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luke_vibert_uk
12-05-2011, 01:32 PM
Intro and Background

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Some of the forum members have mentioned that they would be interested in hearing my experiences as an owner of an Abarth 500 Esseesse. Before I do, there is some background information you will need to consider whilst reading this overview.

The vehicle I own is a UK spec Abarth 500 and therefore you should bear this in mind when comparing this and any US models currently available. In addition to this all units of measurement quoted here are UK Imperial or Metric, so thus a conversion will need to be undertake into any US units (e.g. Gallons).

The Abarth Brand has been established in the UK as a premium marque to that of Fiat. Although owned by the Fiat group, Abarth and Abarth dealers are only authorised to warrant any work or servicing on the vehicle. Fiat will not under any circumstances undertake any work on an Abarth vehicle.

During August 2010 I purchased a “nearly new” Abarth 500 Esseese having covered just only covered shy of 6000miles in its 10month life. In addition to the Standard UK spec Abarth 500, the previous owner had a number of official Abarth options fitted and these have been listed below…


Campovolo Grey (Additional Cost Colour)
Esseesse Performance Kit (White Esseesse Wheels other option being Gunmetal)
Skydome (Fully Retractable Sunroof)
Red Strips and Mirror Caps
Climate Control (replacing the standard A/C)
Interscope Stereo Upgrade


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I will try and offer a balance and fair opinion of the car, noting that the opinions in this review are my own and based on my experience and specification of the car.

The facts and figures

The standard the Abarth 500 produces a quoted 135bhp (132 lb ft torque) in Normal mode. As my car has the Esseesse kit fitted from new (it can be fitted within the first 12months/ 12,000miles as a factory option- conditions apply) the car essentially drives in “Normal” as a normal Abarth 500 would drive in Sport. So the car produces a healthy 152 lb ft of torque. Given the light weight of the car, this is by far more than adequate for around town style driving and provides enough punch for a spirited drive.

Activating Sport Mode however changes the cars mapping engaging 160bhp and producing a healthy 170lb ft of torque, as well as altering throttle response and steering weight.

The resulting increases and although not as powerful as a Mini Cooper S ‘quoted’, I would suggest that the Abarth 500 figures are somewhat pessimistic. The 0-60 times are certainly not as slow as the figures suggest and some owners have quoted at least half a second off the times. 60mph can be achieved in 2nd gear.

Turbo lag is minimal due to the small Turbo unit under the bonet delivering boost up 1.2bar.

Unfortunately this all comes at a cost. Fitment of the Esseesse kit alters the service intervals on the Abarth 500. At release, and even when I purchased the car Service intervals were somewhat confused by Abarth issuing a whole raft of different service requirements to the dealers and with the Esseesse kits. Subsequently (after much confusion) the intervals boil down to an oil and filter change every 6000miles/ 12months (whichever first) and Major service every 18000/ 2 Years. Mine is due its 18000 mile service next week and is quoted at 400…quite expensive compared previous larger capacity cars I have owned.

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Ride and Comfort

The ride on the 500 Abarth is often reported as firm and I would concur. Having owned a number of original BMC Mini Coopers their ride can be best described as bouncy and would agree this is similar to the Esseesse ride.
Some reviews have preferred the standard Abarth 500 ride, but this is a ‘performance car’ with additional ‘performance modifications’. In reaction to this and comments about the compression bounce Abarth have recently released an alternative Esseesse kit which includes Koni dampers however this commands a price premium over the ‘standard’ Esseesse kit. The car is also lower in ride height than the standard Abarth 500, although not so low to becoming a concern.
On good roads the ride although firm is tight, with a quick turn in and plenty of grip, feeling very sure footed as if it is stuck to the surface. I have yet to achieve a ‘scare’ as the grip keeps on coming! Body roll is non-existent and its composure is second to none. The only point I would question its handling ability, was a tight right hander fully loaded with camping gear and a passenger where the rear became a bit unsettled. Due to the circumstances however I’m sure any other car would have behaved the same.

However, any British driver would comment on the road conditions. Major roads are on the whole smooth surfaced, minor local roads can be treacherous pot holed filled nightmares. A couple of occurrences where I have hit bad road scars and the noise transmitted into the cabin has been so severe, to the point of stopping and checking tyres. Any speed bumps are a nightmare usually needing spine replacement at the earliest opportunity. Ask a British driver and they will complain about them, they’re everywhere.
Steering is tight with good feel weighting up with speed. At parking speed you can turn lock to lock with your index finger. By engaging Sport Mode, the steering becomes artificially weighted requiring a good grip and providing good control. Lock to lock remains the same. For a car of this size, I would say with 17” wheels fitted the turning circle is not as small as you would hope. Tyre usage is depnedant on driving style(!), tyre prices ranging from 90 up to 190 (Premium Brands)

TTC is an “electronic limited slip diff” (Read Torque Transfer) and provides extra grip in corners, however upon its activation it does disengage the traction control system. This however is unobtrusive.

Torque steer in Sport Mode can be an issue and quick standing starts in damp weather can also provide a challenge. It just struggles to get the power down over the front wheels. Whilst the TC system tries to regulate power to the wheels to overcome this it sometimes comes a little too late.

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Braking

The brakes on Esseesse-equipped 500 are no larger than those of the standard Abarth, but they do benefit from being cross-drilled front and rear, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with their stopping power, pulling up to a stop quickly every time.

Engine and Fuelling

The engine has a good history and has a reputation of being strong. A mag article recently reviewed used potential of the Abarth 500 and reported no known or major issues. Forums quote some problem with coolant hoses splitting but this is rare. The main notes would be to ensure that it receives its oil changes no later than the specified intervals. One thing I would note is that I would not want to work under the bonnet as it is tight!
If fuel economy bothers you, I have attached a graph of usage since in my ownership. Average MPG is around 33MPG based on mixed usage.

http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/6186/mpggraph.jpg

A neat trick of the 500 is the ability to perform its party piece when required. A heavy right foot, followed by a quick change always results in 'cracking' bark from the exhaust...it gets addictive and turns heads.

Interior and Comfort

The interior is pretty much standard affair for any Fiat product and below what you would expect from any other premium product manufacture. I chose not to have the leather option because it is only trimmed on the front seats, and they have a reputation to sag on the seat bolster. At 6’ 2” tall I don’t find the driving position cramped or tight although the steering wheel only alters for rake not reach.

