Most Fiat 500 models got a refresh in July of 2015, but the 500 Abarth was put on a waiting list, well at least until now. Fiat has yet to release official details about the refreshed 500 Abarth, but our spy photographers have managed to get a few spy shots of the car sporting black and white camo over its red exterior.

For the most part, the 500 Abarth will take on a lot of the same design cues from the standard 500, but with an Abarth twist on them to give the car the aggressive look one would expect from an Abarth. As you can see from these shots, the car is currently fixed to a flatbed, probably on its way to delivery for on-road testing. If that is the case, that means the car is pretty much production ready – save for a few minor tweaks.

Assuming there are no major issues found during road testing, we expect to see the refreshed 500 Abarth debut in the first quarter of 2016 – probably at the Geneva Auto Show in March. Until official details emerge, let’s take a look at what we know, and what we can determine from these few spy shots.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Fiat 500 Abarth.

Exterior

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth Exterior Spyshots
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When it comes to cars in camo, it’s always a bit of a guessing game when it comes to what lies beneath. Looking at the side of the car, Fiat either did a really good job at concealing some body styling, or the side skirts will be much less pronounced on the 500 Abarth after the refresh. As we see on the 2015 Abarth model, the door almost looks to fold in at the bottom, but that isn’t evident here in the camo. It could be possible that the Abarth-style side skirts have been left off for road testing purposes. Outside of this potential deception, the car looks the same from the sides, but should sport some newly designed wheels once it hits dealerships.

Up front, it looks like the car will retain most of the Abarth styling from before, including the lower, front grille and the large air intakes that are slightly slanted on the far sides of the fog lights.

Up front, it looks like the car will retain most of the Abarth styling from before, including the lower, front grille and the large air intakes that are slightly slanted on the far sides of the fog lights. Those air intakes, by the way, will likely carry the same shape, but look to share an outlining bezel with the fog lights. The outgoing model had a single bezel that surrounded both vents, the fog lights, and that lower grille. The air vents on the corners of the fascia also have the same shape, but don’t look to be a sunk in as they were on previous models.

It looks like the daytime running lights and headlights will be the same as what we see on the standard 500. The one difference that we can see for sure involved the small two-louver vent below the front emblem. On the outgoing 500 Abarth, that vent had flat edges on the side. Peeking through the opening in the camo, we can see the sides of the vent on the refreshed model will come to a sharp point. We don’t have a very clear view of the hood, but it looks like it that raised center strip will be more refined and come to a point at the bottom.

To the rear, the fascia is well disguised, but it does appear as if the vents on each side will remain. As with the front lights, the tail lights should carry over from the standard model, but the rear overhang is more pronounced and looks to wrap around a little lower that on the outgoing model. Until we get better shots of the rear, we can’t say how the fascia or deck lid will change, but I suspect changes will be minor.

Interior

We can’t get a clear view of the inside at all thanks to the angle of the photos. What we do know, based on previous iterations, is that the Abarth will share a lot of the same cues from the standard model. Expect to see the center console updated slightly, and a new infotainment system that will make current owners wish they waited for the refreshed model.

I suspect the same new touchscreen from the standard model will be used, but it may be slightly larger, given the car’s Abarth designation. The infotainment system should have all of the connectivity of that in the standard 500, including Hands-off Bluetooth, Bluetooth audio streaming, Blue&Me, TomTOM 2 LIVE, and Uconnect.

Other interior features will probably include an updated HVAC control panel like that in the standard 500, and it wouldn’t be an Abarth without a flat-bottom steering wheel. While that steering wheel will clearly be different from the standard model, I suspect it will have the rounded spokes we saw in the new 500, and will retain the multifunction buttons at 3-o’clock and 9-o’clock.

Drivetrain

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth Exterior Spyshots
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Expect the 500 Abarth to sprint to 60 mph in 6.7-seconds and have a top speed around 132 mph

The current 500 Abarth uses an uprated version of the 1.4-liter found in the standard 500, so it is likely that 1.4-liter will make it into the refreshed 500 Abarth as well. In the current model, the engine puts out 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Rumors have been circulating, however, and if they have any bit of truth to them, the 500 Abarth –in its range-topping form – may get a power update to the tune of nearly 200 horsepower.

Should that power figure become reality, expect the 500 Abarth to sprint to 60 mph in 6.7-seconds (0.2-seconds faster than the current model) and have a top speed around 132 mph or so – a small bump up from the current model. Expect the car to come with a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic, just like the outgoing model.

Prices

The current 500 Abarth commands a ticket price of $22,495, but given the new model should come with the new infotainment system and updated power, that price may jump as high as $22,995 before options, taxes and destination charges.

Competition

Mini Cooper S

2014 Mini Cooper High Resolution Exterior
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The Mini Cooper recently saw a new update that included an infotainment system, an automatic parking system and lots of other little goodies to bring it up to speed with the rest of the segment. The base-model Cooper comes with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder, but that is rather underpowered when it comes to comparing it with the future 500 Abarth. That said, the Cooper S – and its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine – are more in line with what the 500 Abarth is about to bring to the table. With the 2.0-liter, the Cooper S has 189 horsepower, 207 pound-feet of torque and can hit 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. Top speed sits at 146 mph. At the time of this writing, the Cooper S starts out at $24,100 but has a list of options that easily push it closer to the price point of the John Cooper Works, which starts out at $30,600.

Read our full review on the Mini Cooper S here.

Honda Fit

2015 Honda Fit High Resolution Exterior
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The Honda Fit currently comes with a 1.5-liter, 130 horsepower engine, and about as many features as you can fit into such a small car. For purposes of comparison, the EX-L trim level is the model I’m looking at. It comes with similar features to what we should see with the Fiat 500 Abarth – Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, USB audio interface, and a 7-inch touchscreen display. Currently, the Fit EX-L starts out at $21,065 with Honda’s satellite-link navigation system and a CVT transmission. It pulls 32 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway. It puts out a little less power than the 500 Abarth will, but it also comes at a lower price, while providing similar creature comforts on the inside. If you’re looking for functionality, without concerning yourself with power output, the Honda Fit is a worthy choice to consider.

Read our full review on the Honda Fit here.

Conclusion

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth Exterior Spyshots
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At this point, it’s really hard to draw a well-rounded conclusion. When you take into consideration the extensive camo, and the angle of the shots we have, there is a lot we just can’t really speculate on when it comes to this redesigned model. That 500 Abarth in the images looks like it might be on its way to a test driver, so we might get lucky and find out selves with some better shots of it before its debut. Until then what we have will have to be enough. I still find it hard to believe it took this long to get a decent infotainment system in the 500. It isn’t like every other car on the planet already has one.

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    • * potentially toned down side skirts
    • * lack of engine options
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