Geneva Motor Show: 2010 Abarth Fiat 500C

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 1, 2010

Abarth will have on display an upgraded Fiat 500C at the Geneva Motor Show, along with its own version of Punto Evo. The 500C, the first convertible to be launched by the renewed Abarth brand, will go on sale later this year in both Europe and Japan. Powering the Abarth 500C is a 1.4-liter engine that develops 140 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 206 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm in Sport mode.

The transmission system is the Abarth Competizione 5-speed gearbox, which is optimized to handle this much power. Self-ventilated front discs are available.

A set of 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels come standard but buyers could opt for the 17-inch ones. The Abarth 500C accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 8.1 seconds and has a top speed of 205 km/h. Abarth claims that the car releases 155 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

In a press release, Abarth said that this elegant and dynamic car is packed with Abarth racing spirit and the latest performance technology.

Some may think that the Abarth 500C is simply a developed version of its Fiat counterpart but it actually stands for a strategic choice by Abarth to appeal to the female consumers who prefer a car for its design, its elegance, as well as a good dose of sports performance too. Fuel consumption figures are not yet available.

Safety, comfort and driving enjoyment – these are what you can expect from the new Fiat 500C Abarth. To start off, the new 140HP Fiat 500C Abarth could be considered as one of the safest cars in its class, thanks to a number of safety features.

For instance, the new Fiat 500C Abarth is packed with seven airbags -- two front, two window, two side, and one driver knee airbags – for an overwhelming sense of safety usually not found in its class.

Not only that, the new Fiat 500C Abarth features sophisticated technical solutions designed to optimize the vehicle’s active safety and control like ABS with EBD (Electronic Braking Distribution), an advanced ESP system (Electronic Stability Program) and ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) traction control.

Furthermore, the vehicle features systems like Hill Holder that helps facilitate start offs on slopes, and HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance) that assists during emergency braking. For uncompromised comfort and safety while enjoying an energetic drive during any type of travel, the Fiat 500C Abarth comes with a number of dynamic systems and comfort-enhancing features.

For example, the Fiat 500C Abarth is provided with a front suspension derived from independent McPherson struts and with a semi-independent rear suspension featuring an inter-connecting torsion bar. These suspension schemes -- developed by Magneti Marelli -- have been optimized for the Fiat 500C Abarth to help guarantee splendid vehicle handling and a very high degree of comfort.

On the other hand, the new Fiat 500C Abarth comes with two advanced control systems -- Torque Transfer Control (TTC) and Gear Shift Indicator (GSI). TTC, in particular, helps enhance the transmission of torque from the engine to the wheels, thereby allowing excellent handling on bends.

GSI gives out a signal -- via a LED that flashes five times -- on the instrument panel to tell the driver that it is time to change gear. During Normal mode, a signal means that changing gear will help consume less fuel. On the other hand, a signal during Sport mode means changing gear will help achieve a better performance.

Press Release

Fiat 500C Abarth

The brand new Fiat 500C Abarth is the result of developments in both style and performance. This is not the first time that Abarth has undertaken the performance tuning of a convertible and the company has used all its past experience to improve both stylistic and technical factors.

While the eye is inevitably drawn to the new body finish, based on elegant two-tone colour schemes, the extended, dynamic-looking spoiler instantly reminds you that the Fiat 500C Abarth is first and foremost a high class sportster. In addition to enhancing the aggressive appearance of the 500C, the spoiler effectively boosts CZ loading and creates a smoother air flow.

The looks of the Fiat 500C Abarth have also benefited from the new design 17" diamond finished alloy wheels, including the sought-after diamond finished 5 petal white wheels.

Another strong point of the Fiat 500C Abarth is its exceptional interior climate and acoustic comfort. Thorough aerodynamic research has minimised turbulence with the roof open, allowing the sound of the road and engine to be enjoyed to the full. The new car therefore delivers a more complete sport driving experience and enhanced enjoyment. In an Fiat 500C Abarth, you can experience all the thrills of a real sports car. With the roof up, performance is on a par with a hard top. When the roof down, the range of sensations and emotions is dramatically extended, and includes all the pleasures of feeling the wind in your hair and the sound of the twin tail pipes.

The roof is electrically operated and slides along guides in the car's sides to let you enjoy your Fiat 500C Abarth all year round. A true object of design, the Fiat 500C Abarth's roof stands out for its elegant, electrically controlled movement and its impressively finished and carefully administered technical features, including a glass rear window and third brake light built into the spoiler. The soft top comes in a choice of two colours (black or titanium grey), to suit the classic Abarth colours as well as the 2 two-tone colour schemes created specially for the car: one overtly sporting (black and race white) and the other in two elegant shades of grey. Finally, a coloured graphic runs around the two-tone body, simultaneously dividing and uniting the two souls of the car: below, all the performance of a true sportster, above, all the elegance of a convertible.

