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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
Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500 Abarth 500
Last updated: 23rd Sep 2016
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Abarth 500 cars for sale

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Abarth 500
6995 18495 GBP
  • Abarth 500

    £14,000 £14,000

    Variant name:595 COMPETIZIONE ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 1.4 T-Jet Competizione 3dr

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 8485 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
    Rockingham Cars-Corby Abarth
    01536 268991 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Abarth 500

    £6,995 £6,995

    ABS, Multiple Airbags, Power Steering, Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Full Leather, Remote Central Locking, CD Player, Alloy wheels Fiat 500 Abarth For Sale Wintry Cars Harlow Essex

    • Mileage: 43000 mi
    • Engine size: 1368
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £13,495 £13,495

    Rear Headrests, Sports Seats, Head Restraints, Remote Central Locking, Locking Wheel Nuts, Immobiliser, Central Locking, iPod Connectivity, Climate Control, Bluetooth, Air Conditioning, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Trip Computer, Multiple Airbags, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Rear Wash/wipe, Radio, CD Player, Sunroof, Power Hood, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors Two Tone Paint, Abarth Corsa Sports Seats, Upgrades - Bicolour Paint, Abarth Corsa Seats by Sabelt in Leather/Alcantara, Interscope Hi-Fi Sound System, Standard Features - Rear Parking Sensors, Automatic Climate Control, Hill Holder, Radio/CD/MP3-Player and USB Port, Blue&Me - Hands-Free System, Tinted Rear and Rear Door Windows, 17in Abarth Diamond-Finish 5-Spoke Anthracite Background Alloy Wheels with 205/40 R17 Tyres, Electric Front Windows, CD Player, Electric door mirrors, Fog Lights, Immobiliser, Power steering, Remote Control Electric Door Locking. 4 seats, Metallic Scorpion Black/Gara White (red line), Peter Watson Ltd is a family run Business and has been established in Skipton for over 50 Years

    • Mileage: 18250 mi
    • Engine size: 1368
    For sale
  • ABARTH 500 ABARTH 2014

    £9,995 £9,995

    ABARTH 500 ABARTH finished in Officina Red (Manual), only 15,700 miles and 2 previous owners from new.;;Like all of our vehicles here at NCK Motors Ltd, this stunning car comes with 3 Years of Servicing for FREE, a comprehensive 3 month warranty, 12 months MOT, freshly serviced and FREE ANNUAL MOT FOR AS LONG AS YOU OWN IT!;;Features include ABS | Air Conditioning | AUX Port | Bluetooth Phone Connectivity with Voice Activation | Daytime LED Running Lights | Electric Heated Folding Mirrors | Electric Windows | Electronic Brake Assist | Electronic Traction Control | Front and Side Airbags | Front Fog Lights | Isofix System | Multi Function Steering Wheel | Power Assisted Steering | Rear Parking Sensors | Spare Key | Spoiler | Sports Pack | Sports Seats | Sports Suspension | Tinted Windows | Upgraded 17inch Alloys | USB Connection;; Only GBP 9,995;;

    • Mileage: 15700 mi
    • Engine size: 1.368
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £8,995 £8,995

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Full Leather, Xenon Headlamps, Alarm, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Head Restraints, Sports Seats, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Brake Assist, Multiple Airbags, Auto Lighting, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Premium Cloth soft top, Rear Spoiler, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Power Hood, CD Player, Radio, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Comms Pack, Anti-Theft System, Colour Coded Interior, Electric Front Windows, MP3 Player, Stereo, 17'' Alloys, Full service history An absolutely pristine and rare One Lady owner example with a huge specification including Full Black Leather Sports Seats, Reversing Sensors, Upgraded 17'' Alloy wheels, Red Brake Calipers, Bluetooth Telephone and a Sports Exhaust. The car has a full service history from new and very low mileage making it incredible value at this price.

