Visually, the 500 Abarth which is known as the Abarth 595 in select foreign markets — follows the path blazed by the standard 500 by adopting new-look lights on both ends and oval LED daytime running lights up front. The hatchback also receives a redesigned front bumper with bigger air vents, and a new air diffuser out back.
Fiat explains it has spruced up the cabin with Alcantara and carbon fiber accents, but we’ll have to take the company’s word for it because interior pictures haven’t been released yet. Additionally, the 500 Abarth gains the latest generation of Fiat’s touch screen-based Uconnect infotainment system.
Mechanically, the 500 Abarth carries on with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, but its output has been bumped up by five horsepower all across the board. Buyers can now order it with either 145, 165, or 180 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission that spins the front wheels continues to come standard regardless of how much grunt the turbo four generates, and the list of options includes a sequential gearbox controlled by shift paddles as well as a limited-slip differential.
The updated Fiat 500 Abarth is scheduled to go on sale across Europe in the coming months.
As a general exercise, Fiat’s new 124 Spider is at its core a retro effort. The original 124 Spider first went on sale in the late 1960s and enjoyed a relatively successful production run that lasted well over a decade. The new 124 Spider apes many of the old car’s styling cues, wrapping the Italianate look around the fourth-generation Mazda Mx-5 Miata’s basic structure, albeit with a turbocharged Fiat engine under the hood. So it should come as no surprise that, when it came time to design a higher-performance 124 Abarth, Fiat once again mined its history for inspiration.
This time, Fiat’s retro-ray homed in on the Abarth 124 Rally, a special model built from 1972 to 1975 by Fiat’s Abarth tuning arm to satisfy rally-racing homologation rules. Abarth built roadgoing Stradale versions for sale in Fiat dealerships, as well as more seriously prepped full-blown rally versions; the 2017 124 Spider Abarth you see here appears to be modeled after the tamer Stradale cars. Like the ’72 model, the new 124 Spider Abarth is lighter than its regular-production counterpart, wears an “anti-glare” matte-black hood and trunklid, and packs slightly more power, albeit without a face full of auxiliary driving lights, a raised ride height, and gravel-slinging intentions. If that’s more your bag, you’ll be excited to learn of the remastered Abarth 124 rally racingthat debuted alongside the Abarth Spider at the Geneva auto show.