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Abarth 500: Buying guide and review (2008-present)

Abarth 500: Buying guide and review (2008-present) Classic and Performance Car
Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500
Fiat’s original 500 – a style icon that sold over 3.5 million units – made a great basis for a hot little Abarth-tuned pocket rocket, and re-imagined 500 introduced in 2007 was no different. Happily for Fiat, the new cars cutesy retro looks and upmarket cabin styling have gained it many followers, and like the original a number of special edition Abarth models have been introduced, albeit without the competition pedigree.
 
Now in its ninth year of production, the Abarth range encompasses a number hotted up 500s, from the feisty 133bhp 500 right up to the fiery 187bhp 695 Biposto. Always considered to be one of the more pricey options when new, as a used buy the 500 offers a lot of fun for a reasonable outlay. Take a read through our guide, and be sure not to take any risks when buying.
 

Which one to buy?

 
While the same 1.4-litre turbocharged engine powers all Abarth models, detail changes in power output and suspension setups make for a diverse list of cars to choose from – as well as an almost endless list of special and limited editions. 
 
The Abarth 500 first saw light of day one year after the standard Fiat 500 was launched. Weighing just over a ton and producing 133bhp from its turbocharged 1.4-litre motor, performance was much improved, and those looking for even more could option the £2500 Esseesse performance package. This provided a 25bhp power boost as well as uprated suspension, brakes and 17-inch wheels. 
 
In 2009 the Abarth range became available in convertible form too.  The MTA manual automated transmission became optional on all Abarth variants. The crazy 695 Biposto with 187bhp was introduced in 2011, intended for track use but driven mostly in Chelsea, it came equipped with a rorty Akrapovic exhaust, larger diameter brakes and adjustable suspension. A £3500 Track Kit was optionable, which added a data logger and other track biased extras. Most extreme of all was the £8000 six-speed dog-leg gearbox and LSD option. The base price before all of this additional madness was added stood at £32,000, placing the 695 Biposto right up there with some very capable machinery. To its credit, it can hold its head high on the track and is a real blast down back roads.
 
2012 saw the introduction of the slightly tamer 595 Competizione and Turismo variants, featuring 160bhp and a host of extras, they slotted in above the standard Abarth 500. Both came with a whole host of additional equipment such as 17-inch wheels and aluminium detailing. In addition, Turismo specced cars got leather interior and climate control while Competizione models had Monza exhausts and cross-drilled brake discs. 
 
Similarly priced competitors may offer a more resolved ride and better handling at the limit but few are as visually compelling. The lack of polish does little to diminish the Abarth smile factor! Stick to the base models with 16 inch wheels if your trips are mainly about town, the more powerful versions are better suited to blasts in the country or your nearest race track. The limited edition cars such as the 50th Anniversario and Yamaha Factory Racing add a touch of exclusivity and are not priced much higher than standard versions, they are however be harder to find. 
 

Performance and specs

 
Abarth 500
Engine 1368cc, 16 valve DOHC I4 
Power 133bhp @ 5500rpm 
Torque 152lb ft torque @ 3000rpm
Top speed 128mph 
0-62mph 7.9sec 
Fuel consumption 43.5mpg 
Gearbox Five-speed manual/Manual transmission automated (MTA)
 

Dimensions and weight

 
Wheelbase 2300mm
Length 3657mm
Width 1627mm
Height 1485mm
Weight 1120kg
 

Common problems

 
• The strong little 1.4-litre turbocharged motor that is common to all Abarth 500s has proven to be a reliable unit, oil change intervals are a long 18,000 miles and some specialists recommend changing them more frequently than that.

• ECU modification is popular and a quick way to release some extra bhp, however as always stick to reputable specialists when having any work carried out.

• Despite the fact that many components are shared with the standard Fiat 500, servicing and maintenance needs to be carried out at Abarth specialists which can be a bit of an inconvenience.

• Manual gearboxes are strong but there have been one or two failures so check that there is no crunching in any of the gears on your test drive.

• Early cars had connectivity and software issues with the Blue&Me multimedia system so make sure everything is working correctly (especially USB ports) on pre-2009 cars.

• Other than a few issues with door handles and washer jets working loose, the exterior should be trouble free as well. Body stickers tend to start peeling after a few years, new items can be ordered from the dealers.
 