The colour body panel is neat however I would warn about female passengers and their hand bags! The panel is exposed and there is potential to scratching if not warned (thankfully mine has none!) Its replacement is VERY expensive.

Mine has the Climate Control pack fitted in replacement of the AC, and the only comment I would make is that I would expect the Climate Control to struggle in hotter climes. It does take a while to normalize any temperature.

Skydome option has also been fitted to the car and this too provides the wind in your hair experience although becomes ‘boomy’ and noisy at speed. Above 40mph it can become difficult to hold a conversation with your passenger.

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A few points of note

Jacking – With the Esseesse kit fitted, getting a jack under the car can be an issue. The Abarth manual (rightly so) shows how you should jack the car up using a dealer scissor lift, however not everywhere or everyone has access to these! So getting tyres fitted usually come with a warning to the fitter not to just run the trolley under the sill. Damage WILL occur. Also positioning of the jack is important. Jacking points are indicated in the body side moldings, however in true Italian fashion these are not the jacking points! They are set further back. A number of owners have encountered distorted/ broken sill panels as a result.

Spare Tyre – You don’t get one.

You get a large polystyrene box in the boot well with a can of tyre foam and compressor. That is it. A frantic search has been going on for at least a year trying to find a spare alternative, however due to the larger brake calipers on the Abarths, the 16” Fiat 500 spare does not fit. A 16” Abarth alloy would be an obvious solution but this too does not fit in the well even with the tyre deflated. So be prepared as a foam can is not always helpful with every puncture.

Happy to field any questions anyone may have! :)

Chris
12-05-2011, 04:02 PM
Nice write-up, Luke!

luckymoi
12-05-2011, 05:00 PM
he seems a nice bloke, what?
the car is a pocket rocket, fur shur!

geeded
12-05-2011, 05:12 PM
Many thanks for the great write-up. A quick question if I may. There is some confusion in my mind how the TTC works. When TTC is connected, does is the the Traction Control disconnected, the ESP, or both? Or does it partially disconnect the ESP and completely disconnect the Traction control?

Cheers!

MrFiat
12-05-2011, 05:14 PM
Happy to field any questions anyone may have! :)

I'm betting there will be a host of them before March rolls around! --:friendly_wink:

Luke, thanks for the report. It's much appreciated.

You may or may not know that the Abarth is not yet available here in North America. Won't be until --perhaps -- March of next year -- maybe. Several of us have been watching carefully, but information has been sparse until a week or two ago. It now appears (if we're to believe Fiat --and why shouldn't we?) that we'll be getting the 160 hp (estimated) version right out of the box. Word has it that Konis are on the front along with the cross drilled rotors, but it's unclear what is on the rear. Some upgraded suspension mods as well. It also appears that items like Blue-tooth and premium sound are standard, as are the 16" wheels. It also appears that Fiat dealers (pardon me --Studios) will be doing the servicing. As yet we don't know the price. ??

There a US spec sheet posted at:
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B00eyAU47fV9ZDk0ZjM3ZjgtODhlZC00MjdiLTlmZGI tNzQzZjI3NTc2ODQ0&hl=en_US

So it is with great interest that we listen to what it's like owning one of these machines. I love my old one, and I've come to enjoy my stock 500 Sport which is quiet and comfortable, albeit not quite a Formula One contender. But then again --- there's a remote possibility that it was never intended as such. - :disillusionment: -. Based on all the above, I think I have a pretty good idea what to expect from the new Abarth now. Your observations have given us some valuable insights and I assume that they will be factored in when making the final decision to buy or pass. Thanks for taking the time to share.

I'm reasonably sure I know the answer, ( --:tickled_pink: --) but just for the record, if you had it to do over again, would you still buy the Abarth?

Max
12-05-2011, 05:54 PM
Thank you Luke,

Nice of you to take the time to post your personal experiences.


Max

luke_vibert_uk
12-06-2011, 05:07 AM
Many thanks for the great write-up. A quick question if I may. There is some confusion in my mind how the TTC works. When TTC is connected, does is the the Traction Control disconnected, the ESP, or both? Or does it partially disconnect the ESP and completely disconnect the Traction control?

Cheers!

ESP will keep you on the straight and narrow should you make a mistake on the road.

TTC will let you have more "driver input" without the ESP taking control when it think it needs to.

The ESP works by applying the brakes/ control engine output, so effectively it will slow the car when it feels that you are loosing control.

This is an unwanted effect on a track/spirited driving so TTC will normally be switched ON. TTC works by applying braking to the driven axles to create the effect of an "LSD", although it is an electronic version there of.

TTC IS NOT a safety feature, its a "driver enhancement feature". As far as I know, ESP turns off when TTC is ON



Several of us have been watching carefully, but information has been sparse until a week or two ago. It now appears (if we're to believe Fiat --and why shouldn't we?) that we'll be getting the 160 hp (estimated) version right out of the box. Word has it that Konis are on the front along with the cross drilled rotors, but it's unclear what is on the rear. Some upgraded suspension mods as well. It also appears that items like Blue-tooth and premium sound are standard, as are the 16" wheels. It also appears that Fiat dealers (pardon me --Studios) will be doing the servicing.

So it is with great interest that we listen to what it's like owning one of these machines. I'm reasonably sure I know the answer, ( --:tickled_pink: --) but just for the record, if you had it to do over again, would you still buy the Abarth?

Sounds like then you are getting the Koni Suspension kits which come as part of the Upspec'd Esseesse Kit over here. The kit contains Konis all round.

Personally I wouldnt say that the standard Esseesse set up is bad, its just VERY hard, and not to the taste of everyone.

If they push out the 160hp model then that too will have the equivilent Esseesse map, but in terms out power output, that will pretty much be maxed out as the Turbo cant take much more. Any more power will require the Garratt out of the higher powered Abarth Punto/ 695 Tributos etc, and a map to suit.

I'm not sure if you have the Blue&Me set up on the 500's there, nice idea, but I dont ever use it. Getting the USB to work properly certainly causes alot of headaches and is very fussy.

Would I buy another? You bet!!!

In the year and a bit I've owned it I have been stopped by people to talk about it, people peer through the windows on it, and people look when they pass it by in their cars, people ask what it is, and people get a suprise by it sat in their mirrors on the motorway as we go past ;) It will keep up with most of the 'big grown up cars and embarass many others performance marques ;)

The sounds (induction growl and poping) it produces are very adictive.

eatworksleepdie
12-06-2011, 10:20 AM
great information! It'll be interesting to compare the US spec vs. the UK spec. 1.2 bar is about 17psi, that's really good for a factory setup!

