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.
After unveiling their customized versions for the 500 and 500C, Abarth have announced plans to build their own coupe version of the Fiat 500. Their model will pay tribute to the 1959 Zagato Abarth 750 T and will be offered in both open and closed versions.
The car will feature a new enlarged tail spoiler, big wheels, and multiple detail changes compared to the 750 T. It will be the first modern Abarth with body styles exclusive to the marque. On the interior the rear seats will be removed, in the style of the Italian coupes of the 1950s and 1960s.
The next Abarth coupe will be powered by a 1.4 liter T-Jet engine that develops a total of 178 HP (same from the limited-edition Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari). The sprint from 0 to 60 mph will be made in 7.4 seconds and top speed will be higher than in any other Abarth model.
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.