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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

131 Search results
Abarth 500
5995 34980 GBP
  • Abarth 500

    £12,999 £12,999

    Variant name:595 YAMAHA FACTORY RACING ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 595 YAMAHA FACTORY RACING

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 8617 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
    FG Barnes & Sons Ltd-FIAT Bishops Aldershot
    01252 907156 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Abarth 500

    £8,990 £8,990

    Gara white, PANORAMIC GLASS SUNROOF, Air conditioning, Bluetooth, Single disc CD, 17'' multi spoke alloy wheels, Privacy glass, Multi function steering wheel with paddle shift gear change, Fiat + one lady owner from new, Only 8,000 miles, FULL FIAT MAIN DEALER SERVICE HISTORY, 4 stamps in the service book, 2 keys, 1 year MOT, HPI clear, Excellent finance facilities available, Comprehensive 3 year warranty available, EXCEPTIONAL CONDITION THROUGHOUT

    • Mileage: 8000 mi
    • Engine size: 1368
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £10,989 £10,989

    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: 5880 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £13,989 £13,989

    Variant name:595 COMPETIZIONE ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 595 COMPETIZIONE 17" Formula Titanium Finish Alloy Wheels,Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Front and Rear Head Restraints, Dualdrive Electric Power Steering, USB, Height Adjustable Steering Wheel, 50/50 Split Folding Rear Seat, Drivers Knee Airbag, Electrochromic Rear View Mirror, Drivers Airbag, Upholstery-Abarth Corsa by Sabelt Seats in Black Fabric, Xenon Headlights, Sports Seats, Tinted Rear Window and Rear Door Windows, 4 x 40 W Speakers and 2 x 30 W Tweeters, Rear Parking Sensors, Body Coloured Electrically Adjustable Heated Door Mirrors, Electrochromatic Rear View Mirror, Electronic Stability Program (Electronic Stability Control) with MSR, 12V Power Point, Steering Wheel Remote Controls, Front Fog Lights, Fix&Go Puncture Repair Kit, Heated Rear Window, Abarth Side Stripes and Mirrors-Grey Satin Finish, Body Coloured Bumpers, Third Brake Light, EBD, Remote Control Electric Door Locking, Electric Front Windows, ABS, CD Radio with MP3, Dark Tinted Rear Quarter Windows, Immobiliser, Bi-Xenon Headlights, Automatic Climate Control, Blue&Me - Bluetooth, Automatic Climate Control, ASR, Passengers Airbag, Leather Bound Steering Wheel, Front Side Airbags and Window Airbags

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 4000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £10,489 £10,489

    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: 2250 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £8,989 £8,989

    Variant name:ABARTH ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: ABARTH 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: 2014
    • Mileage: 24749 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £13,950 £13,950

    Variant name:595 TURISMO ,Derivative:MK1 (312) ,Variant: 595 TURISMO 1.4 T-JET 2016(16) Finished in Circuit Grey with Black Leather Interior, Specification Includes 17” Diamond Finish Spoked Alloy Wheels with Red Brake Calipers, Rear Parking Sensors, Automatic Electro Chromatic Mirrors, Automatic Climate Control, CD Radio with MP3, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Leather Seats, Dark Tinted Rear Quarter Windows, Electric Front Windows, Privacy Glass, Remote Central Locking and Security System.

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 7587 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • ABARTH 500 695 BIPOSTO 2016

