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Thread: How hard do you drive your 500?

  1. #1
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    Jun 2011
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    How hard do you drive your 500?

    To all the owners of normally aspirated 500s with manual transmissions: How hard do you drive your 500? Specifically, what kind of RPM are you turning when you shift, do you speed shift, do you floor the gas or is there an imaginary egg under it, are you using sport mode or not?

    I ask because when I drive in a way that I feel is conducive to long engine life and good fuel economy, I definitely hold up traffic. Moreover, I've been left in the dust by some pretty pathetic things lately. It seems like I have to shift at no less than 3500 RPM to genuinely keep up with traffic, which is a lot harder than I like to rev an engine as a matter of routine, especially if it's cold. Shifting at 3000 RPM, I'm probably holding people up but not enough that they get upset. Any less than that, and I start causing road rage.

    Just curious what other people's experiences have been.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dwaynek's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
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    Around 4000 rpm in my Abarth

  3. #3
    All 101HP all the time Lifetime Member Felnus's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
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    Depends. On the way home, I pulled out onto the freeway, shifted into 2nd at 6000rpm and 3rd at 6500. Then into 5th and turned on the cruise control. Usually, I keep below 3000 when the engine is cold and then anywhere from 2100 to 4500rpms depending on my mood. Sometimes with Sport on, usually off. I average about 37.5 mpg and I'm not even trying.

    Rule #1 Don't let others on the road influence how you are driving. If they are in a hurry they can pass you. Do what I do, give them a friendly wave and smile while saying, "Go find a cop."
    Last edited by Felnus; 12-30-2012 at 07:02 PM.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Tweak's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
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    When I had my Sport I drove it hard and I know what you mean about feeling like you are holding up traffic, now with the Abarth I drive hard, maybe harder. I definitely have more fun now and getting up to speed is a world of difference. In both cars Sport mode was always on and still is pretty much all the time, say 98% on, 2% of the time off. The shift indicator likes to remind me to shift at times...hehe.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mike S's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    They are nothing like the earlier ones so low rpm's rule.

    I don't look at the tach and just listen. Older Fiats and Alfas could rev high and not break. Italians want to sound fast even when going slow. My older Fiats had a stock redline of 7500 but always went to 10k stock with no problem. A friend at an autocross on a go kart track found there was not enough time to shift and decided to keep it in first gear for the course. Wrapped the tach to zero which would be 12k if the tach was accurate. It sure sounded like 12. It stayed together (they always do) because they were well balanced engines from the factory. The car was stock with 70k miles on it.

    Still fun to drive but Italian high RPM sounds would make it even better.

  6. #6
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    Clearwater, FL
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    My 500T is basically still in the break in stage (only 600 miles) but I find myself shifting between 3000-3500 rpms most times. Anything higher than that and the little thing really starts to roar.

  7. #7
    Senior Member pastor passum's Avatar
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    I've put about 1,500 miles on NA 500's and find I drive them almost identical to the Abarth. If I'm in no particular hurry I usually shift around 3500. If I'm enjoying the car "feeling frisky" it's more like 5,000 or more RPMs. Usually I've found it seems to bother folks if you accelerate quicker than they expect leaving a light. I assume they're expecting you to hold them up. That's so cool. Sixty six year old hooligan here

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  9. #8
    Official Vendor NGEN's Avatar
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    I would definitely say I drive our Sport hard. When just cruising, I shift at about 3500 RPMs. However, when I am wanting to do some "sprinting", I will shift at around 5000-5500. Sport mode is always on. It seems to bog down to much when I am not in Sport mode.

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  10. #9
    When I had my Prima I never felt I was holding traffic up. In fact, in normal traffic I usually stayed in front unless someone was really getting on it. When in doubt, use more rpm! LOL

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  11. #10
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    Hmm, sounds like I'm definitely driving more conservatively than most. 3000-3500 seems to be the sweet spot. I find it hard to drive smoothly on either side of that range as the clutch engages rather abruptly, and of course it's pretty sluggish below that, but it's still harder than I like to rev an engine. The first manual transmission I ever drove was a diesel truck that redlined at maybe 3700, so I typically shifted at 2000. At the other end of the spectrum, I've had some old Alfas that seemed to thrive on abuse, occasionally going well past the stated redline (much like Mike S describes). I've never been opposed to using high RPM for fun, but the Fiat is the first thing I've had that NEEDED to be revved hard just to keep up, and I'm having a hard time adjusting. 3500 RPM on a cold engine seems like a recipe for walking home, gathering up engine parts along the way. Well, maybe not, but I figure other things being equal, an engine that turns over twice as many times will last half as long.

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