When Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Peugeot Citroën merged to create Stellantis, some of us had concerns about certain brands possibly facing extinction. Abarth was certainly on that list, but the world's fourth-largest automaker promised to retain all marques and invest in them for 10 years. Yes, that also includes Lancia and DS. Living up to its promise, Stellantis has spent money on Abarth for a performance version of the new Fiat 500.
Following several sets of spy shots, Abarth took to social media to announce the premiere is scheduled for November 22 at 2 PM CET (1 PM GMT or 8 AM ET). The news comes less than a week after the Italian company simplified its lineup of petrol-fuelled hot hatches for 2023 by introducing the 595 and 695 with Turismo or Competizione specifications with luxury and sporty personalities, respectively.
2023 Abarth 500 EV spy photos
Details about the battery-powered model are shrouded in mystery, but we're anticipating a healthy boost over the Fiat 500 and its electric motor rated at 117 bhp and 220 Nm (162 lb-ft). It remains to be seen whether it will become Abarth's most powerful production car to date. Meanwhile, the 695 Biposto holds that title with its 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine dialled to 190 bhp in a pint-sized car that weighs only 997 kilograms (almost 2,200 pounds).
The new electric Abarth will be much heavier considering the Fiat-badged EV tips the scales at a little over 1,400 kg (nearly 3,100 lbs). That curb weight is for the version equipped with the bigger 42-kWh battery pack the sporty electric derivative will likely use. The most recent spy shots suggested styling tweaks won't be drastic but expect redesigned bumpers, different alloy wheels, and a bigger rear spoiler. A new logo is also in the pipeline, as are sporty seats with greater later support and other minor revisions inside the cabin.
The amped-up version will obviously be substantially quicker than the Fiat 500, which takes nine seconds to 62 mph (100 km/h) and is electronically governed to 93 mph (150 km/h). Logic tells us bigger brakes and suspension upgrades are also in the pipeline along with chassis tuning to cope with the extra power of the electric motor delivered to the front axle.