    • Mileage: 34318 mi
    • Engine size: 1368
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £12,495 £12,495

    Variant name:595 ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 1.4 T-Jet 145 BHP 5 Speed Bluetooth DAB Radio BEATS Audio 17in Alloys LIKE NEW! Only 220 Miles from New! Balance of Abarth Warranty over 2,000 Pounds of Extras 66-Reg Metallic Scorpione Black, Abarth Racing Stripes in Red, Privacy Glass, Black Abarth Sports Interior, 17in Abarth Sports Alloys, 5" Touchscreen Radio with Uconnect Bluetooth, DAB Radio, Uconnect LIVE, Bluetooth Audio, Media Interface, AUX/USB Input, Interscope Hi-Fi Sound System with BEATS Speakers, Air Conditioning, TTC Torque Transfer Control, Abarth Chromed Steel Rear Twin Exhaust, Electric Windows/Mirrors, 5 Speed, Power Steering, ABS, Traction Control, Front and Side Airbags, Switchable Passengers Airbag, ISOFIX Child Seat Preparation, Multi Function Steering Wheel, 4x Three Point Seat Belts, 4x Headrests, Front Fogs, Remote Abarth Alarm, Like NEW! Only 220 miles from New! Balance of Abarth Warranty, Over £2,000 of Extras, Can Achieve Over 57 MPG and Costs Just £130 Per Year To Tax, Low Road Tax. Better value than Turismo, Competizione or 695 Biposto. Every Vehicle is Subjected To a Rigorous RAC Approved 82 Point Buysure Inspection and is supplied Fully Serviced With a RAC Platinum Parts and Labour Warranty, 1 Years MOT, 12 Months RAC Roadside Assistance including home start and HPI Checked, 4 Years RAC Platinum Parts and Labour Warranty Available, Over 200 Cars in Stock, Finance Available, No Deposit Required, Part Exchange Available. McCarthy Cars Are RAC Approved and Highly Recommended By Them, Have Complete Peace Of Mind With The McCarthy Cars and RAC Buysure Programme. Available extras include Privacy Glass, Bluetooth, Sat Nav, DAB Radio, Front and Rear PDC Parking Aids, Leather Interiors and Heated Seats. McCarthy Cars are a Multi Award Winning Car Dealership and Most Loved Business in Croydon. Find Us On Facebook, You Tube and Twitter @mccarthycarsuk. McCarthy Cars, A Family Run Business Established Over 40 Years Ago, Open 7 Days a Week. CR0 3RG, 02086888086 / 07966248547 www.mccarthycars.co.uk sales@mccarthycars.co.uk

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 220 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • ABARTH 500 1.4 T Jet 2013

    £8,390 £8,390

    1 Lady Owner!!!;;All books, both key's, and all history present. Just three years old with MOT and Service just carried out. Supplied with 6 Months Warrantywise 'Gold' Warranty! Lovely car with great standard specification, All wheels recently refurbished and finished in Gara White.;;The Warrantywise warranty can be topped up to anything to 36 month on purchase. The car has both keys and all books, our cars are fully checked against the HPI register for any previous insurance write off, finance and theft. Dealer facilities available and all part exchanges taken. Please call Tom with any questions or to arrange a viewing on 01784 559 106,

    • Mileage: 40961 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £8,995 £8,995

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, iPod Connectivity, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Locking Wheel Nuts, Remote Central Locking, Colour Coded Interior, Cloth Upholstery, Head Restraints, Height Adjustable Seat, Sports Seats, Folding Rear Seats, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Curtain Airbags, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Side Air Bags, Twin Air Bags, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Rear Spoiler, Rear Wash/wipe, Auto-dip Rearview, Electric Front Windows, Electric Mirrors, CD Player, Radio, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Stereo, 17'' Alloys, Full main dealer service history Alexanders are a family owned main dealer, selling quality vehicles for over 65 years. Each vehicle we supply leaves our dealership with the appropriate Service, MOT, and minimum 12 month warranty. Any other work needed at the time of sale, i.e., various component fluids, brakes, tyres etc is carried out before you take delivery. Enjoy the peace of mind that you have purchased a fully warranted used car backed by a trusted dealer with a warranty backed by Fiat UK.

