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2017 Fiat 500X Abarth

2017 Fiat 500X Abarth

Abarth is working on its first ever crossover and there’s a big chance that this beefed-up 500X will borrow its engine from the Alfa Romeo 4C

Compact crossovers continue to gain popularity in the U.S. and Europe, and it seems like every automaker is getting in on the fun. Now, the latest craze is taking these small utility vehicles and turning them into performance rigs. It all began with the funky 2016 Juke-R Nismo, then moved on to the 2015 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG. When Fiat unveiled the 500X at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, rumors began to swirl about an Abarth version, which would be the first crossover to sport the iconic Scorpion badge. After months of speculation, we finally have proof that Fiat is indeed working on a high-performance version of the 500X.

The prototype seen in our recent spy shots may seem like a regular 500X at first glance, but several tell-tale signs about its actual identity are noticeable upon closer inspection. And that’s exactly what we will discuss in the speculative review below.

There’s no official word as to when the 500X Abarth will break cover, but an unveiling is expected to occur by the end of the year, most likely at the 2016 Paris Motor Show in October. If this turns out to be true, the beefed-up crossover will arrive in U.S. dealerships in early 2017.

Updated 02/04/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Fiat 500X Abarth out for a first testing session.

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

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2019 Abarth 124 Coupe

2019 Abarth 124 Coupe

Shortly after Fiat unveiled the Miata-based 124 Spider, rumors that Abarth might build a rally-spec version surfaced the Interwebz. Reports claimed that the FIA was planning to introduce a new sports car category for the World Rally Championship, which would allow vehicles the size of the 124 to take part in the series. Though neither Abarth nor the FIA confirmed the rumor, we went ahead and created a rendering and a speculative review about the Abarth 124 WRC, which, according to current WRC regulations, would have to be a coupe.

Then it occurred to me that if Abarth will indeed build a race-spec, coupe version of the 124, it could also develop a road-going variant. With so many Miata fans clamoring for a full-fledged coupe, I’m sure such a model would be pretty popular with MX-5 enthusiasts despite having a different exterior design and an Abarth badge on its nose. Not to mention that unless Fiat has some sort of agreement with Mazda that prevents it from building different body styles, an Abarth 124 Coupe would be doable with the performance division having the necessary experience from the rally car.

Now you might ask why an Abarth and not a Fiat? Well, turning the Spider into a mass-produced coupe would require a hefty investment and given the fact that FCA isn’t doing quite well financially, Sergio Marchionne wouldn’t approve such a project. Under Abarth, however, the 124 Coupe could be developed as a coach-built vehicle and produced in a limited run and for a more exotic price tag. This would be similar to what Abarth did with the original 124 Spider in the early 1970s, when the 124 Rally had to be homologated for the World Rally Championship.

Continue reading to learn more about the Abarth 124 Coupe.

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2018 Abarth 124 WRC

2018 Abarth 124 WRC

It hasn’t been long since Fiat unveiled the 124 Spider, a stylish roadster based on the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5. Now, word has it that the Italians are also planning a racing version for the World Rally Championship. If this proves to be true, the modern-day 124 Spider will follow in the exact footsteps of its predecessor, which also spawned a rally car, despite Fiat not offering a production coupe model. But, as exciting as it may sound, Abarth’s return to rallying is still a rumor as of December 2015.

It’s not because the Italian brand wouldn’t be able to turn the roadster into a tarmac-eating machine. The main problem is that a WRC-spec 124 Abarth currently has no class to race in, as the World Rally Championship has become a competition for superminis only.

In November 2015, Piston Heads reported — quoting sources close to Abarth — that the FIA is considering a new sports car category for the WRC. The class will be designed "to restore some petrolhead credibility to the series" and will allow larger vehicles, such as the Fiat 124 Spider, to race. For the uninitiated, WRC used to allow a wider range of cars in the 1970s and 1980s, from the Porsche 911 to the significantly larger, four-door Audi 200 Quattro.

We won’t find out whether FIA will indeed create a new class anytime soon, but the thought that Abarth might return to rallying is exciting to say the least. With that in mind, we decided to create a rendering of the Abarth 124 WRC and talk about as to what it might bring to the table. Find out more in my speculative review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Abarth 124 Spider WRC.

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The ND Miata Will Underpin an Abarth Roadster, not an Alfa

The ND Miata Will Underpin an Abarth Roadster, not an Alfa

Two years ago, when a collaboration between the Fiat Group and Mazda was announced, the deal mentioned that the recently unveiled Mazda MX-5 Miata will get a brother in the form of an Alfa Romeo roadster built on the same platform. Earlier today we found out that this will not be the case anymore, with the head of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands letting it slip in an interview with Car Magazine that the original idea is actually all wrong.