Fiat500USA
12-06-2011, 10:39 AM
...If they push out the 160hp model then that too will have the equivalent Esseesse map, but in terms out power output, that will pretty much be maxed out as the Turbo cant take much more. Any more power will require the Garrett out of the higher powered Abarth Punto/ 695 Tributos etc, and a map to suit...


Awesome information, thanks for this great report!

The NAFTA car does have the Garrett GT1446 turbo found in the Assetto Corse, R3T racecars, etc., so there is room in there to grow ;)

Reaperman
12-06-2011, 10:56 AM
Awesome stuff going on here. Do you ever hit your head on the sunroof when the going gets rough?

Great info on the leather and other potential issues. I was planning on that option, and now much less so.

It also seems that we're getting a little more than the standard esseesse kit--turbo and suspension. I will certainly take that into consideration when pricing is announced. My price comparisons to the uk 500 w/ esseesse don't seem entirely fair anymore.

luke_vibert_uk
12-06-2011, 12:21 PM
Awesome information, thanks for this great report!

The NAFTA car does have the Garrett GT1446 turbo found in the Assetto Corse, R3T racecars, etc., so there is room in there to grow ;)

Correct... BUT wait until you see under the bonnet! There isn't much room even for a better sounding horn! :D



Awesome stuff going on here. Do you ever hit your head on the sunroof when the going gets rough?

Great info on the leather and other potential issues. I was planning on that option, and now much less so.

It also seems that we're getting a little more than the standard esseesse kit--turbo and suspension. I will certainly take that into consideration when pricing is announced. My price comparisons to the uk 500 w/ esseesse don't seem entirely fair anymore.

So not to cause confusion - the Standard Abarths are Turbo'd, the Esseesse kit remaps the engine over the standard map (our kits used to come with a new ECU) to produce more power but in doing so increases the frequency of the service intervals. I would suggest any comparison you make you should be comparing it with the upgraded Esseesse Kit which replaces the uprated shocks with Konis.

The leather - its swings and roundabouts. You could argue that the cloth gets grubby (it shows up rain spots badly) so its not a perfect solution either way. You could always got the Sabelt seat route which is another dealer option here ;) and very tasty they are too...BUT I would hate for my comments to persuade you. These are purely my experiences and would suggest you have a go in them yourself when they turn up :)

Re the sunroof no. As mentioned I am 6'2" and have no issue even with the shade pulled across. The seat squabs also raise and lower quite a bit so no worries there...unless you are taller!

spindoc
12-06-2011, 04:34 PM
Thanks for this thread Luke. So it sounds like the US Abarth 500 will be sort of comparable to the UK Esseesse with the Koni kit. What I'm wondering about is the difference between the 16" and 17" wheels. I've seen a number of reviews of the Esseesse mentioning the rough ride, which I'd assume the 16" wheels would soften some. Also, a US test engineer reportedly stated that the ride on the US Abarth on 17's could be pretty rough.

So what's your opinion on what the ride difference might be on the US car between the 16" and 17" wheels?

luke_vibert_uk
12-06-2011, 04:49 PM
I've driven a F500 Lounge on 16's and my Esseesse is on 17's.

Apart from the obvious difference in suspension settings it was not feasible to compare due to very different set ups.

Press reports here haven't dwelled too much on the difference between the two wheel sizes, however comparing the wheels sizes its obvious where the difference...

Standard: 6.5"x16" alloy wheels. Tyres: 195/45 R16"
Optional: 7"x17" alloy wheels. Tyres: 205/40 R17"

So assuming your A500's will come with the 17's then they are obviously a wider and lower profile than the standard Abarth Alloy wheels.

The only comment I would make is combined with the harder suspension settings (remember I dont have the Koni set up) I have hit on two occasions what I would consider minor to medium potholes and honestly thought the top mounts of the suspension towers had come up through the bonnet. The first pot hole I had negotiated in a friends car previously and that made no impact, the other I was breaking hard for a Traffic Light with camera. The second occasion I thought I'd lost the wheel, thankfully they were all fine sounding worse than it was:)

MrFiat
12-07-2011, 03:32 PM
Here's another question that's been on my mind a while: Does the 500A have a rev limiter, or are you at risk of engine damage from over-revving it? Assuming it probably has one, how close to the factory spec red line does it kick in? Any ill effects on handling etc while it's active or recovering?

luke_vibert_uk
12-07-2011, 05:53 PM
Yes it does, and bouncing around on it won't do you any favours.

Peak power and torque is delivered well before the limiter kicks in, but also the length it is used is logged on the ECU. So if for what ever reason a warranty claim needs to made this sort of info is freely available.

As part of the conditions for the retro fit (post delivery) of the Esseesse kit is that the car is less than 12m old, done less than 12,000miles and has not spent more than one minute on the limiter!

I've hit the limiter a couple of times and you know you've done it more than any other car I've owned - it really throws you forward.

luke_vibert_uk
12-11-2011, 04:14 PM
Bit of an aside to the thread, this morning was the Monthly Bristol Queens Square Breakfast Meet.

Basically its a open, friendly and unpretentious meet for people who like motors and have a chance to talk things over a coffee and bacon roll, all held in the historic surroundings of Bristol's Queen Square.

Took the 500 down a couple of shots attached...

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7018/6493688805_22193cabdb_b.jpg

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7005/6493707609_3f5cf02e1f_b.jpg

A whole range of cars turned up from 1930's and 40's classics right bang up to date with a Yellow Ferrari 458 GTO

FiatGusto
12-11-2011, 05:22 PM
your car is fantastic to look at. Real Seduction !!!!!

cmj912
12-12-2011, 09:39 AM
I understand our market is less mature than theirs but I think a true customer is going to already know and want this car, therefore they'd have had nothing to lose by offering this color. It really is fantastic.

luke_vibert_uk
12-12-2011, 12:16 PM
I understand our market is less mature than theirs but I think a true customer is going to already know and want this car, therefore they'd have had nothing to lose by offering this color. It really is fantastic.

Trouble is twofold

1) it gets referred to as Primer Grey!
2) as the UK spends 75% of its time under grey overcast skies, no one can see you. Motorways are a nightmare in overcast conditions!

cmj912
12-12-2011, 02:50 PM
Trouble is twofold

1) it gets referred to as Primer Grey!
2) as the UK spends 75% of its time under grey overcast skies, no one can see you. Motorways are a nightmare in overcast conditions!

