New Abarth 500e revealed as brand’s first electric hot hatch
The new Abarth 500e is based on the all-electric Fiat 500, but ups the power to 152bhp
Fiat has committed the iconic 500 city car to a pure-electric future – and now it’s time for the company’s performance brand Abarth to deliver its take on the model, with the Abarth 500e.
The first all-electric Abarth in history takes the regular 500 EV’s recipe and adds several key features to give it a more sporting flavour. Chief among these is a boost to the front-mounted electric motor, which delivers 152bhp (up from the 117bhp of the Fiat version) and 235Nm of torque, to bring a 0-62mph time of seven seconds.
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Exterior styling tweaks include a more aggressive front bumper, side skirts and a rear diffuser, along with sportier alloy wheels. The convertible version gets an integrated spoiler in its fabric roof, while the hatchback, seen here, features rear privacy glass. Every Abarth 500e also has a revised version of the brand’s ‘scorpion’ logo.
Inside, there’s a three-spoke sports steering wheel, sports seats, leather upholstery with Alcantara trim, a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, and a standard 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment set-up that features ‘performance pages’ designed to show owners more detailed driving data.
Abarth claims that the 500’s latest platform – which is currently not shared with any of the sister Stellantis brands – gives the model a wider track, longer wheelbase and better weight distribution than the old combustion-powered 500s. The brand says that these gains and punchier acceleration figures help the 500e to lap its Balocco test track a second faster than its ICE predecessor.
The Abarth 500e will have a selection of three driving modes. Turismo is meant for everyday driving, with reduced power
and torque (132bhp and 230Nm) aimed at delivering a smoother experience.
Scorpion Street, meanwhile, unleashes the powertrain’s full potential as well as maximising brake-energy recuperation for urban environments with frequent stops. Scorpion Track dials back the brake regen to focus purely on performance. Abarth says that single-pedal driving is possible in Turismo and Scorpion Street settings.
Abarth/Fiat boss Olivier Francois admitted to Auto Express last year that his engineers were debating how to recreate the spirit of the combustion-engined 500’s exhaust burble on an electric car. And sure enough, the Abarth 500e features a sound generator; the company claims the digital synthesis accompanies the performance, “faithfully reproducing the sound of an Abarth petrol engine”. It’ll be offered as an alternative to the standard set-up, which includes the strum of a guitar on start-up.
The Abarth 500e uses the same battery as its Fiat sibling, at 42kWh; but range drops from 199 to 155 miles due to the increased motor output. However, the company has confirmed that its version will get the same maximum charging rate of 85kW DC. This will be able to deliver around 30 miles of range in five minutes, and take the car from near-empty to 80 per cent of capacity in a little over 30 minutes.
The Abarth 500e is being launched with a fully laden Scorpionissima version, which will be available for a pre-ordering session through enthusiasts’ clubs. The rest of us will be able to order the car from next spring, and it should land in UK dealers by early summer 2023. There’s no word yet on pricing, but expect the hot hatch to start at a figure north of £35,000.
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