Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio is a hard charger

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 26, 2013 at 11:02 am •  Published: June 26, 2013
Advertisement
;

Introduced this year in time for warm weather stateside, the 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio is a fun little car for hard-charging drivers.

They better be drivers who don't mind getting stares and comments from passersby.

You see, at 12 feet in overall length, Fiat's 500 Cabrio performance model is a cocky, yet cute bug of a car that's 13 inches shorter from bumper to bumper than the already diminutive, 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

At just 2,545 pounds, the Abarth Cabrio also is nearly 200 pounds lighter than a 2013 Mini Cooper Convertible.

And, with a 160-horsepower, turbocharged four cylinder making 170 foot-pounds of grunt, or torque for the Abarth Cabrio with standard sport-tuned suspension, low-to-the-ground stance and raucous, burbly exhaust sounds, this car can feel like it's going faster than it is.

By the way, this is before the Cabrio's power-operated, fabric top is open, allowing the exhaust sounds to become even louder in the passenger compartment.

The Abarth Cabrio's fuel economy is noteworthy, too. Combined city/highway rating of 31 miles per gallon by the federal government tops both the 24 mpg for the 2013 Miata and the 29 mpg and 30 mpg for the base, 2013 Mini Cooper Convertible and uplevel Cooper S Convertible, respectively. All numbers are for manual transmissions. The Abarth Carbrio is not available with an automatic.

But, this front-wheel drive Italian Fiat that comes out of a Mexican assembly plant isn't cheap.

Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, for the convertible Abarth is $26,700. This is $6,500 more than that for a base, 2013 Fiat 500 convertible with 135-horsepower four cylinder.

It's also more than the starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $25,945 for a 2013 Mini Cooper Convertible with 121 horsepower and 114 foot-pounds of torque and the $24,515 starting retail price for a Miata with 167 horsepower and 140 foot-pounds of torque.

Still, when engine performance and stout handling are factored in, the Abarth Cabrio's starting price seems more reasonable. Consider that a 2013 Mini Cooper S Convertible, with 181-horsepower, turbo four cylinder, has a starting retail price of $28,945.

Fiat, which is majority owner of America's Chrysler Group LLC, introduced its performance Abarth here on a 2012 Fiat 500 hatchback more than a year ago.

The Abarth Cabrio followed in 2013 to become the Fiat 500 with the highest starting retail price and the most boisterous and playful attitude.

Family and onlookers at first couldn't get over how small the car was, with one Hummer driver referring to it as a "helmet."

Plenty of sport utility vehicle drivers, particularly on highways, took time to stare, too.

But it's the taut handling and spirited driving that makes the Abarth stand out.

The test car responded readily, but without being twitchy, to steering inputs and moved with amazing agility around traffic, through city alleys, into parking spots and on curvy roads.