It seems that the 500 in the non-NA market has gone with a more conservative color palette. I notice more medium blue-grays and grays and less of the bright and retro shades.

luke_vibert_uk
12-12-2011, 03:51 PM
Abarth colour palette aside (which has recently been updated to include the darker grey metallics and bi colour option) the Fiat portion of the 500 range has been offered in a multitude of colours and there are many bright colours on offer...

People tend to avoid Yellows, IMO they remind me and others of the "Millenium Edition' Fords that were sold around 2000...People will always buy the Blues, Reds and Blacks as well as nostalgic pastel shades. Some of these have gone down a storm - ChaCha Blue (Baby Blue), where as others were only available for a very short time - YeYe Green (Pastel Green) or the metallic 'Army Green' as they were pretty big flops. There is also the 500 Pink - BRIGHT Pink, or Barbie, which is indeed Metallic Barbie Pink.

I wouldn't say there is a trend of buying dull colours, you just have to remember that other than the basic 500 colours, a lot of them are additional cost... which in the UK market is very unusual. Typically, most other vehicle manufacturers the Metallics/ Pearl colours command a premium, where as basic colours do not.

cmj912
12-12-2011, 04:59 PM
Abarth colour palette aside (which has recently been updated to include the darker grey metallics and bi colour option) the Fiat portion of the 500 range has been offered in a multitude of colours and there are many bright colours on offer...

People tend to avoid Yellows, IMO they remind me and others of the "Millenium Edition' Fords that were sold around 2000...People will always buy the Blues, Reds and Blacks as well as nostalgic pastel shades. Some of these have gone down a storm - ChaCha Blue (Baby Blue), where as others were only available for a very short time - YeYe Green (Pastel Green) or the metallic 'Army Green' as they were pretty big flops. There is also the 500 Pink - BRIGHT Pink, or Barbie, which is indeed Metallic Barbie Pink.

I wouldn't say there is a trend of buying dull colours, you just have to remember that other than the basic 500 colours, a lot of them are additional cost... which in the UK market is very unusual. Typically, most other vehicle manufacturers the Metallics/ Pearl colours command a premium, where as basic colours do not.

Interesting. I just kind of meant that our current range of colors is very different. Our colors with the exception of black, gray, and white are almost *all* brights or retros.
There are only two extra-cost metallics.

Have you been to FiatUSA? Maybe they sent along the extra cans of green? Verde Chiaro (pastel green) is a popular color on the forums here.

So the ABARTH currently has 4 colors offered or are there more?

Also, I think people asked about seat heaters. Are those available?

MrFiat
12-13-2011, 10:13 AM
In the year and a bit I've owned it -----

So, given the UK northerly latitude, I assume you get your share of snow? Folks here report the 500 as being great in the snow, but how does the Abarth with it's, --- shall we say, -- more enthusiastic power train fare in the slippery stuff?

Syracuse is known for it's abundant annual snowfall but for some strange reason we haven't had a flake so far. Very unusual, but I hope it stays that way :tears_of_joy:

Great pix of your car, by the way. With good reason, I'll bet it got a lot of attention at the meet.

luke_vibert_uk
12-14-2011, 06:47 AM
Year on year we get little snow, if any. As I live in the south of the UK our climes are much warmer than in the North and Scotland and only ever suffer from overnight frozen surfaces.

However last winter (the first year of owning the 500) was the "worst since records began" and so we suffered a loooooooong winter of sub zero and prolonged frozen/ snow conditions.

The biggest downfall of the Abarth in snow is the width of the tyres providing no assitance, coupled by the lightweight and high power you do have to tread carefully. I believe because of the size of the tyres (smaller than 16' not possible to fit) and the proximity of suspension components, it is not possible to fit snow chains. Snow socks, I think fit, but as we dont get much snow I've no experience of using them.

However, what you need to consider is that as the UK does not experience snow frequently. We are usually not prepared for it nor are the roads designed with heavy snow fall in mind. So the surfaces are salted and you get on with it. They are never ploughed or cleared. If you are in a region that gets snow frequently then no doubt the road conditions will differ.

luke_vibert_uk
12-15-2011, 09:38 AM
So today saw the big event, the 500's first big Service.

As some of you may already be aware the 500 has extended service intervals at every 18,000miles. As I have Esseesse kit fitted, there are additional annual oil/ filter changes that need to be performed every 6000miles/ 12months.

Back in September 11 I was having the fuel cap replaced and whilst at the dealer I thought to enquire the cost of the 18k service. A look up and sucking of teeth later I was informed "its not cheap....its 400'.

So with that in mind and waiting to see when the 18k fell, I left it until October when I booked it in for December 11. Again confirming the cost, it was '360 as there was a 10% off deal on'.

Dropped the car in nice and early this morning first thing, agreed what needed to be done and toddled off into town to get some Christmas shopping.

The car has done 17670 miles.

About an hour later my phone rings...

(Dealer) "Mr XYZ.... just to confirm that you understand that the service is going to be about 700"

(Me) "News to me!...I'm coming back"

So, I ended up getting a speed march back over to the dealers where they then explained....

(Dealer) - "You see as your car is two years old you need the 36k service not the 18k"

(Me) "So how much is the 36k?"

(Dealer) "742"

(Me) "I asked you to do the 18k...how much is the 18k?"

(Dealer) "452"

(Me) "I was told 400MAX"

(Dealer) "well your car IS 2 years old"

(Me) "But the documentation makes no reference of age for the full services, just milage...if I have the 18k now will my car warranty be null and void?"

(Dealer) "No"

(Me) "So why are you trying to stitch me for a service I dont need?"

(Dealer) "Ah you see we just like to check these things with our customers before we get too far into the job..."

So in other words, times are hard and trying to pull a fast one on me.

Unfortunately, this amongst the problems I had when purchasing the car, are beginning to tarnish my opinions of the Abarth brand.

The car is fantastic, the dealer network appalling. Support from Abarth is too very poor pointing you straight back to the dealers.

Next time I am going to go to an independent hopefully at least they too will appreciate my custom.

VTEC Mini
12-15-2011, 04:45 PM
So today saw the big event, the 500's first big Service.

As some of you may already be aware the 500 has extended service intervals at every 18,000miles. As I have Esseesse kit fitted, there are additional annual oil/ filter changes that need to be performed every 6000miles/ 12months.