Performance: Abarth tuning

The 500C is a true Abarth, as its 140 HP 1.4 Turbo T-Jet engine clearly shows. Performance is impressive: 0-100 km/h in only 8.1 seconds and a peak torque of 206 at 2000 rpm. An engine that not only delivers thrilling performance but also makes the Fiat 500C Abarth extremely pleasant to drive day in, day out.

The engine is a 4 cylinder, 16 valve, unit of 1,368 cc, fitted with an IHI RHF3-P fixed geometry turbocharger. The unit delivers exciting performance, pushing the car to a top speed of 205 km/h and accelerating it from 0 to 100 km/h in just 8.1 seconds. These exceptional figures are also the result of an overboost function engaged by pressing the "Sport" button, which modifies engine control unit mapping, turbo pressure, and steering wheel loading. Yet despite its true Abarth spirit, the 500C still only consumes 6.5 l/100 km in the combined cycle.

The car's sporting yet flexible engine is also environmentally friendly and already conforms to the strict Euro 5 standards soon to be introduced.

On top of its superb engine, the Fiat 500C Abarth boasts all the technical content of the model from which it is derived, including TTC (Torque Transfer Control) The most obvious innovation, of course, is the race-derived "ABARTH Competizione" gearbox, fitted as standard.

It was 1949 and Karl Abarth officially began marketing the first product, a race-derived gearbox with steering wheel control for the Fiat Topolino, capable of delivering quick gear changes in sporty driving conditions. With the same philosophy, more than 60 years later, the "ABARTH Competizione" is offered as standard on the Fiat 500C Abarth. This electro-hydraulically actuated, 6-speed gearbox is operated by steering wheel paddles and controlled by a system that maximises economy and performance when driven hard.

The innovative MTA-derived (Manual Transmission Automated) system is based on a conventional mechanical gearbox on which the traditional gear lever has been replaced with an actuator electronically controlled by the TCU (Transmission Control Unit) to optimise gear changes and mechanical efficiency. The gearbox can be used in two modes: auto for maximum comfort, and manual for maximum performance. "Sport" mode can be engaged in both gearbox modes and reduces gear shift times.

The new "ABARTH Competizione" gearbox makes driving even more fun thanks to race-derived functions like steering wheel paddle-shifting, just like on a real super-car.

Further confirmation that the 500C is a genuine Abarth comes from the fact that a specific "SS" tuning kit is currently being developed specially for it, offering an even higher level of performance.

The Fiat 500C Abarth is aimed at customers seeking everything the scorpion brand represents in terms of performance and innovation, plus the ultimate in style and versatility.

Safety

The Fiat 500C Abarth incorporates all the safety systems already installed on the Fiat 500 Abarth.

Designed to conform to the strictest standards, the Fiat 500C Abarth is one of the safest vehicles in its class. Stable and effective braking, exhilarating acceleration from a 140 HP engine, and ultra-reliable handling mean that the Fiat 500C Abarth will get you through even the tightest scrapes without you batting an eyelid. The 500C is equipped as standard with 7 airbags (two front, two window and two side airbags plus one driver knee airbag): a record for this class of vehicle. The new version is also equipped with sophisticated technical solutions to maximise active safety and control: these include ABS with EBD (Electronic Braking Distribution), a sophisticated ESP system (Electronic Stability Program), ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) traction control, Hill Holder to facilitate starting off on slopes, and HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance) to help with emergency braking.

The Fiat 500C Abarth also features two advanced control systems: "TTC" (Torque Transfer Control) and "GSI" (Gear Shift Indicator). TTC improves the transfer of torque from the engine to the wheels and in particular gives excellent handling on bends, making sports driving safer and more fun than ever. GSI (Gear Shift Indicator) provides a signal on the instrument panel (a LED that flashes five times) to tell you when to change gear. In Normal mode, GSI tells you that changing up will help reduce fuel consumption. In Sport mode, the signal means that changing gear will give you better performance.

Finally, the Fiat 500C Abarth is fitted with dynamic systems and comfort-enhancing equipment to ensure that occupants enjoy luxury as well as safety on all types of journey. Take the suspension system for example. The front suspension is based on independent McPherson struts, while the rear suspension is semi-independent, with an inter-connecting torsion bar. Specially developed by Magneti Marelli, both suspension schemes have been optimised specifically for the Fiat 500C Abarth to ensure superb handling and the highest possible level of comfort.

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