Model history

 
2008: Abarth 500 released with 133bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre engine. Esseesse upgrade offers 25bhp, 17inch wheels and uprated brakes. Available with either a five-speed manual or Manual Transmission Automated (MTA) gearboxes
2009: Abarth models now available in convertible body style
2011: Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari with 187bhp and comprehensive special equipment introduced. 152 units sold
2012: Abarth 595 160bhp Competizione and Turismo models introduced in both coupe and       convertible body styles. Luxurious Abarth 695 Maserati edition introduced. 499 units sold
2015: 187bhp Abarth 695 Biposto Record sold in limited numbers-133 in total. 138bhp Abarth 595 Trofeo Edition introduced-250 sold, for UK market only. 595 Competizione receives power boost to 178bhp and some new equipment.
2016: Abarth range updated in line with refreshed Fiat 500 line-up. Exterior changes include LED daytime running lights and redesigned bumpers. The interior gets a 7-inch infotainment system 
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
• www.abarthcars.co.uk – Manufacturer site
• www.abarthownersclub.com – Abarth enthusiast site
• www.abarthisti.co.uk – Abarth enthusiast site
 

Summary and Prices

 
Perhaps not the sharpest small hatch on the block dynamically, the Abarth range focuses on style and having fun rather than outright driving precision. Buying new may not make the best financial sense but used models can offer real value. 2009 model 500s starts at a very reasonable £6000, while at the other end of the spectrum nearly new 695’s trade at around £28,000. 
 
A well balanced option is the 2012 595 Competizione, offering 160bhp, a sharp if somewhat bumpy drive and that addictive sound from the Monza exhaust. Good ones can be found for £12,000. Residuals are strong and should remain so as the latest 2016 face lift has retained the familiar 500 silhouette. The harder suspension and aggressive power delivery of the top variants may be too much for some, but there is a model to suit most tastes. Best of all, they all have the ability to get you smiling as soon as you slide behind the wheel.
 
Word: John Tallodi
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Last updated: 23rd Sep 2016
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Abarth 500 cars for sale

119 Search results
Abarth 500
7450 36500 GBP
  • Abarth 500

    £12,000 £12,000

    Variant name:Hatchback ,Derivative:1.4 T-Jet 140 3dr Auto ,Variant: 1.4 16V T-Jet 140 3dr Auto Abarth 500 1.4 16V T-Jet 140 3dr Auto

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 8403 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
    Glyn Hopkin-Fiat - St. Albans
    01727 818 453 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Abarth 500

    £15,500 £15,500

    Variant name:595 COMPETIZIONE ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 595 COMPETIZIONE A beautiful example of the Abarth Competitzione with stunning performance as well, supplied with the balance of the manufacturers warranty and only just serviced!

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 3350 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £12,250 £12,250

    Variant name:595 ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 595 Finished in Record Grey with Black Cloth Interior, Specification Includes 16” Spoked Alloy Wheels,5” Touchscreen, U-Connect Radio, Aux Interface, Electric Front Windows, Bluetooth, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), ABS Braking, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Remote Central Locking and security System.

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 13899 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £15,495 £15,495

    Abarth 595 convertible finished in black with tan leather upholstery . Fully electric convertible roof , alloy wheels , electric windows and door mirrors, bluetooth for music streaming and telephone operation and climate controlled air conditioning.

    • Mileage: 17652 mi
    • Engine size: 1368
    For sale
  • Abarth 500 1,4 695 Tributo Ferrari

    €36,500(£30,977.55) €36,500(£30,977.55)

    Abarth 500 1,4 695 Tributo Ferrari Equipment: Samler objekt Limited Produceret 180 HK her er bilen til den rigtige samler Suveræn fin stand Ny serviceret skal ses Prisen er ekskl reg afgift ring for info.

    • Year: 2010
    For sale
  • ABARTH 500 FiatArbarth 500 Esseesse Edition Monza Exhaust 2011

    £7,990 £7,990

    2011 Fiat/Abarth 1.4 500 T-Jet Abarth - Esseesse Kit Fitted + Monza Exhaust;;A superb example of the Abarth 500 fitted with the desirable additional Essesse Kit which includes uprated brakes/suspension, 17" inch alloys, and increase BHP in addition to the special Monza Exhaust. Looks and drives superbly. Supplied with a full service history which includes a cambelt replacement and sold with a NEW MOT. High specification which includes leather interior, climate control, 'blue and me', remote central locking, electric windows, CD stereo etc.;;* LIBRARY PHOTO FOR ILLUSTRATION ONLY WHILST VEHICLE IN PREPARATION *;;Our price includes an independent service if due, NEW or long MOT and an extendable warranty.;;* Extended comprehensive warranties available;* Generous part exchange allowance. ;* 5-day free drive away insurance. ;* Debit and credit card payments accepted. ;* All vehicles are checked against the HPI register. ;* Appointments outside of normal opening hours can be arranged. ;;Not every car is kept on forecourt display so please telephone before visiting to ensure availability.;;Shorts of Heathfield Car Sales, Horam, Heathfield, East Sussex. ;;Just google the name ‘Shorts of Heathfield’ for website and full information. ;;Tel: 01435 408300

