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View Full Version : What do you expect from the Abarth?



raz
03-22-2012, 11:24 AM
I've always liked small cars, and the simple thrills they provide: more about the handling and less about the speed (specially in a country where I could get in real trouble if above the limit).

So when finally I heard a nice, small, sporty car was in its way I jumped and based on reviews of the european model I put my order.

Since then I've followed the reviews, mostly first drives, lots of them probably based on fiat's own words and descriptions, a few good ones (I personally liked jalopnik's review http://jalopnik.com/5890176/fiat-500-abarth-first-drive).

Having not actually driven the car I am building my expectations based on reviews and forum posts: other person's opinions. Which as I write I realize how dangerous that is, no matter how "professional" they are. After all, to me a car purchase implies more than the specs, numbers, etc.

Today, I came across to this review from what I usually regard as a good source for getting my "car fix".
http://www.insideline.com/fiat/500/2012/2012-fiat-500-abarth-full-test.html

I found it one of the most biased reviews I've ever read. 1 of 8 sections dedicated to labeling the car and people who will buy it, and other section continuing along the lines of "fashion statement". You can make your own judgement.

However, this made me think again about what are my expectations about this car? Mine are:

* Decent acceleration: 7.xs for the 0-60 , which hopefully would feel faster due to the size of the car.
* Good handling, feels nimble, a bit numb steering due to the electronic assist.
* Good breaks, stop the car 60-0 in the mid-low 120ft. Little fading.
* Mileage around the upper 20s for regular driving mode.
* Much more comfortable ride that say a mini.
* Good reliability, and cheap maintenance.
* A great sounding exhaust, that at the same time it's not annoying after 5 minutes driving.
* Good leather interior (since I purchased that option).
* All and all, a small car that I don't need to break speed limits, or even taking to a track, but a nice twisty road to put a smile on my face.

What are yours?

sjmst
03-22-2012, 11:54 AM
I'd say you nailed it. I may not get leather, so other than that I say the same. Also, sorry to admit, I'd like something with a bit more of a male image! Someone commented that my current 500 is a "Mr. Bean" car.

CLXXV
03-22-2012, 03:24 PM
I expect my Abarth will...
* Sound better than almost any 4-cylinder car
* Feel quicker than it really is, especially around town
* Make my gasoline bills go waaaay down (my other cars' EPA numbers are 11/17 and 15/22)
* Annoy me with the low quality of some of its bits (gotta be honest here)
* Surprise me with its overall level of comfort, however
* Eat up my "allowance money" at an alarming rate (carbon fiber this, high-performance that)
* Be laughed at by ignorant hayseeds and other know-nothings
* Be envied by those in the know
* Certainly be a great used car for someone in 2 or 3 years (my cars are pampered)

pchop
03-22-2012, 04:16 PM
I'd say you nailed it. I may not get leather, so other than that I say the same. Also, sorry to admit, I'd like something with a bit more of a male image! Someone commented that my current 500 is a "Mr. Bean" car.

Michael Schumacher drives an Abarth as a daily. :)

DrSinisster
03-22-2012, 04:42 PM
Yes definitely nailed it for me too. From forums on car magazine sites (Car an Driver for example) the "hay seeds" or what i like to call "blissfully ignorant", have made comments like "why buy this little car when the focus st is coming out its much more practical". Well these individuals don't realize a fully loaded titanium model 5 door is the same price range as an Abarth. So besides being in a different class of vehicle, do they not realize the focus could be as much as 7-10k more with go fast goodies. Even the Fiesta st which will definitely not be as fun looking in and out as for some reason gray is the interior car designers favourite colour, will still not be quite as refined as the Abarth or as cool. And dare I say the fiesta might be even more costly than an Abarth as well, but not quite in the Focus range.

I pick these as I cant think of a more commented match or closer match than the Ford brand cars, being a direct American competitor, plus the Blue&ME is built off the same basic Microsoft design as SYNC. I know the Mini seems to be a direct competitor, but keeping in mind it is definitely more costly for purchase and maintenance, because honestly its not a MINI Cooper its a BMW with the name MINI that looks like a revised modern MINI Cooper.