Apparently, the future Alfa Romeo Spider will not use the MX-5 Miata’s ND platform and will therefore not be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant. Instead, a yet-to-be-named Fiat/Abarth product will be based on the ND Miata. According to a transcript of the interview that Alfa and Maserati chief Harald Wester gave to the British magazine, it seems that "As far as the Spider goes, the final version is of course no longer the two-seater FCA [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] codeveloped with Mazda but a derivative of project Giorgio."

As some of you know, "project Giorgio" is a new modular architecture derived from the one underpinning the current Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte, which will be used in the future on pretty much every RWD Alfa Romeo and some Dodge/Chrysler models. Mazda’s ND platform is still part of the agreement though, and it will be used by either a standalone and long-rumored Abarth roadster or a modern-day variant of the old Fiat 124 Sport Spider, or maybe both. Either way, it won’t be an Alfa.

Click past the jump to read more about the Alfa Romeo Spider.

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Fiat plans US bound Abarth sports car to do battle with the Alfa Romeo 4C

Now that Alfa Romeo is set to return to North American after a lengthy absence, Fiat is looking at a number of measures on how it plans to return to the US and Canada with a bang as well.

One option that the Italian automaker is planning on pursuing is building a ’more affordable’ sports car to compliment the Alfa Romeo 4C soon after the latter is released in 2013. Word is that this affordable sports car will be built as an Abarth, one that is being pegged to take on a market heavyweight like the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Easier as that is said than it is done, Fiat understands that the Alfa Romeo 4C might not be up to the budget of a lot of American consumers, especially considering that the car is already being touted as a possible rival to a couple of Porsche sports cars: the Cayman and the Boxster.

Should Fiat push forward and build a front-wheel drive sports car under Abarth, we expect it to carry an output of somewhere around 200 horsepower, possibly even going up north to 250. No details have been made as far as what the car is going to look like, but we’d love it if the Italian automaker brushes off an old Abarth classic - the 1968 Scorpione - and build a modern-day take on what we consider one of the sexiest sports cars of the 60’s. That or they could just make some modifications on the Abarth Scorp-Ion Concept that we saw earlier this year.

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Alfa Romeo 4C might get Abarth and Maserati variants

Alfa Romeo 4C might get Abarth and Maserati variants

While everyone is waiting for the Alfa Romeo 4C GTA to debut in production form and find its way over to the US, other variations may currently be in the pipeline as well. New reports suggest that the 4C concept will not only preview a two-seater model for Abarth and Alfa, but will also come in some other derivatives, including a Maserati model.

The 4C GTA concept is powered by a "4 cylinder" 1750 Turbo Petrol engine located centrally in the rear of the vehicle and mated to a new automatic "Alfa TCT" twin dry clutch transmission. With a total output of 200 HP, the engine will sprint the concept from 0 to 60 mph in just 5 seconds, while top speed goes up to 155 mph. However, we anticipate that the Maserati variant will be both more powerful and sportier, but we’ll have to wait until about 2013 or 2014 to see it in action.

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2012 Abarth Roadster

2012 Abarth Roadster

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.

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KTM X-Bow to underpin limited edition Abarth Coupe

KTM X-Bow to underpin limited edition Abarth Coupe

Rumors about an Abarth sports car started in late 2008 when Fiat decided that their in-house tuner could be better utilized. Nothing much has been said since then, but we have finally got some information on the future coupe model. According to Road&Track, the KTM X-Bow will form the underpinnings and running gear for Abarth’s limited edition. Its official debut will be made in 2013.

The future Abarth model will share the chassis with the KTM X-Bow and will be powered by a MultiAir 1.8-liter turbo engine producing between 180-190 bhp. The future coupe model will also come with an Abarth transmission and a unique interior and exterior design and trim. Until now it was rumored that the future Abarth model would be built on a Lotus Elise chassis and running gear, but those parts involve relatively old technology and Abarth doesn’t want to move backward.

Abarth will only build 2,000 units a year with prices in the $80k area.

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Abarth in talks with KTM to produce special edition X-Bow

Abarth in talks with KTM to produce special edition X-Bow

In the auto industry, the phrase ‘never say never’ rings true like Sunday morning gospel. Even if the whole situation seems unlikely, it still doesn’t mean that slim chances won’t ever happen.

Take this reported new partnership for example. Whispers are getting louder in the auto circles of a potential project that would involve two brands joining forces: Fiat’s in-house tuning firm, Abarth and the Austrian brand KTM.

