Bizarrely, the official ratings for the Abarth-tuned 500 and the regular 500 Turbo are the same at 6.9 L/100 km highway and 8.5 city. I saw a hilariously distant 10.2 L/100 km in my week – but at least three of those litres per 100 km were “heh, I like this noise” litres. Superfluous revs for the win!
That five-speed box could be sharper but the short little gear lever is entertaining to flick through its gates and falls nicely to hand mounted high in the dashboard.
The meaty Abarth steering wheel with its red-stitched leather and sculpted thumb-rests is as sexy as a steering wheel can be and as ergonomically perfect too – especially with the FCA UConnect audio controls behind the spokes. The steering itself is light even in Sport mode but the 500 responds quickly to its commands.
The three pedals are welcome but I wanted the brake pedal a little closer to the accelerator for heel-and-toe downshifts.
You can get a two-pedal version with a six-speed auto if you like making the car gods angry, but please don’t.
That sport mode I spoke of livens up the throttle appreciably, and also changes the gauge to a delightfully angry red. The fuel economy meter changes to a throttle percentage meter, just in case the metal under your foot fails to inform you that you are at 100 percent throttle. The boost gauge to the left of the cluster also gets a glowing orange “SPORT” sign.
Style-wise the Abarth gets plenty of firepower, including the vivid red engine cover complete with silver scorpion logo. The optional Abarth graphics down the side of our baby-blue tester are a nice touch, as are the optional 17-inch wheels. The blue tone is a new colour for 2016 and a welcome addition, in my opinion this is the best available colour for the Abarth. It carries the right balance of playful and exotic – perfectly matching this playful little Italian-inspired retro rocket.
And if anyone is ever confused which Fiat this is, there is an Abarth logo visible at every conceivable angle.