Starkly contrasted with the rest of the Chrysler corporate display at the Detroit Auto Show are the booths of Ferrari, Maserati and Fiat. The small Fiat dislay showcased two models set to arrive in North American in the near future: the much talked about Fiat 500 and the relatively unknown Abarth 500.
The Abarth model won’t be unknown for long, however, as it is hard-core version of the 500 from Fiat’s performance-oriented Abarth division. While the 500 features Fiat’s 1.4-liter Multiair engine with 100-hp at 6500 rpm and 95 ft-lbs of torque at 4250 rpm, the Abarth model sports a turbocharged version of the same powerplant and boasts 170-hp at 6750 rpm and 170 ft-lbs of torque at 3000 rpm. On top of all this, it features highly bolstered seats (with racing harnesses on the display car), light-weight wheels and a tiny set of Brembos.
In many ways, if the 500 is supposed to compete with the MINI Cooper, then the Abarth 500 is equivalent to a John Cooper Works. Sure it doesn’t make near the power, but it also looks significantly lighter.
Fiat is set to launch the 500 in North America in the near future, with the Abarth model expected to follow. Other Chrysler models (likely rebadged Fiat models) are expected to feature these engines as well.