Back in September 11 I was having the fuel cap replaced and whilst at the dealer I thought to enquire the cost of the 18k service. A look up and sucking of teeth later I was informed "its not cheap....its 400'.

So with that in mind and waiting to see when the 18k fell, I left it until October when I booked it in for December 11. Again confirming the cost, it was '360 as there was a 10% off deal on'.

Dropped the car in nice and early this morning first thing, agreed what needed to be done and toddled off into town to get some Christmas shopping.

The car has done 17670 miles.

About an hour later my phone rings...

(Dealer) "Mr XYZ.... just to confirm that you understand that the service is going to be about 700"

(Me) "News to me!...I'm coming back"

So, I ended up getting a speed march back over to the dealers where they then explained....

(Dealer) - "You see as your car is two years old you need the 36k service not the 18k"

(Me) "So how much is the 36k?"

(Dealer) "742"

(Me) "I asked you to do the 18k...how much is the 18k?"

(Dealer) "452"

(Me) "I was told 400MAX"

(Dealer) "well your car IS 2 years old"

(Me) "But the documentation makes no reference of age for the full services, just milage...if I have the 18k now will my car warranty be null and void?"

(Dealer) "No"

(Me) "So why are you trying to stitch me for a service I dont need?"

(Dealer) "Ah you see we just like to check these things with our customers before we get too far into the job..."

So in other words, times are hard and trying to pull a fast one on me.

Unfortunately, this amongst the problems I had when purchasing the car, are beginning to tarnish my opinions of the Abarth brand.

The car is fantastic, the dealer network appalling. Support from Abarth is too very poor pointing you straight back to the dealers.

Next time I am going to go to an independent hopefully at least they too will appreciate my custom.What does these "services" consist of to cost that much?

luke_vibert_uk
12-15-2011, 06:19 PM
Service breakdown attached. Some of the items ticked with a x, were infact completed :moody:

This is in addition to your annual 12m/6k mile oil filter service - approx 200

So the difference between a 18 and 36 is a brake fluid change - which costs a whopping 300.

In my eyes there is nothing more than what you would expect at any other Service.

737

To put in perspective, a 2.0 Sport Hatch/ Mid Range Exec Car Petrol a Major service will cost 375.

geeded
12-15-2011, 07:28 PM
This is in addition to your annual 12m/6k mile oil filter service - approx 200

So the difference between a 18 and 36 is a brake fluid change - which costs a whopping 300.

In my eyes there is nothing more than what you would expect at any other Service.

This gives me a chance to ask something that I have always wondered about when reading the British forums.

Why does an oil/filter service cost 200 pounds? You can have the same thing done here, using syn oil for $50-60 bucks, maybe a little more if not on special. Paying over $300 for an oil chance is inconceivable to me. Why is it so high?

Perhaps you didn't know, but the oil/filter change for the Abarth here has been set at 8k (US) miles using syn oil. All maintenance, including brake or clutch, is included for 3 yr/36 months, and bumper-to-bumper factory warranty for 4 yr/50k miles for the FIATs here.

Cheers and still wondering about the service charges over there...:fat:

Cheers

luke_vibert_uk
12-16-2011, 03:47 AM
Welcome to life in the UK!

To retain the vehicle warranty for the maximum period you have to undertake the maintenance routines in accordance with the prescribed schedule. So for the 500 Esseesse thats oil and filter change every 6000/12months and Service at every 18000. The vehicle also has to have the work performed by a VAT registered company and use manufacture supplied parts inc oil. I could find an independent but its whether he can get the appropriate parts. The only oil that can be used in the 500 to retain the warranty is the Selenia Branded stuff. Funny old thing, other brands are available in the grade BUT the additives are different and don't meet the required specs. I could do it myself but the problem then comes in the event of a warranty claim, proving that myself or the independent replaced the items (using the correct items in accordance with the warranty) as and when he said he did. They don't have access to the electronic service history and records that the Authorised dealers do, and that Fiat UK - sorry Abarth, use. You can do it, but you need to be prepared for a slog in the event of a claim. Going by my past experiences its not worth the hassle.

The cost of the consumables is relatively fixed from dealer to dealer so looking at the breakdown from yesterday they are...

Air Filter 32.18 + 20% VAT
Cabin Filter 18.23 + 20% VAT
Spark Plugs 4 x 13.24 = 50.32 + 20% VAT
Oil Filter 13.54 + 20% VAT
Oil 2 x 18.60 = 35.34 + 20% VAT
plus other consumables plug washers etc

The problem is then the cost of Labour. The next nearest Abarth dealer to me is an Hour and half West, 3 hours south or 2 hours east (getting into London prices then).

Remember, Fiat dealers refuse point blank to do any work on Abarths here in the UK.

Interesting that yours covers wear and tear (clutch and brakes) ours doesn't!...here the third year warranty is renowned for being not worth the paper its written on.

SeaDawg
12-16-2011, 10:45 AM
Welcome to life in the UK!

Interesting that yours covers wear and tear (clutch and brakes) ours doesn't!...here the third year warranty is renowned for being not worth the paper its written on.

Sounds like a nice place to visit, BUT...:courage:

You can see how some of us are here in the U.S. about dealers; those people would be absolutely foaming at the mouth in the U.K. I can't even imagine paying approx. $17 for ONE spark plug and then having to pay an additional 20% VAT on top of that. And lawmakers here have talked about a VAT. Over MY dead body, and hopefully it will be, before they can manage to put that in place here.

geeded
12-16-2011, 12:24 PM
The only oil that can be used in the 500 to retain the warranty is the Selenia Branded stuff. Funny old thing, other brands are available in the grade BUT the additives are different and don't meet the required specs.
The cost of the consumables is relatively fixed from dealer to dealer so looking at the breakdown from yesterday they are...

Air Filter 32.18 + 20% VAT
Cabin Filter 18.23 + 20% VAT
Spark Plugs 4 x 13.24 = 50.32 + 20% VAT
Oil Filter 13.54 + 20% VAT
Oil 2 x 18.60 = 35.34 + 20% VAT
plus other consumables plug washers etc

Interesting that yours covers wear and tear (clutch and brakes) ours doesn't!...here the third year warranty is renowned for being not worth the paper its written on.

