Fiat documents seem to support rumors of a new model slotted between the standard Fiat 500 and the Abarth. The company’s filing with the NHTSA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) indicate a plan to present a 500T Sport for the 2013 model year. Just in case you were wondering, the T in 500T stands for “turbo.”
This new model is equipped with a weaker version of the U.S.-spec Abarth’s 160-horse turbo four. The chart that Fiat submitted to the NHTSA provided information on how to decode VIN numbers. It shows that a “500T Sport” is listed under Fiat’s 2013-model-year offerings. Fiat listed the trim levels for the base 500 as Pop, Sport, and Lounge.
However, the 500T Sport is listed separately from those and is set apart from the 500C convertible models. It also marks the first time that an Abarth is listed among the convertibles. This isn’t too surprising as there really is such a car but Fiat hasn’t confirmed its arrival to the U.S. yet. The introduction of the 500T is supported with CARB paperwork shown last month. Every engine that will be offered for sale in California gets its own certification even if it will be fitted in numerous vehicles.
California had certified a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine to be used in several Dodge Dart models, the Fiat 500 Abarth, as well as another Fiat 500. For now, the Abarth is the lone 500 to feature a turbo 1.4.
However, this engine is exactly what is expected to be placed in the 500T Sport. This isn’t the first time that Fiat uses this strategy. The 500 Abarth offered in Europe delivers only 133 hp in regular trim but the Esseesse or “SS” kits deliver more power. This likely means that the 500T has an output of around 130hp.
In the 1960s, Karl Abarth’s cars were called “small but wicked.” It’s with this same bravado that the new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth reaches the US with its successful racing traditions on European roads and raceways that include superlative precision and performance, purposed and strong styling, high power-to-weight ratio, and limited-production.
Leveraging the excitement from the new 2012 Fiat 500 (Cinquecento), the Fiat 500 Abarth is engineered for track-day aficionados and driving traditionalists wanting the best high-performance small car with a high-class Italian exotic pedigree.
Complete with a completely new 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, Abarth-tuned suspension and brake systems, race-inspired design, and technology not normally found in a small car, the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth releases the brand's famous performance legacy to the streets of the USA.
The new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth’s strong styling embraces the Abarth brand’s fully purposed and functional details designed to increase performance and enhance the sleek, unpretentious Cinquecento design language.
The exterior of the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth’s design embodies the pure essentials of Italian performance: purposed function and increased emotion design augmentations, blended stylishly to better aerodynamics, engine cooling, and road grip. The driver is enclosed in an athletic and high tech looking cockpit, full of performance equipment and select details, making the 500 Abarth a top-class machine.