Had to edit this once more after reading the review. That Reviewer is seemingly ignorant of reality when it comes to the "crowd" looking at the Fiat 500 or Abarth models. I have yet to come across a hipster who even drives a car let alone a bad ass hot hatch. This "Moron" should take a trip to europe, and see what the 500 Abarth is to the "crowd" over there where small cars are appreciated and not scoffed at by ignoramus reviewers looking for a leg up on the competition by poking at the scorpion. Too bad the Abarth doesnt come with a real scorpion stinger to poke this loser lol. Rant done( I could go for days lol)

txdesign
03-22-2012, 06:25 PM
Not sure the ride will be MUCH more comfortable than a Mini due to the short wheelbase of the car. However the reviews I have read so far have been positive on ride comfort.

raz
03-22-2012, 06:45 PM
Yeah, now I realized I said "much more comfortable". I just meant more comfortable. Yesterday actually I drove a friends mini, and it's harsher that what I expected. We'll see how the Abarth goes; it's not a deal breaker, but definitely something I am hoping for.

I should add to my list also a good amount of OEM and after-market upgrades, sensibly priced.

Fiat500USA
03-22-2012, 06:57 PM
...
However, this made me think again about what are my expectations about this car? Mine are:

* Decent acceleration: 7.xs for the 0-60 , which hopefully would feel faster due to the size of the car.
* Good handling, feels nimble, a bit numb steering due to the electronic assist.
* Good breaks, stop the car 60-0 in the mid-low 120ft. Little fading.
* Mileage around the upper 20s for regular driving mode.
* Much more comfortable ride that say a mini.
* Good reliability, and cheap maintenance.
* A great sounding exhaust, that at the same time it's not annoying after 5 minutes driving.
* Good leather interior (since I purchased that option).
* All and all, a small car that I don't need to break speed limits, or even taking to a track, but a nice twisty road to put a smile on my face.

What are yours?


I think you'll be happy...

Felnus
03-22-2012, 06:59 PM
Someone commented that my current 500 is a "Mr. Bean" car.

Rowan Atkinson(Mr. Bean) owns a McLaren F1 and until recently had the fastest time of any celebrity around the Top Gear UK track in their reasonably priced car segment. I'd take that as a compliment.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zByPDd1lctY

He's rich, funny and he can drive...

Fiat500USA
03-22-2012, 09:28 PM
Rowan Atkinson(Mr. Bean) owns a McLaren F1 and until recently had the fastest time of any celebrity around the Top Gear UK track in their reasonably priced car segment. I'd take that as a compliment.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zByPDd1lctY

He's rich, funny and he can drive...

Yeah, he's a serious car guy. Good company to be in.

I do understand about wanting something a little more aggressive. The 500 Abarth is everything the regular 500 is, plus it can more than defend itself when need be. It takes away the one area ("only" 101 HP) that you can concede to someone in an argument.

pchop
03-22-2012, 09:35 PM
I don't get why some reviewers rationalize an emotional purchase.

Ferrero1911
03-23-2012, 02:30 AM
1531

He crashed the McLaren a few weeks after that interview.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-14414889

Dwaynek
03-23-2012, 09:51 AM
Small, fast, unique, and gets you adenilin flowing when you drive it!

sjmst
03-23-2012, 10:09 AM
I don't get why some reviewers rationalize an emotional purchase.

Well put.

VTEC Mini
03-23-2012, 10:13 AM
I think the author is a putz with his comments of pigeonholing owners with stereo typing them as "Hipster" and being snooty about it. That in some ways makes his review null and void with me in some aspects but I do agree with that with all the competition out there the idea of mark ups and no test drives from dealers is a bad move and will be short lived. The biggest thing for me and this car is reliability. It does seam that the complaints of the standard 500 are dying down and almost unheard of now which is a good thing.

