Abarth 500e Is an Electric Hot Hatch with a Fake Engine Sound Generator
The performance version of the Fiat 500e has been revealed, with the Abarth model going electric for the first time.
153 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque are fed to the front wheels, shooting the tiny hatch to 62 mph in 7.0 seconds.
The Abarth 500e also comes with a Sound Generator that produces fake engine noises, but the electric hatchback likely won't be sold in the United States.
At the Los Angeles auto show earlier this month, Fiat announced that it will finally bring the electric 500e, which has been on sale in Europe since 2020, to the United States for 2024. In fact, Fiat CEO Olivier François told Car and Driver that the automaker's U.S. lineup will consist solely of the 500e, with the 500X SUV not receiving a new generation. Now parent company Stellantis has revealed a new Abarth 500e, bringing zippy performance to the tiny city car, although its unclear if the Abarth version will ever reach American shores.
A single electric motor powers the front wheels of the Abarth 500e, producing 153 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque. That's a decent increase over the standard 500e, which emits 117 horsepower and, in the U.S.-spec car, 162 pound-feet of torque. Abarth claims the hot hatch can reach 62 mph in 7.0 seconds, and Abarth says the electric car was 1.0 second quicker around the Misto Alfa test track at Balocco than the gas-powered Abarth 695 based on the previous 500. The Abarth uses the same lithium-ion battery as the standard 500e, which has a usable capacity of 37.3 kWh, and while no range figure was quoted, the Abarth likely can't travel as far as its less powerful counterpart.
The Abarth 500e has three drive modes—Turismo, Scorpion Street, and Scorpion Track. Turismo smooths out power delivery and limits output to 134 hp and 162 pound-feet of torque, while the Scorpion modes unlock the full power and escalate the 500e’s performance. One-pedal driving is available in Turismo and Scorpion Street, and Abarth says that with a maximum charging rate of 85 kW, the 500e can reach 80 percent in 35 minutes.
Abarth also touts an "immersive sound experience" for the electric hatch—turning the car on produces a simulated guitar sound, and when you go over 12 mph for the first time after startup, a "strumming guitar" plays. A Sound Generator can also be turned on to reproduce the noise of an Abarth gas engine.
Stylistically, not much has changed compared to the standard 500e, with the 500 badging swapped out for a bold "Abarth" font and the scorpion-bearing badge on the nose. The front and rear bumpers have undergone minor revisions, a new "electrified" scorpion logo sits behind the doors, and there is a new wheel design. The version seen here is the fully loaded Scorpionissima launch edition, which will be limited to 1949 units and comes in either Acid Green or Poison Blue. It brings unique side graphics and 18-inch diamond-cut wheels as well as embossed seats, unique steel pedals, and an Alcantara dashboard.
While Fiat is bringing the 500 back to the United States for the 2024 model year, we don't expect the Abarth model to return, at least not initially. Fiat has announced that full details of the U.S.-spec 500e will be revealed at the 2023 Los Angeles auto show.
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