Geneva Preview: Abarth 500C, Punto Evo Set to Debut

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Geneva Preview: Abarth 500C, Punto Evo Set to Debut

Fiat’s performance-minded Abarth brand will unveil two new models, based off of Fiat products that were introduced last year. Up first is the Abarth 500C, an upgraded version of the Fiat 500C (the C, standing for convertible). The car isn’t technically a convertible, but rather features a retractable cloth top and retains the roof rails. Power comes from Fiat’s turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder with 140-hp, allowing for a 0-62 mph time of 7.9 seconds. Also included are upgraded wheels, brakes, a new suspension setup, aero kit and stylish two-tone paint scheme. There’s no official word, but we’re likely to see this model join Fiat’s lineup in North America in the next several years – after the standard 500 and 500C are introduced.

Next up, Abarth will also debut a larger and more powerful model, based on the Fiat Punto Evo. Looking like a hot-hatch we’d love to have in our garage, this model gets the same 1.4-liter turbocharged Multiair engine but tuned to 165-hp. (A 178-hp Esse-Esse model will also be available). It gets the usual list of wheel, brake and suspension upgrades as well as a typically-sporty aero kit and paint scheme.

We can’t say we’ve been overly excited about Fiat’s return to North America, but if it includes these Abarth models, we’re stoked!

Click here for AutoGuide’s live Geneva Auto Show coverage starting Monday, March 1st.

GALLERY: Abarth Puno Evo

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GALLERY: Abarth 500C

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Official release after the jump:

PRESS RELEASE:

Abarth at the 80th International Motor Show in Geneva Abarth is presenting a number of important new products at Geneva in response to intense public interest, and to confirm the Fiat Group’s investment in Abarth. In particular, at this year’s Geneva show, the house of the scorpion will be presenting the Abarth Punto Evo and the Abarth 500C, the latest two performance cars based on already popular and acclaimed Fiat models.

The Abarth Punto Evo is the sporty, high-tech version of the Punto Evo that Fiat introduced last September. Abarth is aiming, with this model, to reinforce its standing with young enthusiastic drivers, a process begun with the Grande Punto, which has sold best to customers in the 18 to 30 age group.

A great deal of curiosity has also been built up ahead of the launch of the Abarth 500C, the first convertible to be launched by the renewed Abarth company. This elegant and dynamic car is packed with Abarth racing spirit and the latest performance technology. The Abarth 500C is more than just a developed version of its Fiat counterpart. On the contrary, it represents a strategic choice by Abarth. With it, the company is making clear advances towards those members of the female public who are seeking not only design and elegance but a good dose of sports performance too.

Both new models will go on sale over the next few months through Abarth’s official dealer network in Europe and Japan, closely followed by other markets, and boosting the company’s already excellent results for 2009.

Proof that the direction taken by Abarth is the right one comes from the statistics. These announce quite clearly that the brand is experiencing continuous growth: from 2008 to the present day, Abarth has sold 20,000 cars, including 8,400 Abarth 500s and 2,700 Abarth Grande Puntos, to say nothing of 4,600 performance kits. So it is no wonder that this impressive commercial success has led to an equally rapid growth in the number of dealers and official performance centres associated with the marque.

As well as consolidating its existing markets, Abarth is also extending its network in strategic European towns and cities like Amsterdam and Paris, and expanding into east European markets like Rumania, as well as Mediterranean basin markets like Israel.

The Abarth distribution network is already unique, boasting 141 showrooms, 140 official performance centres and 300 service centres in Europe. These figures do not take account of the recently established “Abarth Racing” performance tuning network, which already boasts 6 centres holding exclusive sales and assistance rights for customers purchasing Abarth’s race-ready models.

The stand at the Geneva show Abarth’s stand at the 2010 edition of the Geneva motor show has been completely redesigned to provide a worthy stage for the international debut of two new models.

The concept behind the new stand is one of simplicity: the stand’s design is not a means of communication in itself, but serves only to drawing attention to the values of the Abarth brand. Wherever its cars are found, Abarth is such a clearly recognised protagonist that it can afford to present itself to the public without frills, in its most essential form. This year’s more essential stand helps focus on the two new Abarths making their world debut in Geneva and destined to enrich the Abarth range.

Abarth’s stage for presenting itself to the world consists of a spacious stand divided into two main illuminated areas, each focusing on one of the new cars.

A huge pane of glass in the centre of the space carries the instantly recognisable Abarth logo, while a large LED display creates a backdrop to the new cars and functions as a central feature in the stand’s design.

The entire stand is based on symmetric, straight lines, right angles and neutral, almost unnoticeable materials. White structural components and an abundance of transparent materials eliminate visual “noise” and focus clearly on content.

Technical drawings of Abarth vehicles are displayed under the glass floor. This intelligent solution makes the drawings easily visible to all visitors, reflecting the era when Abarth cars used to have partly raised engine covers to display their performance parts.

Intangible content like light, sound, and digital media is used not as a mere accessory, but to help identify the stand’s focal points in a more integrated and coordinated manner, and to create a sense of dynamism and movement. The neutral and minimalist space is filled and coloured by scenes representing a sequence of Abarth values: challenge, passion, ingenuity, Italian style, participation, determination, and authenticity.

The stand creates a fascinating and warm welcome to the world of Abarth and provides an ideal context for presenting the two latest expressions of the marque of the scorpion: the Abarth Punto Evo and the Abarth 500C.

  • Mel

    I read somewhere that the Abarth is meant to a more “feminine” model but I think it looks far more masculine. Might be the colouring. I like it though, too many city cars look girly.

  • Colum Wood

    That’s funny, I don’t think Abarth is trying to attract female buyers with the models they use at their booth.

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