Felnus
03-23-2012, 12:12 PM
1531

He crashed the McLaren a few weeks after that interview.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-14414889

That was the second time he crashed. Had it repaired both times if I'm not mistaken. Perhaps I should say
he can drive...on a track.

Reaperman
03-24-2012, 01:48 PM
I do have certain expectations for the Abarth 500. From it specifically, I expect:

*An engaging driving experience, while remaining easy to control. I don't want to snooze from A to B, like I do in my Kia.
*An attractive vehicle. I love the basic shape (even if it is a bit large) and feel that stripes and scorpion badges are a huge plus. I also don't expect there to be a million on the road any time soon, meeting my exclusivity hang-ups.
*I expect the exhaust note to make me smile all day long.
*I expect it to be the sportiest car I've ever owned. Meaning that I expect it would flatten the Fiero GT that made me smile as a kid, and the simulator performance seems to indicate this. Bonus points if it's faster than the wife's overpowered saab.
*I expect it to enjoy its racing heritage. From what I've seen it's as much about excellent drivers as excellent cars. The included track day seems to support this. I don't think it would look out of place at too many amateur racing events.

It also meets some minimum requirements I set down for my kia-replacement. 150+hp, 150+lb/ft @2500rpm, under 3000 lbs, manual transmission, sport suspension.

To me, the Abarth looks good, sounds good, goes quickly. Some cars do some of those better than the Abarth, but few of its competitors do all 3 as well. I guess I'm one of those FIAT hipsters they were talking about, because I've been dreaming of this car ever since I saw it on Top Gear.

nsorens
03-24-2012, 01:59 PM
"I've been dreaming of this car ever since I saw it on Top Gear"
Same here. It's so rare to have an opportunity to buy any of the cars we see on Top Gear here in the States, let alone a very affordable hot hatch.

Looks like Jay Leno will have one on his website on Monday the 26th. :smug: http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/2012-fiat-500-abarth-edition-black---coming-mar-26/index.shtml

Mike S
03-24-2012, 02:28 PM
Are you buying from the local dealer? You have one of the lowest dealer fees in the country ($45). I may order my car from them and save $555. By the time it's home I will still have saved a few bucks and had a good time doing it.

Of course some people would just tell me to give the the $600 but I just can't let them hold me up.

wachuko
03-24-2012, 03:14 PM
Are you buying from the local dealer? You have one of the lowest dealer fees in the country ($45). I may order my car from them and save $555. By the time it's home I will still have saved a few bucks and had a good time doing it.

Of course some people would just tell me to give the the $600 but I just can't let them hold me up.

Mike, fyi, Fields FIAT of Orlando has a dealer fee of 389.00

Have Trumpet Will Travel
03-25-2012, 03:42 AM
These "processing fees" or whatever they are, seem to be getting downright annoying, almost deal-breaking, what's going on? Looks like everyone has to make a buck. HTWT.

Fiat_Ohio
03-29-2012, 07:06 PM
I have to echo several people who already mentioned it previously: I wish the car was more efficient than it really is. 1.4L engine should easily do 45+ MPG even with the turbo. Can you imagine how hot those cars would be had the Fiat engineers worked on the engine a little more?

Leotxn
03-29-2012, 09:03 PM
What I expect from the Abarth...

When I started looking at new cars last year I had several I was looking seriously at. Since my first and most loved cars ever was my 83 GTI I had test driven and planned on buying a new one. The problem was the test drive, I didn't get that "feel" I used to have driving the original. I enjoyed the newer GTI but it has grown too large for my tastes and isn't what I remember, which not that is a bad thing. Then the next issue was the pricing (New GTI with options I want is well past 28k) with the options I wanted. Also the GTI's gas mileage not so hot, which isn't one of my huge issues but I already own a 21/28mpg vehicle.

My requirement list for a new car was:
Turbo charged
Hatchback
Sunroof

Enter the Abarth...

