Abarth’s first EV will be based on the Fiat 500
The future of Abarth is electric and for the first time we’ve spied Fiat’s performance sub-brand testing its new battery-powered hot hatch. We expect the full reveal sometime in 2023, with the Abarth EV rivalling the upcoming Renault 5-based Alpine R5.
As Fiat CEO Olivier François told us earlier this year, Abarth will retain its wild styling cues for its electric cars. “The looks are the same. We need to be a little bit more extrovert. Abarth is always a little bit over the top, with spoilers and wheels,” he said.
Although this test car is heavily clad in camouflage, we can see the EV will adhere to Abarth’s typically eye-catching design. At the front there’s a redesigned bumper that juts out further than the one on the standard Fiat 500. The side mouldings are likely housing a wider track, coupled with large wheel haunches to give the electric hot hatch a more aggressive stance.
At the rear we can see a huge roof spoiler, which could gain the same manual adjustability as seen on the current Abarth hot hatch. Bespoke alloy wheels for Abarth’s new car should also appear. Performance details have not been revealed but expect it to comfortably beat the fastest version of the Fiat 500. In the standard car the mid-level and range topping versions get a 42kWh battery producing 116bhp, allowing for a 0-62mph time of 9 seconds and a 93mph top speed. Abarth’s electric 500 will need a significant boost in power to match another upcoming retro hot hatch – the 215bhp Renault 5-based Alpine R5.
In terms of range the electric 500 can offer up to 199 miles but with Abarth focusing on performance, the sportier version will likely not be able to travel as far on a single charge.
The company is also undecided as to whether it gives the Abarth 500 a fake petrol-engine soundtrack, or to accentuate the car’s electric motor and gearbox whine. Olivier François previously told Auto Express, “Do you want to put a super Abarth-ish sound or we can also invent a kind of Formula E sound that’s very loud”.
Since the demise of the 124 Spider, the Abarth model range has been limited to the 595 models that are closely related to the old petrol-powered Fiat 500. So with this all-new EV model replacing the old car, Abarth will no longer have any internal combustion-powered models. There will also be another fully-electric Abarth launched by 2025, which will also be a derivative of a Fiat.
Check out the best hot hatches on sale right now…