Phenomenally high cost of owership over there. Also amazing that a maker can specify specific additives in their oil. Over here, different oils meet different US standards, most use the latest, highest spec. All cars sold here (that I know of) specify what nationwide approved spec oil they require. However, the standard they choose is one you can buy at most any auto parts store.

FYI, our Abarth holds 4 quarts (US) for engine/filter of 5w-40 synthetic. The extra quart (and upgrade to syn), allows for the 8k mile oil chance interval.

Cheers

luke_vibert_uk
12-16-2011, 01:31 PM
Its not a additional additive, its a specific specification of oil. I can go out and buy any brand of 5w-40 grade oil, however the additives that the Selenia oil spec'd by Abarth is different to others types - trying to find the specifics



I can't even imagine paying approx. $17 for ONE spark plug and then having to pay an additional 20% VAT on top of that. And lawmakers here have talked about a VAT. Over MY dead body, and hopefully it will be, before they can manage to put that in place here.

I'll pass this by you.

The Abarth 500 prefers to Run on Super Unleaded... currently on sale at 1.36 per litre. It costs about 60 ($94) to fill the tank of fuel...how does that compare to where you are?

Then consider that 80% the tank is tax and VAT..then add on your annual RFL tax....plus the VAT added to the cost of the car when you buy it....Plus the "New Car Tax" which is applied the first year you purchase the car which is 2 x 1 years RFL in one hit...

geeded
12-16-2011, 02:51 PM
Its not a additional additive, its a specific specification of oil. I can go out and buy any brand of 5w-40 grade oil, however the additives that the Selenia oil spec'd by Abarth is different to others types - trying to find the specifics

That's what I'm trying to get at.... Auto manufacturers do not specify what additives or specifications the oil may have. They choose among the various approved types (specification) of oils (both natural, syn, and semi-syn) for their cars. They do not make, sell, and require their own oil brand for warranty. Any oil they would require is available under many brand names in most any auto store or Walmart. They may say "We use Mobil 1 5w-40w" but Mobil 1 "5w-40w" is available anywhere and/or a different brand meeting its specification because the specs are nationwide, NOT specific to one manufacturer. The oil/syn makers can add their own additives but these would be in addition to the nationwide spec (and not required for warranty), just like petrol here.


I'll pass this by you.

The Abarth 500 prefers to Run on Super Unleaded... currently on sale at 1.36 per litre. It costs about 60 ($94) to fill the tank of fuel...how does that compare to where you are?

Then consider that 80% the tank is tax and VAT..then add on your annual RFL tax....plus the VAT added to the cost of the car when you buy it....Plus the "New Car Tax" which is applied the first year you purchase the car which is 2 x 1 years RFL in one hit...

We are on the cusp of trying to get a VAT in this country. So far, "we the people" have succeeded in foiling the various attempts. The upcoming election will probably decide if we follow you down the path of confiscatory taxation or a future in which we can survive. We will see.

As always, YMMV

SeaDawg
12-16-2011, 02:56 PM
I'll pass this by you.

The Abarth 500 prefers to Run on Super Unleaded... currently on sale at 1.36 per litre. It costs about 60 ($94) to fill the tank of fuel...how does that compare to where you are?

Then consider that 80% the tank is tax and VAT..then add on your annual RFL tax....plus the VAT added to the cost of the car when you buy it....Plus the "New Car Tax" which is applied the first year you purchase the car which is 2 x 1 years RFL in one hit...

Here in Central Florida, Premium Unleaded is around $3.39 to $3.69 per gallon which I believe is 3.xx liters. We have a 10.5 gallon or 40 liter tank on our 500's. So it takes a little less than $40.00 for 40 liters of Premium to fill a completely empty tank. The populace would be in front of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. with torches and pitchforks if government tried to tax motor fuel here like in Europe. Federal Government can't even successfully raise the current gasoline tax (currently at 1989 levels I believe) which is used to help pay for our Federal/State highway maintenance and construction. Our roads are crumbling but the poplulace wants the government to do everything with nothing. If you haven't had the pleasure of driving on our Interstates, the equivalent of what I assume is similar to the M 5 in the U.K. you should come over and try it sometime, you'll be appalled compared to how your roads in Europe are maintained.

Rumor has it Fiat brought some European 500's to the U.S. when they were contemplating bringing them back here. Allegedly, the European 500's literally self destructed in 1,000 miles (1,600 Km +) on our roads.

I've looked at some advertisements for new cars in the U.K. as well as some used car ads in Europe and was absolutely shocked at what the conversion worked out to be in U.S. Dollars. I doubt that I could afford to own a car in Europe, even though I think it would be much more enjoyable driving there than here in the U.S. just due to the shorter distances between countries, vs between States in the United States, not to mention less vehicles on the roads in general.

buzzny
12-16-2011, 03:42 PM
The Abarth 500 prefers to Run on Super Unleaded... currently on sale at 1.36 per litre. It costs about 60 ($94) to fill the tank of fuel...how does that compare to where you are?

Then consider that 80% the tank is tax and VAT..then add on your annual RFL tax....plus the VAT added to the cost of the car when you buy it....Plus the "New Car Tax" which is applied the first year you purchase the car which is 2 x 1 years RFL in one hit...

Here in New Mexico gasoline prices are:
87 octane is $2.69/gallon to $2.89/gallon
91 octane is $2.89/gallon to $3.09/gallon
Depending on where you shop.
I know of no place selling a higher octane here.

BTW Footnote: Elevation is anywhere from 2,844 feet above sea-level to 13,167 feet above sea-level. I think most of the populous are about 4800 feet above sea-level. This strongly effects horsepower.

VTEC Mini
12-16-2011, 04:10 PM
I'll pass this by you.

The Abarth 500 prefers to Run on Super Unleaded... currently on sale at 1.36 per litre. It costs about 60 ($94) to fill the tank of fuel...how does that compare to where you are?

Then consider that 80% the tank is tax and VAT..then add on your annual RFL tax....plus the VAT added to the cost of the car when you buy it....Plus the "New Car Tax" which is applied the first year you purchase the car which is 2 x 1 years RFL in one hit...Antoher thing to consider is how different our economies are. If you went dollar for dollar you probably earn more compared to your equal in the U.S. With what wages are here in the U.S. and are current economic distress if our costs for gasoline where to jump to what you pay this country would crash nose first overnight.

