Fiat will reportedly unveil an Abarth performance variant of its electric 500 city car next year, the first new launch of the performance marque since the Abarth 124 GT debuted in 2018.
Fiat and Abarth boss Olivier François told Autocar that the automaker would confirm a scorpion-badged 500 imminently, marking the beginning of Abarth as an electric go-faster subdivision of Fiat.
Going forward, other Fiat models will receive the Abarth treatment on a case-by-case basis, with François saying he expects to have between one and three electric Abarth models at any one time.
The same thing has happened up until now with internal combustion engine models, so shifting the performance division's focus to battery electrics seems like the logical thing to do, especially since Fiat aims to become an all-electric brand by 2030.
"A year and a half ago, I said it can't be that hard [to make an Abarth version of the electric 500]. Electric cars are so fun to drive already. The good news is that we are actively working on it, and once it's confirmed, it will be relatively quick."
Olivier François, Fiat and Abarth CEO
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However, the executive added that delivering the electric Abarth 500 turned out to be more complicated than he thought.
"If you want to do a real Abarth, it's not the same electric powertrain. Once it has the power and torque you want, it's no longer the same drivetrain, nor the same transmission or brakes… The whole thing has to be adapted."
That said, the final test drives are underway, with François describing the car as "fantastic," with a "very interesting" sound. Mind you, customers will have the option to turn the sound off.
The battery-powered Abarth 500 is expected to be significantly faster than the Fiat 500e, which does 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 9.0 seconds and hits a top speed of 93 mph (150 km/h). Autocar estimates the benchmark sprint will be under 7.0 seconds and the top speed will exceed 100 mph (161 km/h). All that could come with the cost of a reduced range compared to the standard model's 199 miles (320 km), though.
We're quite sure Abarth fans won't mind that if the driving experience is worthy of the scorpion brand.