Judging from the sales of the Fiat 500, it seems that the reception given to the little Italian car wasn’t exactly warm. Fiat’s US dealers were just able to sell 19,769 Fiat 500s in 2011, and only 5,138 units for the first two months this year. US consumers were just not impressed with the Fiat 500, which could only offer 101hp of power.
Fiat, however, may just have the right solution for its low sales problem -- the Fiat 500 Abarth.The latest Fiat 500 model, which arrived at dealers’ showrooms this spring, has better specs and figures than the base model. The Fiat 500 Abarth is the creation of an automobile designer that started tuning Fiats in the late 1950s.
Abarth, who founded carmaker Abarth & C. SpA, was responsible for developing performance parts for the popular Fiat Cinquecento (500). Fiat bought his company in the early '70s, with Abarth retaining its name as Fiat's performance brand.
As for the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth, the company will roll out the first units to dealers later this month and early this year. The 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth is powered by Fiat's MuliAir turbocharged 1.4-cylinder engine that offers 160hp of output and 170 pounds-feet of torque, which is 73% higher than the base Fiat 500 car.
Aside from the engine, Fiat also made sure that it gave the Fiat 500 Abarth all other enhancements that suit the newfound glory of the car – stiffer shock absorbers and springs for better handling, improved brakes, and faster steering.
Fiat also fitted sticky tires and other performance enhancements to the Fiat 500 Abarth, which is aimed to rival Volkswagen GTI and the Mini Cooper. Already receiving good reviews before the roll out, the Fiat 500 could be acquired for just $22,700, including freight.