Fiat500USA
12-16-2011, 04:32 PM
I'm in NY and I just paid $4.19 for 91 octane. I'd say my gas tax is sufficient. ;)

eric
12-17-2011, 12:12 AM
Thanks Luke. And thanks to everyone for the very interesting questions. I am debating if an Abarth is worth it. Right now I'm leaning towards the Twin Air but that is not available. It's all about the drivability fun factor.

luke_vibert_uk
12-17-2011, 03:41 AM
Antoher thing to consider is how different our economies are. If you went dollar for dollar you probably earn more compared to your equal in the U.S. With what wages are here in the U.S. and are current economic distress if our costs for gasoline where to jump to what you pay this country would crash nose first overnight.

I understand, I was trying to demonstrate just how much the UK driver is taxed :)

luke_vibert_uk
12-17-2011, 03:43 AM
91 octane is $2.89/gallon to $3.09/gallon


UK equivalent price is $8 per US Gallon xo/

luke_vibert_uk
12-17-2011, 03:45 AM
Thanks Luke. And thanks to everyone for the very interesting questions. I am debating if an Abarth is worth it. Right now I'm leaning towards the Twin Air but that is not available. It's all about the drivability fun factor.

The Abarth is definitely worth it! These are my honest experiences based on a different market an no doubt subtly different spec of car to what you will be getting.

The Twin Air is a good car and also fun, but its a totally different driving experience.

buzzny
12-17-2011, 09:24 AM
I'm in NY and I just paid $4.19 for 91 octane. I'd say my gas tax is sufficient. ;)

NYS,"Land of Taxes"...or just Good old Hudson Valley?

small car lover
12-17-2011, 11:55 AM
The Abarth is definitely worth it! These are my honest experiences based on a different market an no doubt subtly different spec of car to what you will be getting.

The Twin Air is a good car and also fun, but its a totally different driving experience.

Luke, I occasionally read the UK mags (like evo and TG) and it seems the UK has a much wider range of hot hatches available than the US. What got you to choose the Abarth over some of the alternatives like the Renaultsport Clio Cup or the Vauxhall Corsa VXR?

luke_vibert_uk
12-18-2011, 09:24 AM
A number of reasons mainly -

We were downsizing from our previous 'Hot Hatch' and I've never gone run of the mill...Our previous car was a Citroen C4 VTS Coupe and approx only 700 of the Petrol variant were imported into the UK, so quite a rare car.

Performance wise it had all the right figures, its downfall was its weight. Its quite a heavy car and the engine had to be worked VERY hard to get to the power- red line was 8000rpm...a different experience to the 500! It was also released perhaps a bit too late...it was pitched against the Megane Sports and Focus ST's on its release, unfortunately Ford and Renaults et al continued to develop into the more powerful variants we know of today.

Anyway its quirky looks its unusual features and technology kept me interested.

749

I'd never buy a Ford again as I had terrible trouble with the local dealers and reliability of the car, plus other than the Focus ST there are no real performance cars
Clio Cup... The Renault styling does nothing for me. Very bland and uninspiring...
Vauxhall VXR's - They have a bit of a "Boy Racer" reputation here in the UK and as Jeremy Clarkson once said 'they look like they have ram raided a local branch of Halfords (National Chain of Car Parts and cheap styling accessories)'

We had no need for a bigger car and didnt want to go with the obvious choices. A smaller car with a good amount of power, providing a bit of fun it had to be the Abarth 500!

small car lover
12-18-2011, 12:38 PM
A number of reasons mainly -

We were downsizing from our previous 'Hot Hatch' and I've never gone run of the mill...Our previous car was a Citroen C4 VTS Coupe and approx only 700 of the Petrol variant were imported into the UK, so quite a rare car.

Performance wise it had all the right figures, its downfall was its weight. Its quite a heavy car and the engine had to be worked VERY hard to get to the power- red line was 8000rpm...a different experience to the 500! It was also released perhaps a bit too late...it was pitched against the Megane Sports and Focus ST's on its release, unfortunately Ford and Renaults et al continued to develop into the more powerful variants we know of today.

Anyway its quirky looks its unusual features and technology kept me interested.

749

I'd never buy a Ford again as I had terrible trouble with the local dealers and reliability of the car, plus other than the Focus ST there are no real performance cars
Clio Cup... The Renault styling does nothing for me. Very bland and uninspiring...
Vauxhall VXR's - They have a bit of a "Boy Racer" reputation here in the UK and as Jeremy Clarkson once said 'they look like they have ram raided a local branch of Halfords (National Chain of Car Parts and cheap styling accessories)'

We had no need for a bigger car and didnt want to go with the obvious choices. A smaller car with a good amount of power, providing a bit of fun it had to be the Abarth 500!

Thanks for the response. That C4 VTS is a good looking car. I fully understand about the high reving engines. I have a 1995 Acura (Honda) Integra gsr (it's a civic variant). That car weighs around 2670 lbs with a 170hp 1.8liter that has to be kept between 6k and 8k rpm to make power. There are pros and cons to such a high reving motor. I also am ready for a change to something that does not have to be whipped like a rented mule to make it go. The US Abarth's 150lb weight reduction compared to the acura is a big plus.

I understand your point about the VXR looking Halfords. Here in the states we have a chain called Pep Boys. Light weight and decent power are at the top of my list so the Abarth and the upcoming Subaru BRZ are at the top of the list. The Alfa 4C with a manual would be a dream car!

DLAbarth
12-21-2011, 04:23 PM
Greetings Abarth fan,

Im Dave near Stuttgart Germany. Im from the US(LA area) and I have Dec 2010 Abarth 500. I ve read this thread and agree with much of it. I have had my cars over 2 years now. Its white with red stripes/black leather(red stitching), 17in factory wheels(2 sets - winter/summer). It has a G-tech 'S' ecu vice the SS(essesse pkg ecu) and the SS brake kit.
The car is amazing and fun. Its what I call a pure economical sportscar. I could care less if it has a hatch or not. It has an amazing growl from just the stock exhaust. The brakes are great and the gearbox is quick and light to manage. Clutch effort is minimal. The car has a 5spd gearbox and thats no problem.

Ive read some of the US press quick analysis since the release and some of it is laughable. It doesnt need 6speeds or a paddle shift gearbox. The euro cabrio's here in Germany have the paddle shift model and its not that great from what Ive heard/read and spoken to owners. Each to their own but the manual is bullett-proof. Im able to enjoy speed here in Germany and at 160km(100+mph), per hour this car just comes into its own. A 6th cog would be nice but only for economy and a little less noise.