The Fiat 500's styling I fell for last year and when I saw the Abarth, omg I was in love. The size of the Abarth is perfect as I have also test driven a Mini and loved it, except I cannot get past that ugly speedo/interior in the Mini. Also the Mini's price with options (Mini S w/sunroof & stereo options 28k in the area I live).
So what I expect is this:

**The feeling I got from my original GTI (per Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear made this comparision)
**Awesome sound from a great powertrain setup
**Sport handling & cornering ability for real world everyday driving
**Pleasing interior to live with over the next 6 years or more
**Ability to make me smile as I tear up some back roads on the weekends blaring my favorite music from my ipod with the sunroof wide open (and if my dog had not passed away this year, her panting in the seat next to me wagging her tail).


Also...

I read the post above about wishing for 45+ MPG & spending more time on the engine... I really didn't & don't expect a sporty car to give such high mpg's. I in fact think the mpg's that the Abarth is listed to deliver is absolutely awesome. I believe Fiat put alot of time into this motor and have produced an awesome power train that can deliver both mpg's in the non-turbo and hot preformance via a turbo. If you look at sporty/performance turbo-charged cars available the Abarth 500's mileage is actually very very good. I am happy with 30+mpg combined, if I was looking for higher I would have went with something less sporty, possibly a hybrid... but that wouldn't be any fun :P

Fiat_Ohio
03-29-2012, 10:19 PM
Add direct injection to this engine and 40+ MPG is guaranteed. A 274-hp Hyundai Sonata 2.0 Turbo gets 34 MPG on the highway... I guess what I was trying to say is that this size engine (1.4L) is capable of much more MPGs than it currently has (and more HP as well). I can only imagine what a beast it would be! :: dreaming ::

Fiat500USA
03-30-2012, 01:25 AM
Just like the regular Fiat 500, the Abarth is not geared to be an economy car. This is especially true for the Abarth (117 hp/liter), Google Paolo Martinelli. Having said that, the Abarth gets the best gas mileage of any performance car in America and Fiat/Chrysler took special pains to quote realistic mpg numbers (and there are questions about Hyundai mpg figures).

You do have a point, though, because besides the cylinder head, the engine has been around a long time and new technology would probably improve the figures somewhat.

Fiat_Ohio
03-30-2012, 08:12 AM
You do have a point, though, because besides the cylinder head, the engine has been around a long time and new technology would probably improve the figures somewhat.

Thanks, that's exactly my point. With the direct injection being a fairly new technology, my hope is that it will eventually make its way into Fiat's engines as well.

Abarth67
03-30-2012, 10:03 AM
Direct Injection is not really new. I had it on my 2006 MazdaSpeed 6. Great technology though.

luke_vibert_uk
03-30-2012, 12:56 PM
Granted its a different engine running (T-Jet) on 95/98/99/102 RON but now that the temperature is picking up in the UK I'll average out at about 33MPG. If you aiming for respectible MPG you are driving the car wrong ;)

Thomas
03-30-2012, 04:07 PM
So right Luke. This car is meant to be 'driven'. If you are going to fully enjoy the car's attributes, your MPG is going to be adversely affected....one way or another. I echo Leo's comments..I find it quite amazing that Fiat is able to get that kind of mileage from a souped up turbo 1.4.

MrFiat
03-30-2012, 06:00 PM
What do I expect from the Abarth? I think I have overly high expectations.

First, I expect it to start when I turn the key and pull the starter lever. (knowing full well, that may or may not happen on any given try. Abarths have moods you know. -- did I say that?) :dread:

Second, I'd expect to drive it back home after an autocross rather than tow it. (That usually happens --- sometimes. --- Unless it's in the mood for some extra attention.):bull_head:

Third, I fully expect to baffle the driver next to me at a light. "hey cool car, what is it? -- Uhhh, I Dunno. I picked it up at a garage sale last month. Some kind of VW kit car I think ........" (happens a lot. Always good for a chuckle.) :stupid:

