accentuated by Abarth-designed aluminum pedals, a Nero leather shift knob with Rosso accent stitching and of course Abarth erformance seats.
Just like with the coupe version, the new 500C Abarth is being powered by a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine that delivers a total of 160 HP and a peak torque of 170 ft.-lb. In order to deliver the extra power, the engine has been updated with an Abarth-designed fresh-air intake system with high-flow air filter and smooth-flowing plumbing for maximum power.
The engine is mated to a track-proven C510 five-speed manual transmission and will sprint the car from0 to 60 mph in the low 7 second range.
The new Fiat 500C Abarth will go on sale in the first-quarter of 2013. Prices will be announced at a later date.
On the US market the new Fiat 500C Abarth will have to face models like Mini Roadster JCW . It is being offered with a 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine equipped with TwinPower Turbo technology delivering a total of 211 HP at 6,000 rpm and a peak torque of 192 lb-ft at 1,850 rpm.
And while performance numbers will tell you to opt for the Mini, you will advice you to take another look to the 500C. It looks a little bit better and continues the tradition of a great car.
- Looks very cool
- Quite powerful for such a tiny car
- Abarth updates
- Competition is more powerful
- No prices yet
Gallery Fiat 500c Abarth
The Fiat 500 Abarth brought world-class performance and precision, purposeful and aggressive styling, high power-to-weight ratio and limited-production volume to North American driving enthusiasts in 2012. Adding even more excitement to Karl Abarth’s line of “small but wicked” cars, the new 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio harks back to his open-air track cars of the 1960s, while delivering the most visceral experience of any modern Cinquecento to date.
“The new Fiat 500c Abarth delivers the wicked attitude and track-proven capabilities of the hatchback model, now with the rush of open-air Italian performance,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand for North America — Chrysler Group LLC. “And with the push of a button our new turbocharged cabrio can unleash that added sense of freedom, while offering one of the most respected soundtracks of all-time, the rasp from its signature Abarth-tuned dual exhausts.”
Open-air freedom with an intelligent power cloth top and rigid structural design
With the Fiat 500 Abarth’s high-performance DNA intact, the new 2013 Fiat 500c Abarth is engineered with the same track-proven attributes that have made the hatchback model a success on European and North American roadways and racetracks, but now brings even more fresh air and the unmistakable Abarth-tuned exhaust note into the cabin.
With just the push of a button, the Fiat 500c Abarth’s power-operated cloth top retracts up to the rear spoiler during speeds up to a best-in-class 60 mph (a midway point can be chosen by pressing the button anytime in between). Press the roof button again, and the roof will neatly fold all the way open and tuck neatly behind the rear head restraints (up to 50 mph). The power operated cloth top is also intelligently designed.
For access to the Fiat 500c Abarth’s trunk, premium “parallelogram” liftgate hinges conveniently position the liftgate out of the way, while the power-operated cloth top automatically retracts back to the rear-spoiler position to avoid any obstruction.
In addition to its cleverly designed multi-position power-retractable cloth top, the Fiat 500c Abarth’s fully stamped body-side silhouette retains the iconic Cinquecento form while delivering added structural strength and 70 percent less header shake than key competitors. In addition, its longer windshield and minimized header design maximize rear-seated passengers’ outward visibility, while minimizing cabin turbulence.
“Abarth treatment” and tradition continue to deliver extraordinary results
In the late 1950s, Karl Abarth believed that race cars with brilliant performance could be derived from small, lightweight, everyday driving cars — including the original Cinquecento (500). And his tradition of track-ready small cars continues today by utilizing the high-performance 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth as a base point for the new cloth-top Fiat 500c Abarth.
1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine with 117 horsepower per liter
Like the Fiat 500 Abarth, the new 2013 Fiat 500c Abarth features the track-proven 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine for 160 horsepower, up to 170 ft.-lb. of torque and 0-to-60 mph performance in the low 7 second range.
Compared with the Fiat 500c’s naturally aspirated 1.4-liter MultiAir engine, the boost to 160 horsepower on the Fiat 500c Abarth is largely due to its single turbocharger that operates off engine exhaust and utilizes energy that would normally be wasted through the tailpipe. The turbocharger spins up to 230,000 rpm to convert exhaust heat and pressure to a rotational force that drives a compressor. The compressor draws cool air and pumps it into the intake manifold at increased pressure (maximum 18 psi / 1.24 bar) that results in a greater amount of air in the cylinder and, hence, more power.
The 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo’s induction system includes two intercoolers located behind the driver- and passenger-side air inlets of the Abarth-styled front fascia. The intercoolers are designed to remove heat in the air charge that the turbocharger generates while compressing incoming air (higher air density for more power). Reducing heat provides a cooler, denser air charge that helps increase the potential for more power.
Other high-performance engine component upgrades include an Abarth-designed fresh-air intake system with high-flow air filter and smooth-flowing plumbing for maximum power. And to make sure the engine is operating with minimal exhaust gas restriction, an Abarth-designed concentric “double-tip” dual-exhaust system delivers a high-performance look with menacing Abarth-tuned sound.
Developed for high-output applications, the Fiat 500c Abarth is equipped with the track-proven C510 five-speed manual transmission. Proven on the European 500 Abarth models, this transmission features a 3.35 final-drive ratio for quick acceleration and faster top speed, while maintaining fuel efficiency.
Designed to handle the increased torque loads, the Fiat 500c Abarth’s C510 transmission includes an intermediate shaft with equal-length half shafts to mitigate torque steer. Compared with the Fiat 500c, the 500c Abarth features 23 percent larger half shafts (28.1 mm diameter vs. 22.8 mm diameter in the Fiat 500c) for increased strength and to reduce torsional stress in the driveline during performance driving on the road or track. To handle the increased power and torque of the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, larger constant velocity (CV) joints with 53 percent greater torsional strength (2,600 N•m vs. 1,700 N•m in the Fiat 500) deliver added durability and refinement.