I went to G-tech's 10th anniversary party as part of Abarth-Forum.de and talked to an engineer there about getting their taller 5th gear. About a 500 euro out the door install. He actually said you lose the punch/acceleration that the stock one gives you. I opted not to install.
Currently with the G-tech S ecu Im just a bit under 170hp. My dealer actually sells G-tech gear and recommended it over the ecu in the SS package. No issues with my warranty etc.
Reliability wise the car has been fine.

Under warranty I have replaced the clutch master cyl/the interior accessory fan/and the brake sensor switch. No other issues. It does not use 1 drop of oil. What goes in comes out 2 times a year. I change oil when I change tires for the season. Usually March and late November. Uses Selenia 10-50 in the summer and after my warranty is out Im putting 0-40 Mobile 1 in for the winter. Snow driving is not a problem(with winter tires). This is an all season sport rocket!

I did some research before purchasing my car and used the Abarthisti.co.uk for english and joined the German Abarthforum.de becuase Im in Germany and wanted to meet and enjoy the car with other owners. Both sites are great and supportive. I sourced my factory SS brake package from the UK forum!
Fuel required is premium plus here in Germany. I use Shell 100 or Aral 102. The US has no such fuel. Im sure the US model will be tuned appropriately. You are getting a glovebox!! No such thing here on the current models in Europe.

I paid about 18000Euro for mine loaded - Leather, xenon's etc. Stereo is good at times the reception could be better.
Its a perfectly useful car as well. Ive taken it on the road, in the mountains etc. Plenty of room and storage for 2 people to travel well. It rides a bit firm with the short wheel base. Visibility is good and fuel economy of 30+ in town and 38mpg on the road.

I dont like comparisons to the Cooper S. Its larger with a larger motor to begin with. In fact the Abarth is a class smaller to be honest. Americans hopefully will grow to accept smaller vehicles in general but Im not holding my breath. It will develop a cult following but some people cannot be reached. Living here in Europe you realize how much space and weight we waste in the US with SUV's that carry 1 kid and half ounce of nutmeg home from the store.

I considered a number of cars and picked 1 I could not buy in the US. The Abarth. The only other I really looked hard at was the Renault Clio Sport. Its a great car in terms of performance. Its more of a Cooper S. The Abarth does just as well with less power and is a bit smaller. In tight euro locales thats a plus. I can park it anywhere.
I guess thats enough for now. I hope the US market is kind to the Abarth and people simply drive and enjoy it. With the absurd speed limits in the US its got more than enough power and a great drive-train/trans for anyone.

My car last month on a nice fall afternoon here in Germany! Ciao!

small car lover
12-21-2011, 05:12 PM
DLAbarth,

Thanks for sharing. It's really great to get the perspective of actual owners. That is a great looking car in a beautiful setting!

spindoc
12-21-2011, 05:24 PM
It rides a bit firm with the short wheel base.

Thanks for the write-up Dave. I'm wondering what the difference in ride will be on the US version between 16" and 17" wheels. I know the US suspension set-up will be different, but do you or any folks you know (especially ones who may have the Koni kit) have any opinions on this?

DLAbarth
12-21-2011, 05:43 PM
Thanks for the write-up Dave. I'm wondering what the difference in ride will be on the US version between 16" and 17" wheels. I know the US suspension set-up will be different, but do you or any folks you know (especially ones who may have the Koni kit) have any opinions on this?

Spindoc,
Take look at the Abarthisti.co.uk for some great insight on the Koni FSD's avail for the Abarth. Appears that kit makes a nice improvement in ride quality. I have seen the FSD's on Ebay.it for about 618euro's. Seems to be a gent/company there with them in stock at most times. I am contemplating them for my car as well. I have no real problems with the ride as such in any case.

DLAbarth
12-21-2011, 05:44 PM
DLAbarth,

Thanks for sharing. It's really great to get the perspective of actual owners. That is a great looking car in a beautiful setting!

Many thanks. I would see that little lane on the way to work each day and the tunnel of tree's there have amazing color. I pulled over after work 1 day and used my camera phone!!

FiatGusto
12-21-2011, 06:12 PM
Great car....Great post. Welcome.

VTEC Mini
12-21-2011, 07:36 PM
Nice write up thanks!

dan1malk
01-04-2012, 10:20 PM
This thread is awesome thanks for the info!!!

I wanted to ask you about the foot room. I am 6'3" so we're pretty close in size. I found in our US spec sport models, I dont have enough room for my feet AND three pedals. The Abarth has significantly different pedals than the base 500, but i wondered how you felt about the foot room while jumping around the pedals? (especially during more spirited driving.)

Also any comments on the quality of the side-bolstering of the seats would be great.

Thanks so much, this is a great thread.

luke_vibert_uk
01-06-2012, 01:30 PM
I'm 6'2" with 36 inch inside leg and don't have any issues as the seat goes back quite a way. I also have UK Size 10 (US11?) and although the pedal box area is tight, its not cramped. The pedals are set quite high though so those with small feet might notice this. The only thing to consider is that as my car is RHD the clutch pedal rest is positioned in a different location to where yours would be. Mine is tucked in behind the heater/ central control box and it can get a bit restrictive if you need to get your foot on the clutch quickly. Yours would be positioned onto the hinge panel.

Bolstering of the seats is ok, although not as tight as dedicated sport seats and enable you to move without too much restriction, but equally providing enough support for when things get twisty. The higher seat position doesn't help, but the seats can be lowered considerably...

epb
01-06-2012, 07:09 PM
I was just watching an old Top Gear review of the Abarth SS (Seris 12, Ep 2) and noticed that though the car he was in had a sunroof, Clarkson appeared to have plenty of head-room (even with his silly afro). Are the Abarth seats lower than the standard ones?

luke_vibert_uk
01-07-2012, 11:48 AM
No, but they do lower enough for it to be uncomfortable to put your arm on the door arm rest.... i.e if feels that your arm is at an upwards angle if that makes sense...

wachuko
03-09-2012, 09:48 AM
Luke, are you running stock brakes or Brembo?

luke_vibert_uk
03-09-2012, 02:54 PM
They are the uprated Abarth discs and pads that come as part of the Esseesse kit.

The Brembo kit is not cheap... 1750 + 20%VAT and fitting. Put that in context thats three quarters the cost of the Esseesse kit.

This clip shows stock vs. Esseesse @ 2:55mins

http://youtu.be/TVVCMQT5LrY