The Fiat 500 first saw life back in 1957 as the Fiat Nuova 500 and was an inexpensive little city car that became extremely popular throughout Italy. Its small, two-cylinder engine displaced roughly 500cc — hence the name — and produced a modest 13 brake horsepower. It enjoyed a ragtop roof that slid rearward and a pair of suicide doors. In comparison to today’s cars, the original Fiat 500 was a toy, only standing chest height to the average person. Production ended in 1975 and the 500 name laid dormant until 2007 when the current version became available in Europe.
The Fiat 500 swam the pond in 2010, marking the first time Fiat sold vehicles in the U.S. since 1984. The return happened, thanks to Fiat’s purchase of Chrysler and the two automakers’ global alliances. The car has remained unchanged for the most part, except the additional Abarth trim level new for 2012. That sporty trim added a ton of go-fast, have-fun goodies to Fiat’s spunky little run-about.
I recently spend a week getting to know the Fiat 500c Abarth. You’ll notice the ‘c’ in the 500’s name, well that signifies it carries a ragtop roof, just like the original Fiat 500 did. This 500, however, has 147 more horsepower than the original, a sweet exhaust note, and a superb five-speed manual gearbox. This thing is like the Mazda Miata of Italy — the tossable plaything that begs to be driven hard.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Fiat 500c Abarth