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2012 FIAT 500 Abarth - LA Auto Show

author photo by Nick Palermo November 2011

Limited-production performance version of FIAT's 4-passenger hatchback
Builds on the racing traditions of the legendary Karl Abarth
Powered by an all-new turbocharged engine

Expanding the offerings in their single-model US lineup, FIAT introduced the 500 Abarth at the LA Auto Show. The high-performance, limited-production version of the 500 brings aggressive interior and exterior styling upgrades, track-ready suspension and brakes as well as a new turbocharged engine.

FIAT's newest creation is named after Karl Abarth, whose company once sold performance parts for the tiny FIAT Topolino, allowing owners to modify it into a lightweight, track-ready performance machine. Abarth believed that light weight was a crucial key to performance. He validated his formula for speed when he raced a motorcycle with a sidecar he designed against the Orient Express, beating the enormous and powerful passenger train on an 800-plus-mile stretch.

His ideas are faithfully reinterpreted in this new 500 Abarth, thanks to a new 1.4-liter turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder that produces 160 horsepower in the 2533-lb. car. The motor routes power exclusively through a five-speed manual transmission. Karl Abarth would likely approve of the sport-tuned suspension and brakes included here, which Fiat says are track-proven for reliability and durability.

Abarth badges, an aerodynamically-enhanced body and exclusive wheels set the car apart on the outside. Inside, a thick, flat-bottomed and leather-wrapped steering wheel, sport seats, and a boost gauge remind passengers that this is no ordinary 500.

The successor to the "small but wicked" Abarth FIAT's of the 1950s and 1960s is well-suited not only for small-car enthusiasts looking for something sportier but even for sports car drivers captivated by the uncommon.

What it means to you: With its retro-modern design, all-new turbo engine and high-performance heritage, style and speed meet in the exclusive 500 Abarth.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 FIAT 500 Abarth - LA Auto Show - Autotrader