Last but not least, I expect that, true to Abarth tradition, there will always be "just one more thing" to do to it before it's "finished". :couple_inlove:

ooops, were you talking about the New one? Well. then, it's still an Abarth so perhaps all of the above. Still, I expect it to be much more fun than any of us has a reasonable right to expect. The old ones are. The new ones should be even better. --:eagerness:

1624

ewflyer
03-30-2012, 06:14 PM
Add direct injection to this engine and 40+ MPG is guaranteed. A 274-hp Hyundai Sonata 2.0 Turbo gets 34 MPG on the highway... I guess what I was trying to say is that this size engine (1.4L) is capable of much more MPGs than it currently has (and more HP as well). I can only imagine what a beast it would be! :: dreaming ::

What would be really great to have on the Abarth engine is that new injection system that Toyota is using on their new BRZ sportscar. The BRZ has a 2.0 liter Subaru engine with a Toyota-developed injection system that has two injectors per cylinder: one injector is Direct Injection and the other is in the intake runner (as is usual). The ECU uses the two injectors alone and in tandem under differing engine conditions and demands.

That would be a step forward in both mileage and performance.

Fiat_Ohio
03-30-2012, 09:43 PM
What would be really great to have on the Abarth engine is that new injection system that Toyota is using on their new BRZ sportscar. The BRZ has a 2.0 liter Subaru engine with a Toyota-developed injection system that has two injectors per cylinder: one injector is Direct Injection and the other is in the intake runner (as is usual). The ECU uses the two injectors alone and in tandem under differing engine conditions and demands.

That would be a step forward in both mileage and performance.

True that! I believe Ford used the same technique on their latest Mustang - smaller injector for the highway driving and big ones for when you want it to act like a muscle car :-)
The new Mustang V6 is the only car in its class (300 HP and a V6!) to get 30 MPG on the highway. Once again, this is EPA estimate and as Chris pointed out, real world numbers might be different...

Leotxn
03-30-2012, 11:10 PM
I agree that injector technology would improve HP/MPG possibly but I do not agree that the Toyota system in the BRZ makes more fuel efficency. The BRZ listed MPG is 19 city / 29 highway. The car is roughly 2800lbs, rear wheel drive, 2.0 liter 200hp boxer.

Abarth 28 city / 34 highway, roughly 2400 lbs, front wheel drive, 1.4 liter 160HP turbocharged


The two cars in different classes but to me the power/mpg/engine size comparision the Abarth wins. BRZ 400lbs heavier, 30 more HP, 9 mpg less city / 5 mpg less highway .. Yeah the Toyota injection system doesn't seem that much better to me.


Also the BRZ listed as 200HP/150 lb. ft torque.

Doesn't our engine produce 160HP/ 170 lb. ft torque.

I think the Fiat technology is just fine.

Fiat500USA
03-31-2012, 01:08 AM
I agree that injector technology would improve HP/MPG possibly but I do not agree that the Toyota system in the BRZ makes more fuel efficency. The BRZ listed MPG is 19 city / 29 highway. The car is roughly 2800lbs, rear wheel drive, 2.0 liter 200hp boxer.

Abarth 28 city / 34 highway, roughly 2400 lbs, front wheel drive, 1.4 liter 160HP turbocharged


The two cars in different classes but to me the power/mpg/engine size comparision the Abarth wins. BRZ 400lbs heavier, 30 more HP, 9 mpg less city / 5 mpg less highway .. Yeah the Toyota injection system doesn't seem that much better to me.


Also the BRZ listed as 200HP/150 lb. ft torque.

Doesn't our engine produce 160HP/ 170 lb. ft torque.

I think the Fiat technology is just fine.

Thanks for those numbers. The Abarth's torque to weight ratio really looks interesting! If I had to choose between direct injection and MultiAir, I'd still take MultiAir. Fiat has a new larger engine that will combine MultiAir and direct injection for use in larger/sports cars. We'll see that soon as long as Italy doesn't come crashing down.