I love the new Abarth as much as anyone else, but it's time to move on

or is it just me?

Many moons ago, a friend of mine - software engineer and former* car collector - bought a Fiat 500 Abarth convertible, the Bicolore model, and one day he called and he said, "hey, you can use my Abarth for the weekend if I can use your Mazda RX-8, what do you say?" - I said yes. Mainly because I was looking for any excuse to offload my RX-8 and make it (and its fuel consumption) somebody else's problem. Even if it was just for a couple of days.

The car was amazing. It was fast and nippy, fun to drive, comfortable, practical, and it wasn't even thirsty. Yes, it wasn't exactly a racer in terms of aerodynamics but who cares. The problem is this was 2012, and here we are, ten years later, and Abarth is still making ends meet by building nothing but washed-up versions of the same car.

Fiat, and consequently Abarth, have upgraded and refreshed the modern 500 a couple of times but it's still the same project, built on the same platform that they used 15 years ago. This is the latest Abarth, and I'm sorry if I sound cynical but it's yet another 'limited-edition' 'Speciale' model, again powered by the same 1.4 T-Jet engine. Once again, fitted with the usual aggressive body kit and large wheels. If you buy this, you're buying the umpteenth limited-edition Abarth that's basically the same as any other Abarth. Yeah, only 165 units will be built but what's the point of a 'limited-edition' model if you keep building different versions of the same car. They're basically just putting old wine in a new bottle.

I want Abarth to survive, and thrive. The 500 is great, don't get me wrong, but we need more. We need something new.

What do you think? Should Abarth just stick to the 500 and its various spin-offs, or should they diversify and build more cars?

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Comments (17)

  • You're not alone. They should diversify and make more interesting creations. Like Abarth, Lancia isn't just getting sufficient amounts of love and care they deserve. Make a new modern take on the X1/9 as a roadster with modern Bertone-style cues to battle it out with the Miata. Make a modern day VW Golf-sized sports sedan with a new 128, but also make it reasonably practical on the inside, while weighing 2,800 lbs with modern conveniences. Make the 500 more simple, classic, and DIY-friendly.

    For the profitable side of the models: revive the Campagnola (Fiat's answer to the Original Jeep CJ and Jimny) and make it Italy's mini-scale Wrangler. Charming, Reliable, Practical, and Rugged. Also build a stronger CUV that slots alongside the Campagnola as the more spacious family option. Build it on the Alfa Romeo Stelvio's platform. Also, as controversial as this might sound, bring back the Multipla as a Transit/Sprinter-rivaling van, that could also be bought by civilians and be taken up for commercial use as well.

    Also: Emphasize on reliability and overbuilding of parts. Source electronics from Toyota if that is what needs to be done. Spend a good dose of money on marketing as the reboot of Italy's finest and make people want to own these cars. Build a strong base!

      23 days ago
    • they've got an entire back catalogue of Fiat models and Abarth models that they can go back to, just for a start, how much longer can they survive with the 500?

        23 days ago
    • not for very long if this is gonna be their only car...

        23 days ago
  • FIAT way for the last 15 years or so - delay, delay, miss, delay, while badgin' the shit put of the speciale, evoluzione, tributo this, tributo that...

    I mean, I love italian cars but thiw is getting ridiculous - Alfa and Maserati in particular. Shame. They're tightnin' the final nails in those brands' coffins.

      22 days ago
  • It's a great car and I think it's fine the way it is but maybe a redesign is in order

      23 days ago
  • It would be really nice to have a new Abarth based on the Tipo tbh

      21 days ago
  • Well, seeing that they have already payed for R&D and tooling seems they could sell them cheep. The Volkswagens Bug sure had a long run doing this. Lots of people ain’t like us and just want a car to drive.

      23 days ago