Abarth, Fiats performance-oriented sub-brand is best known for tweaking the tiny 500 and turning it into a raging boar that is likely one of the most useless cars on the planet, yet every gearhead — myself included — would love to have as a weekend track-day toy. According to a report from Car Advice, Fiat may allow Abarth to bring its hellfire and brimstone to the new 500X crossover.
A larger Fiat 500 with more space, four-wheel drive and Abarth’s insane engineering; sounds like a perfect match to me. And according to the interview Fiat’s head of European design Roberto Giolito gave Car Advice, he agrees with me. Specifically, Giolito said: “I can say today this is a good item. It’s absolutely perfect in terms of drivability, control. The driving seat is perfectly measured to control the car. So the Abarth would be perfect.” If that’s not a ringing endorsement to allow Abarth to unleash its craziness on the largest of the 500s, then I don’t know what is.
According to Giolito, the 500X would look drastically different once Abarth finished meddling with it, unlike the base 500. The reasoning for the more comprehensive visual changes is that the 500X has a much larger canvas than the 500 for Abarth to paint on, giving the performance arm more freedom to customize its exterior and interior.
What would lie under the hood of an Abarth-tuned 500X remains a mystery. The current Abarth 500 has a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine that produces 160 horsepower, which is 10 ponies less than the Turbo MultiAir II in higher levels of the 500X. This means that Abarth would need to get the 500X to around 200 to 210 horsepower to make it worthy of the badge. This would also put it right in line with its direct competitor, the Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4.
For now this report remains speculation based upon the interest of one Fiat executive, but if an Abarth 500X is in the cards, look for it to arrive a year or so after the base 500X hits the market.