    £34,980 £34,980

    GBP 44000 LIST PRICE, HAS TO BE THE ONLY 1 IN THE UK WITH THIS SPEC, LOW MILES, 124 SPECIALE KIT, CARBONIO STYLING, RACE DASHBOARD, BLUETOOTH and AUX AUDIO SYSTEM, LOOKS ABSOLUTELY STUNNING, DRIVES AND SOUNDS AWESOME, UNMARKED INTERIOR/EXTERIOR, HAS TO BE SEEN TO BE APPRECIATED, *** HPI CLEAR *** PROUD TO BE PART OF THE AA DEALER PROMISE *** FREE 12 MTH AA BREAKDOWN *** 3 TO 36 MONTHS EXTENDED WARRANTY AVAILABLE *** COMPETITIVE FINANCE ARRANGED ** ALL OUR CARS ARE HPI CHECKED *** DRIVEAWAY INSURANCE *** 5 STAR REVIEWS, CHECK OUR CUSTOMER REVIEWS *** 12 MONTHS MOT AND NATIONWIDE WARRANTY ON EVERY VEHICLE *** FOR LIVE CHAT FEATURE VISIT WEBSITE ***, VIEWING STRICTLY BY APPOINTMENTS ONLY, CALL 0121 4484554, 07860251554 TO ARRANGE VIEWING, GBP 34,980;;THIS CAR COMES WITH:;;Carbon Kit, Track Kit, Racing Windows, Special 124 Kit, Standard Features - Hill Holder, Electric Front Windows, Indirect TPMS with Selective Signalling of Tyre with Pressure Below Normal, 18in Lightened O.Z. Alloy Wheels with 215/35 R18 Tyres, Leather and Alcantara Sport Seats by Sabelt, Tinted Rear and Rear Door Windows. 2 seats

    • Mileage: 2250 mi
    • Engine size: 1.368
    For sale
  • ABARTH

    £5,995 £5,995

    THIS STUNNING ABARTH 500 HAS JUST ARRIVED AT R.S VEHICLE SALES, Upgrades - Blue and Me USB, Red Abarth Side Stripe, Carbon Dash Inserts, 17in Alloy Wheel Upgrade (10 Spoke Design), Black Door Mirrors, 4 owners, Standard Features - Air-Conditioning, Mirrors External, Seat Height Adjustment, Head Restraints, Seat - ISOFIX Anchorage Point, In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD/MP3), Air Bag Driver, Tyre Repair Kit, Power-Assisted Steering, Anti-Lock Brakes, Adjustable Steering Column/Wheel, Electric Windows (Front), Alloy Wheels (16in), Traction Control System, Telephone Equipment (Bluetooth Interface), Speakers, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Immobiliser, Electronic Stability Programme, Central Door Locking, Front Fog Lights, Air Bag Side, Tinted Glass, Third Brake Light, Air Bag Passenger, Steering Wheel Mounted Controls, Upholstery Cloth, Body Coloured Bumpers, Steering Wheel Sports. 4 seats, White, SOURCE - We are fortunate enough to of purchased this Abarth 500 from a local car dealer who had taken it in Part Exchange against a newer vehicle. CONDITION - it has been exceptionally well looked after by its Former Keepers from new, SERVICE HISTORY - This car comes with a Full Service history inc Cambelt/Water Pump Change, VOSA Verified Mileage and will come with a November 2017 MOT prior to sale. PRESENTATION - It looks stunning presented in Urban White and rides on the optional extra 17in Alloy Wheels. It boasts a Black Interior which is in superb condition for the cars age and mileage. SPECIFICATION - This Abarth 500 has a superb level of specification including 17in 10 Spoke Alloys, Blue and Me Bluetooth with USB Input,Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, CD Player, 2 Keys Plus Much More. R.S Vehicles Sales - We offer fantastic part exchange valuations, industry leading extended warranties, and all of our vehicles are HPI clear. All cars fully prepared to a high standard and fully valeted for sale. ** PLEASE CONTACT US BEFORE YOU TRAVEL TO VIEW A CAR AS WE ARE OFTEN OUT COLLECTING NEW STOCK. ALL OF OUR CARS ARE AVAILABLE TO VIEW INDOORS SO PLEASE DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE WEATHER ** Family Run Business, Open 7 Days, By Appointment, GBP 5,995

    • Mileage: 58000 mi
    For sale
  • Abarth 500

    £12,995 £12,995

    Bluetooth, Power Steering, Electric Front Windows, ABS, Air Bag, Side Air Bags, Immobiliser, Cloth Upholstery, Head Restraints, Height Adjustable Seat, Rear Headrests, Rear Wash/wipe, Rear Spoiler, CD Player, MP3 Player, Radio

    • Mileage: 6858 mi
    • Engine size: 1368
    For sale
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