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Future models - Abarth - 500 - Opening Edition

Abarth 500 hits Europe with hi-po special edition

Some like it hot: The 500 Abarth Opening Edition has more power and a revised chassis in its arsenal.

Fiat launches the 500 Abarth pocket rocket with a piping-hot edition

15 Jul 2008

FIAT has launched its 500 Abarth hot hatch in Europe with a limited-issue “Opening Edition” that has more power, bigger brakes, modified suspension and a unique 17-inch wheel-and-tyre combination. But here’s the rub: only 100 will be built and then only for its home market of Italy.

The standard version of the famous Scorpion-badged Abarth is due in Australia next year and features a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine developing 99kW at 5500rpm and 180Nm at 2500rpm (or 206Nm at 3000rpm in ‘Sport’ mode).

By contrast, this Opening salvo has a more highly tuned version of the engine that develops 118kW at 5750rpm and 230Nm at 3000rpm – enough to propel the little pocket rocket, via a five-speed manual gearbox and the front wheels, from 0-100km/h in a claimed 7.4 seconds.

Top speed is 211km/h, while torque steer is minimised, if not altogether eradicated, with the standard fitment of Fiat’s “torque transfer control” system, which applies the brakes as required in order to weed out wheelspin.

60 center imageMore than a mere engine upgrade, the Opening Edition has a range of mechanical enhancements including drilled rotors front and rear, high-performance brake pads, a “powered by BMC” air filter, lower springs and 17-inch alloys painted white or titanium and wrapped in Z-rated 205/40-section Pirelli P-Zero Nero rubber.

Other less performance-oriented, but nonetheless emotive, features include red-painted callipers, tinted windows, a red-chequered-flag roof sticker (when grey paintwork is specified, the other option is “pearlised” white), leather upholstery (including a red leather steering wheel), anodised aluminium gear knob (with red engraved gears, no less), the car’s serial number on the central tunnel, and faring-mounted aluminium badges denoting the edition.

A grey or white fuel cap and key cover can also be specified. The car, which before long could materialise as permanent member of the 500 stable, is also delivered to the customer with a cover bearing a period Abarth 595 design.

The Opening Edition comes with a range-topping specification that runs to seven airbags, ABS/EBD, traction and stability control (the latter with anti-slip regulation and a hill-holder), climate-control air-conditioning, a high-grade stereo and satellite navigation.

This special Abarth is not quite as hot as the 147kW Assetto Corse version unveiled earlier this year that will be campaigned on European racetracks in 2009.

As reported earlier, an initial production run of just 49 left-hand drive versions of the 500 racecar will be produced, meaning the high-performance micro-Fiat is unlikely to ever grace Australian circuits.

It seems Australian customers are destined to wait for the standard Abarth, although with delivery times for the mainstream models currently at four months, it could be a frustratingly long wait unless the situation improves next year.

Read more:

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