From what we’ve heard, the reported tie-up between the two companies will center on a particular car that will be released in 2013. No details were mentioned on what kind of car it actually is, but it was mentioned that it could be something along the likes of an Audi-powered mid-engined two-seater that uses a rolling chassis, similar to what is found in the current X-Bow. Abarth is reportedly also working on putting in a new 1.8-liter version of Fiat’s MultiAir turbocharged petrol engine that’s capable of producing power in excess of 200 horsepower. The Italian tuning house is likewise expected to add some new features, including a unique bodyshell that will be built around the X-Bow’s current carbon fiber monocoque platform. This would make it, at the very least, a little more user-friendly and usable as a standard road car.

The expected price tag on the car is somewhere around £42,000 – £50,000 ($67,000 - $75,000) and it could hit the streets as soon as 2013.

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Abarth confirms its first stand-alone sports car

Abarth confirms its first stand-alone sports car

The first rumors appeared in 2008, but today Abarth officially confirmed that theirfirst stand alone sports car will be unveiled in the next two years. This will be a first in more than 30 years of Abarth history.

In an interview with AutoCar, Antonino Labate, head of sales and marketing at Abarth, said: "The brand is doing so well we will definitely bring our own standalone Abarth coupe model to market within the next two years." He also confirmed that Lotus will not be involved in the car’s development or supply Elise underpinnings.

Previous reports suggested that the future model will be powered by a 135 hp 1.4-liter turbocharged engine from the Abarth 500. However it is now believed that it will feature a 204 HP engine and will weigh around 900 kilos. The car, a two-seater model, will also feature a removable roof panel, the traditional white and red color scheme, and, of course, plenty of the Abarth scorpion logos.

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Abarth Coupe rendering

Abarth Coupe rendering

As we reported previously, Abarth is preparing to expand its line-up. After making performance versions of Fiat’s 500 and Grande Punto, Fiat bosses said there will be a third model that will likely carry its own sheetmetal.

One idea is to is simply to update the 500 and Punto. Another basing a special-bodied coupe off another car in the Fiat range, such as using the proposed Lancia Fulvietta as a base. The third and most enticing option is a high-performance model (the drawing above) that will compete with models from Porsche and Ferrari.

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Abarth ‘Elise' rendering

Abarth ‘Elise’ rendering

At the end of July we reported that Abarth is working on its very first car: a sports car that will use Elise’s platform. And today AutoExpress revealed the first rendering of the car. The lightweight two-seater will have a very different shape to the other cars in the Abarth line-up, but familiar will be the scorpion badge, plus a full bodykit and distinctive white and red paintjob.

Under the hood Abarth will place Fiat’s next-generation turbocharged engine, delivering in excess of 200bhp. This should propel the lightweight 900kg package from 0-60mph in less than five seconds.

The Abarth ’Elise’ will make its world debut in 2011 after the Lotus Elise will be unveiled in 2010.

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Abarth will built model based on the Elise

Abarth will built model based on the Elise

Abarth is best known for being to Fiat what M-division is to BMW or AMG is to Mercedes, which is take production cars and tune them from speed. That’s all about to change asAbarth is building its own car...sort of. Abarth and Lotus signed a secret deal that allows the Italian maker to use the next Elise’s platform.

The model is set to be released in 2011. It will use Fiat Group’s new-generation of turbo-charged, direct-injection, air-valve four-cylinder engines. With an output of around 240 hp and a weight around 1980 lbs, the car will be a lightweight competitor on the sports car market.

The new architecture will first be used in the Elise that is set to be released in 2010 and then by Abarth after less than a year. This will not be the first time Lotus loaned the Elise’s chassis for a new car. The Euro-only Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster was a bigger brother to the Elise from 2000 to 2005.

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Abarth Roadster coming by 2013?

Abarth Roadster coming by 2013?

Abarth will unveil a roadster model by 2013. It is an attempt to succeed in the market area where the Smart Roadster failed. Prices are supposed to be in the region of £12,000.

Abarth will place a low displacement engine hiding under the hood, best option at the moment being the 1.4-liter engine from the 500 Abarth, possibly slightly detuned from the current 135bhp. A Lightweight body construction and Abarth sports components will add to the driving dynamics of the vehicle.

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Abarth 500 Convertible in 2009

Abarth 500 Convertible in 2009

The 500 Abarth made its official debut at the beginning at the month at the Geneva Motor Show. But the company also reported that they will reveal a Abarth version of the 500 Convertible. Rumors say the new model will be launched in 2009. After the Convertible version, two Abarth-only models will also be launched.

The Abarth 500 Convertible will be powered by the same Fire 1.4 16v Turbo petrol engine that delivers a maximum of 135 bhp (99 kW) at 5,000 rpm and peak torque of 206 Nm at 3.000 rpm found in the coupe version.

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