Track-ready performance hardware
For more than fun under the sun, the new 2013 Fiat 500c Abarth is designed, engineered and tested to deliver the high-performance driving and enduring capabilities needed for track use.
Like the hatchback, the new 2013 Fiat 500c Abarth features an enhanced front- and rear-suspension design to deliver the precision handling, steering and refinement needed for high-performance driving. Compared to the Fiat 500c, the Fiat 500c Abarth features a unique MacPherson suspension design with 33 percent stiffer front spring rates and 0.6-inch (15 mm) lower ride height (compared to the Fiat 500c) for improved handling and minimal body roll. Abarth-designed cast-iron front lower control arms provide improved lateral stiffness, while an increase in negative camber to -1.5 degrees delivers improved grip and steering precision. In addition, dual-valve frequency selective damping (FSD) KONI twin-tube struts deliver road control and maximum grip, while actively filtering out high-frequency suspension inputs from uneven road surfaces to adjust for comfort and smoothness.
The beefier rear-suspension design of the Fiat 500c Abarth takes the Fiat 500c model’s (already 300 percent stiffer than the European Fiat 500) twist-beam design further, with a torsionally rigid rear axle designed with strengthened coil-spring supports for greater durability. A 0.87-inch (22 mm) Abarth-specific solid rear stabilizer bar increases cornering grip. For improved handling, minimal body roll and ride-height control (when fully loaded), the new Fiat 500c Abarth features 12 percent stiffer rear springs with 0.6-inch (15 mm) lower ride.
For 10 percent quicker steering to enhance responsiveness, maneuverability and high-performance feel, the Fiat 500c Abarth features a 15.1:1 (up from the Fiat 500c’s 16.3:1) steering-gear ratio. Compared to the Fiat 500c, the 500c Abarth features a uniquely tuned electronic power steering (EPS) calibration for increased steering response and feedback. In addition, the Fiat 500c Abarth features a road crown and cross wind compensation algorithm, which automatically compensates for temporary situations where there is a constant push of the car to one side or another, assisting the driver against driving during such conditions.
The Fiat 500c Abarth features a high-performance brake system with semi-metallic brake linings at all four corners, and larger 11.1-inch ventilated rotors for greater stopping power (up from 10.1-inch). Both front and rear brake calipers are lacquered in Rosso (red) paint for an athletic look. An Abarth-tuned electronic stability control system (ESC) features a three-mode calibration to maximize the Fiat 500c Abarth’s handling capabilities on and off the track. When ESC is selected from “On” to “Partial Off” or “Full Off” on the instrument panel, the 500c Abarth’s innovative torque transfer control (TTC) system maximizes throttle performance during on-throttle cornering.
Standard on the Fiat 500c Abarth are 16 x 6.5-inch cast-aluminum wheels with 195/45 R16 Pirelli Cinturato P7 tires that deliver all-season traction and low-noise characteristics. For even more performance, larger and wider 17 x 7-inch forged-aluminum wheels keep this Cinquecento lightweight at each corner and feature high-performance three-season Pirelli P-Zero Nero tires with a 205/40 R17 size for a wider stance and reduced profile for improved handling.
Exterior and interior design enhancements added only for performance gain
The aggressive styling of the Fiat 500c Abarth embodies the Abarth brand tradition in full — purposeful and intentional details all designed to improve the car’s performance, while enhancing the clean and simple design language of the Cinquecento.
To improve aerodynamics and the necessary engine compartment space for the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, the Fiat 500c Abarth’s features a more pronounced front fascia. For additional air intake, the signature “Abarth” shield floats on a finned surface and a larger intake below consists of three inlets with broader openings than the Fiat 500c. For a more aggressive look, twin “nostrils” are precisely positioned on the front fascia to maximize airflow in and out of the two engine intercoolers (both intercoolers are visible through the “nostril” inlets).
Abarth-designed side skirts give the Fiat 500c Abarth an athletic profile, while 16-inch or optional 17-inch lightweight forged-aluminum wheels fill the flared wheel arches and provide ventilation for the performance brake system.
From the rear, an Abarth-designed cloth-top-mounted spoiler extends the roofline and improves the vehicle’s aerodynamic behavior by creating additional downforce. Below, the two-piece Abarth-styled rear fascia accentuates the road-holding stance and optimizes airflow output with its rear diffuser. In addition large concentric “double-tip” exhausts provide an exclusive Abarth-tuned sound and look.
The interior design theme of the 2013 Fiat 500c Abarth is an artistic blend of clean lines and functional performance appointments. An Abarth-designed steering wheel features a thick rim, perforated leather and flat bottom to provide the look, feel and increased roominess desired during at-the-limit driving. A large concentric instrument cluster with 160-mph speedometer, tachometer and trip computer sits behind the steering wheel, and features a leather-wrapped cluster brow wrapped in Nero (black) leather with Rosso (red) accent stitching. To the left, an analog turbo-boost gauge with integrated LED shift light in the center that illuminates to an instant before redline to optimize gear changes. Below the instrument panel, Abarth-designed aluminum pedal covers feature Nero rubber trim for a decidedly racing look, while the Nero leather shift knob with Rosso accent stitching provides a precise feel of the shifter.
Unique Abarth-styled front performance seats feature a one-piece design with large side bolsters, a racing-harness pass through, accent stitching around the perimeter and integrated side-thorax air bags. To highlight that this cabrio has the most interior space, rear-seat legroom and shoulder room among key competitors – the rear passengers’ upper seatbacks are raised and bolstered for added back support.