    • Mileage: 36500 mi
    • Engine size: 1368
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £8,995 £8,995

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, iPod Connectivity, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Head Restraints, Rear Headrests, Folding Rear Seats, Rear Wash/wipe, Front Fog Lamps, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Air Bag, Trip Computer, Power Steering, Adjustable Steering Column, Electric Front Windows, Electric Mirrors, CD Player, Radio Upgrades - Gara White Paint, 12 months MOT, Service history, Standard Features - Rear Parking Sensors, Manual Climate Control with Pollen Filter, Blue and Me System with Voice Activation, Hill Holder, Electric Front Windows, 16in 8-Spoke Alloy Wheels with 195/45 R16 Tyres, Blue and Me System with Bluetooth Technology, Dark Tinted Rear Windows, Radio/CD/MP3 Player, USB Port, Airbags, Folding rear seats, Electric door mirrors, Electric windows, Fog Lamps, Power steering, Remote central locking. 4 seats, Solid White, Peter Watson Ltd is a family run Business and has been established in Skipton for over 50 Year

    • Mileage: 22500 mi
    • Engine size: 1368
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £11,489 £11,489

    Variant name:C CUSTOM ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: C CUSTOM Black Leather, 17"10 Spoke Diamond Turned Alloy Wheels, Reverse Parking Sensors, ASR with MSR, ESP, Third Brake Light, Rear Parking Sensors, Hill Holder, Dark Tinted Rear Windows, EBD, Radio/CD/MP3 Player, USB Port, Switchable Passenger Air Bag, Abarth Leather Steering Wheel, Door Mirrors with Defrosting, Air Conditioning with Pollen Filter, Tyre Repair Kit Fix and Go, Height Adjustable Drivers Seat, Immobiliser, 4 x 40W Speakers, 2 x 30W Tweeters, Dualdrive Electric Power Steering with Sport Function, Blue and Me Bluetooth and Media System with Voice Activation.

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 22717 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £12,489 £12,489

    Variant name:595C ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 595C Black Sports Fabric, 17" 5 Spoke Diamond Turned Alloy Wheels, Reverse Parking Sensors, Yellow Brake Callipers, ASR with MSR, ESP, Third Brake Light, Rear Parking Sensors, Hill Holder, Dark Tinted Rear Windows, EBD, Radio/CD/MP3 Player, USB Port, Switchable Passenger Air Bag, Abarth Leather Steering Wheel, Door Mirrors with Defrosting, Air Conditioning with Pollen Filter, Tyre Repair Kit Fix and Go, Height Adjustable Drivers Seat, Immobiliser, 4 x 40W Speakers, 2 x 30W Tweeters, Dualdrive Electric Power Steering with Sport Function, Blue and Me Bluetooth and Media System with Voice Activation.

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 9014 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £9,989 £9,989

    Variant name:ABARTH ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: ABARTH Black Sports FAbric, 17" Diamond Cut 5 Spoke Alloy Wheels, Red Callipers, Chrome Door Mirrors, Reverse Parking Sensors, Air Conditioningl, 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: 2014
    • Mileage: 9368 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £11,489 £11,489

    Variant name:ABARTH 595 TURISMO ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: ABARTH 595 TURISMO Red Leather, 17" Diamond Cut 10 Spoke Alloy Wheels, Red Callipers, Red Abarth Side Stripes and Door Mirrors, Xenon Headlamps with Power Wash, Reverse Parking Sensors 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: 2014
    • Mileage: 16325 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £10,989 £10,989

    Variant name:C ABARTH ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: C ABARTH Black Sports Fabric, 17" 5 Spoke Diamond Turned Alloy Wheels, ASR with MSR, ESP, Third Brake Light, Rear Parking Sensors, Hill Holder, Dark Tinted Rear Windows, EBD, Radio/CD/MP3 Player, USB Port, Switchable Passenger Air Bag, Abarth Leather Steering Wheel, Door Mirrors with Defrosting, Air Conditioning with Pollen Filter, Tyre Repair Kit Fix and Go, Height Adjustable Drivers Seat, Immobiliser, 4 x 40W Speakers, 2 x 30W Tweeters, Dualdrive Electric Power Steering with Sport Function, Blue and Me Bluetooth and Media System with Voice Activation.

    • Year: 2013
    • Mileage: 17752 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
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