    • Mileage: 39000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.368
    For sale
  • Abarth/Fiat 500

    £9,989 £9,989

    Climate Control, Sports Seats, CD Player, Red Abarth Stripe & Mirrors, Split Folding Rear Seats, Electrochromic Rear View Mirror, Front Fogs, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Full Abarth Styling and Alloys. Full Service History. www.imperials.co.uk ------ Please call us to Confirm which of our 3 Essex Showrooms your desired vehicle is located at before travelling to see us, Everyone of Our Cars Goes Through Our In House Work Shop Prior to Sale by Our Fully Qualified and Experienced Technicians - Buy with Confidence, For up to 20 images of this vehicle and an Instant Finance Quote please view www.imperials.co.uk, For Out of Office Hours Enquiries please call Tony 07956 564440 and he will be happy to help, We are also good buyers of all prestige, Sports and 4x4 vehicles so why not give us a call for a price on yours, Please Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter, Thank You, www.imperials.co.uk

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 17000 mi
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £9,950 £9,950

    Variant name:Custom ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: Custom Black with Red Decals, Full Black Cloth Interior, Piano Black Interior Trim, 5-speed Manual Gearbox, 3 Doors, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Heated Rear Windscreen, Driver Information Display, Air Conditioning, Blue & Me, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Abarth 16" Alloy Wheels.

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 38450 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £9,989 £9,989

    Variant name:595 ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 595 Black Sports fabric, 16in Abarth Painted 8-Spoke Alloy Wheels, 50/50 Split Rear Seat Backrest, Height-Adjustable Drivers Seat, Heated Rear Screen, ASR, Height-Adjustable Steering Wheel, Remote Control Electric Door Locking, Switchable Passengers Airbag, Manual Air Conditioningl, TTC (Torque Transfer Control), ESP Including MSR, 7 TFT Multipurpose Panel, Abarth Leather Steering Wheel, Centre Console, Radio/CD/MP3-Player and USB Port, Immobiliser, Rear Wash/Wipe, Front Headrest and Height-Adjustable Rear Headrest, ABS Including HBA, Body Coloured Bumpers, Drivers Airbag, Dualdrive Electric Power Steering with Sport Function, Fog Lights, Blue&Me - Hands-Free System, EBD, 4 x 40 W Speakers and 2 x 30 W Tweeters, Multi-Function Steering Wheel Controls

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 12874 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £10,500 £10,500

    Variant name:595 ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 595 Absolutely stunning in unmarked metallic Grey this one really looks the part. At this bargain price its sure to go quick so don't delay!

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 5259 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £10,990 £10,990

    Variant name:ABARTH 595 TURISMO ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: ABARTH 595 TURISMO FULL ABARTH HISTORY ABARTH 595 TURISMO just the 1 former keeper with Abarth service history with 4 stamps in the book mot will be March 2018 and the car will come with 2 keys features include leather interior phone preparation and parking sensors lovely condition great car A 2 YEAR WARRANTY is available with Breakdown Recovery, MOT Test Insurance for ONLY £349 All of our cars have a full mechanical appraisal, HPI checked & cleared, 6 month warranty Included with the option of a further 2 years, Including MOT insurance, roadside recovery, parts, labour, with 7 Auto Devotion sites stocking over 250 cars supplied from part exchanges across our group, Competitive Finance Available.

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 16038 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £8,499 £8,499

    Variant name:ABARTH ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 05D WHAT A LOT OF FUN THE ABARTH 500 IS! STUNNING LITTLE POCKET ROCKET WHICH WE HAVE SOLD PREVIOUSLY. WITH GREAT MILEAGE AND AN ABARTH DEALERSHIP SERVICE HISTORY. IN WHITE DARK GREY ALLOYS AND BLACK CLOTH UPHOLSTERY + SPORTS SEATS & REAR PARK ASSIST!

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 42221 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £11,599 £11,599

    Variant name:595 ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 1.4 595 3 DOOR, AIR CONDITIONING THIS CAR HAS BEEN HAND PICKED BY STEBBINGS, FULLY VALETED TO THE HIGHEST STANDARD! IT COMES SUPPLIED WITH UPTO DATE SERVICE HISTORY , HPI CHECKED AND CLEAR. PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO VIEW OVER 500 MORE VEHICLES! LOW RATE FINANCE AND PART EXCHANGE AVAILABLE. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained, however, errors may occur. Do not rely entirely on this information but confirm with us about items which may affect your decision to purchase.

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 3275 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £9,495 £9,495

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Remote Central Locking, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Trip Computer, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, MP3 Player, Radio

    • Mileage: 36339 mi
    • Engine size: 1368
    For sale
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