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Why We Can’t Get Enough of Unnecessarily Fast 500 Abarths

Sunday, October 16, 2016 15:07
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2011_romeo_ferraris_cinquone_s-53e0868ee52c5There’s a dilemma going on with sports cars. Power keeps rising, which is awesome. So does weight, which is significantly less awesome. As cars keep growing in size, those ever climbing power figures are increasingly meaningless. The solution: keep the power where it is and instead significantly reduce weight. But, what if you take it to the extreme end of the spectrum? Less weight with ridiculous power levels? Say, in a car that weights as much as a pencil sharpener….

A stock Fiat 500 Abarth is not a fast car. Yes, it’s overflowing with personality. Yes, it sounds way, way better than any four-banger has the right to. And yes, it is the living incarceration of go-kart handling. But it isn’t fast. Don’t get us wrong, scooting from 0-60 in 6.8 seconds isn’t bad at all for a mid-$20k car. It just isn’t exactly that mind-altering velocity we crave. However, and that’s a big, bold, italicized, very underlined however, once you start adding power, these rolling espresso shops become flat-out obscenely quick.

Case-in-point: Romeo Ferraris Abarth 500. This thing is the angriest mouse of all time. Somehow, probably due to some devious witchcraft, the 1.4L turbo four throws out 300 hp. In a car with a stripped interior. So it likely weights less than the already lighter-than-air stock Abarth. What does an additional 132 hp do for 0-60 times? No idea – we haven’t seen a consistent time show up online. Whatever it is, the cuddly little Fiat had its DNA swapped with a honey badger and this monster is the result.

Shock-and-awe performance figures aside, there’s the sheer noise modified 500 Abarths make. It’s genuinely offensive. At a local car meet, we routinely see a stage three Abarth with a straight turbo dump through the hood. It’s borderline impossible to describe what that sounds like without using highly colorful vocabulary. It’s not quite as intense, but take a listen to this example for a taste:

Are you kidding? That kind of sound coming from a 1.4L and a body that looks like something your cat would leave at the doorstep. It’s every end of the spectrum coming together in one car. Needless to say, we’re sliding a built 500 Abarth nicely into the “need” column. Giving a tiny, innocent looking compact huge power is totally, completely unnecessary. Which is why we’re completely in love.

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