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

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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

153 Search results
Abarth 500
6999 19999 GBP
  • Abarth 500

    £10,489 £10,489

    Variant name:ABARTH ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: ABARTH Black Cloth / ALcantara, 17" 10 Spoke Diamond Finish Alloy Wheels, Yellow Callipers, Black Side Stripes and Mirrors, Air Conditioning, USB Port for full i-pod Integration, TFT Technology Display, Individual TPMS, Blue & Me Bluetooth, Voice, OBC, Leather MFSW, ASR/ESP/EBD/TTC/Hill Control, 50/50 Split Folding Rear with Headrests, Abarth Carpets, Tread Plates and Alum Race Pedals. Abarth Main Dealer Facilities. One Owner Car with Full Abarth Main Dealer Serivce History. Please Ask For A Finance Quotation.

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 9000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
    Westover Group-Westover Abarth
    01202 974327 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • ABARTH 500 ABARTH 2009

    £7,444 £7,444

    ***VIEWING BY APPOINTMENT ONLY*** PLEASE CALL 0161 425 5022 TO BOOK A TEST DRIVE. WE ARE PLEASED TO OFFER THIS STUNNING ABART 500 1.4 T-JET ESSEESSE. Taken as a part exchange from the previous owner has owned this vehicle since August 2014. 3 former keepers. FREE 12 MONTHS WARRANTY. FULL SERVICE HISTORY. MOT until JUNE 2017. Very well maintained and looked after. Low genuine warranted mileage. Plenty of paperwork. Clean car and drives like a dream. HUGE SPEC! Full esseesse factory spec which includes: Koni springs, light weight 17" Esseesse alloy wheels, BMC airfilter, Esseesse remap to 160BHP. Cambelt recently done. New Michelin Pilot sport tyres all around. Upraded sound system with under seat subwoofer. New sports exhaust .Air Conditioning, Blue and Me System with Voice Activation, Audio System with CD and MP3, Blue and Me System with Bluetooth Technology, Dark Tinted Rear Windows, Electric Front Windows. HPI Clear with certificate provided. FIRST TO SEE WILL BUY THIS CAR! VIEWING BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. PLEASE GIVE US A CALL TO ARRANGE YOUR TEST DRIVE WITH ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY SALES REPRESENTATIVES. NATIONWIDE DELIVERY AVAILABLE. DEBIT AND CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED. PART EXCHANGE WELCOME. FINANCE CAN BE ARRANGED THROUGH OUR CAR FINANCE PARTNER ZUTO. WE ARE OPEN 7 DAYS 9AM-7PM. LOCATED IN NORTH MANCHESTER (OL8 4PQ). VISIT www.bespokevehiclegroup.co.uk TO VIEW OUR WIDE RANGE OF STOCK.

    • Mileage: 33372 mi
    • Engine size: 1.368
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £6,999 £6,999

    17'' Alloys, Full service history To View car on YouTube enter Abarth GK10UKCOur Abarth Bossa Nova White is such a good looking car & driving it will put a smile on your face. Its a 3 owner car with 3 Abarth Dealer & 2 Independent Stamps, a Major Service has just been completed ready for this sale including Plugs. The MOT is valid July 2017, the 17'' Alloys are unmarked & the Tyres look new, the Calipers are painted Red to match the Livery & Mirror Caps. Usual specification with Ice Cold A/C & Blue & Me Bluetooth with the upgraded Inter Scope Speaker system. Overall the car is in great condition & drives without fault. HPI Clear - 6m Warranty included in the sale - All PX welcomed & Finance Arranged. Viewing Appointment only

    • Mileage: 31300 mi
    • Engine size: 1368
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £8,695 £8,695

    Air Conditioning, Privacy Glass, Parking Sensors, Full Leather, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, iPod Connectivity, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Keyless Entry, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Colour Coded Interior, Head Restraints, Retractable Headrests, ABS, Air Bag, Curtain Airbags, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Rear Wash/wipe, Electric Front Windows, Electric Mirrors, CD Player, Radio, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Stereo, 17'' Alloys This Vehicle is available to view at any one of our RAC Approved branches. For more information and to arrange a test drive please contact the Bishops Stortford branch on 01279 656000 or alternatively Kings Langley on 01923 270000. Part exchange welcome, Finance available regardless of your credit rating, all our cars are Hpi checked and are supplied with upto 3 years RAC Platinum Warranty and RAC GAP Insurance Available, We are a private company with over 30 years experience within the motor trade. Situated in Bishop's Stortford only 15 mins from JCT 27 on the M25 or 5 mins from JCT 8 on the M11 all of our cars are hpi checked and come with a comprehensive warranty., www.totallytradedirect.co.uk

    • Mileage: 34000 mi
    • Engine size: 1368
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £13,895 £13,895

    Variant name:595 TURISMO MTA ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 595 TURISMO MTA Natural Tan Leather, 17" Diamond Cut 10 Spoke Alloy Wheels, Upgraded Koni Dampers, Red Callipers, Ventilated and Cross-drilled Discs with Brembo Pads, TFT Technology Display, Individual Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Rear Tint Privacy, Climate Control, Rear Park Assist, Anti-dazzle Rear View Mirror, USB with i-pod Integration, Blue & Me Bluetooth, Voice, OBC, Leather MFSW, Abarth Carpets, Sill Plates and Aluminium Race Pedals. Abarth Main Dealer Facilities. P/x Welcome. Please Ask For A Finance Quotation.

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 6463 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £9,989 £9,989

    Variant name:ABARTH ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: ABARTH Black Sports Cloth, 17"10 Spoke Alloy Wheels, Yellow Callipers, 50/50 Split Rear Seat, 7 TFT Multipurpose Screen, ABS Including HBA, ASR, Abarth Corsa Mats, Abarth Leather Steering Wheel, Blue&Me - Hands-Free System, Hill Hold Assist, Air Conditioning, Radio/CD/MP3-Player and USB Port, Steering Wheel Controls, TTC (Torque Transfer Control),

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 16459 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale

    £12,470 £12,470

    UKI (Sudbury) Limited are pleased to offer this lovely one former keeper 2013/13 Abarth 595C Competizione for sale presented in Gara white. This 595C is in excellent condition throughout and comes with full Abarth main dealer service history having the last service carried out at 19104 miles on 24-05-2016 at Glyn Hopkin in Chelmsford.;;This Abarth 595 has got some great features, these are - Fully electic convertible roof, Gara white metallic paint, Rear parking sensors, Blue and Me mobile phone connection, 595 sport bucket seats, Front fog lights, Monza sports exhaust, Multi function sports steering wheel, Air conditioning, Sports button, 17" multi spoke diamond cut alloy wheels.;;All of our vehicles come with the remainder of their manufacturers warranty (where applicable) and are HPI clear, they also come with an M.O.T with no advisories (where applicable) and a standard 3 month warranty with options to upgrade to 2 years, we also have trained valets who are experienced in applying the market leading Williams F1 Ceramic paint protection which we can offer at discounted rates to all of our customers.

    • Mileage: 22900 mi
    • Engine size: 1.368
    For sale
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