You’ll have read reviews of the Fiat 500 Abarth before, of course. But anyone considering buying the performance supermini might like to know what it’s like to actually drive one.
You can read all the facts and figures on the Internet that you like, but they won’t give you a feel for how a car performs on the open road, or track.
The Fiat 500 Abarth comes with a smallish engine and just 160bhp. It will accelerate to 60mph in seven seconds. It’s fast, but not startlingly so. There are other, faster cars out there. So why would you choose the Abarth?
Well, apart from the fact that it just looks drop-dead gorgeous, there are few cars on the road that are such a scream to drive.
One short test drive will convince you that the Fiat 500 Abarth is a total blast. First up, you can dispense with the radio. Just open the window and listen to the exhaust. It offers the only notes you’ll need.
But this is far from being a Fiat 500 with a trumped-up exhaust note. It’s a pocket rocket of tiny fun. The turbo pulls forever, despite the modest pony-power, and the torque can actually pin you back in the seat if you hit the gas hard enough. You’ll be getting in touch with your inner demon.
How does the Fiat 500 Abarth handle? Well, it’s not track material. But you can still throw it into corners and it comes up trumps, even on Britain’s potholed roads. This is the performance car that you can actually use every day – on the school run, to commute, or visit the supermarket. How about that for a USP?
Make no mistake, though, the Abarth isn’t a luxury car. You’re buying something with a small footprint that performs and yet is practical enough to use daily. Unlike lots of models these days, it makes no pretence at being good at everything. But when was the last time you actually looked forward to jumping in your car and driving to B&Q? Or doing the school run? The Abarth will do that to you.
The reason for that is one word: personality. That’s what sets this little beast apart. It’s a little bit Marmitey – you’ll love it or you’ll hate it. But few vehicles come with as much character as standard.
Yes, there’s compromise involved in owning a Fiat 500 Abarth. It’s small and not as practical as it might be. But driving it simply takes your breath away. It’s fast, nimble and exhilarating. It makes you feel glad to be alive. And if that isn’t good enough reason to part with £14,000, I don’t know what is.
You can test drive the Fiat Abarth 500 in the north east of England. Just call in to Richard Hardie’s showrooms in Silverlink, Newcastle.