All-electric Abarth 500e on sale from £34,195
Abarth is opening a new, all-electric chapter with the Abarth 500e, which will arrive as a compact hot hatch to rival the Mini Cooper E
This is the Abarth 500e, a warmed up version of the Fiat 500e that’s already proven to be extremely popular across Europe since its debut. If you’re a student of the petrol-powered Abarth 500, you won’t be surprised to hear that the same rules apply to the new 500e, coming with a more potent powertrain matched to an uprated chassis. Abarth has now detailed pricing and specification details for the dinky hot hatch, which is on sale now from £34,195 in the UK.
At launch, two trim levels will be available – the base 500e and the 500e Turismo, each offered as a hard-top or with a peel-back canvas roof in Cabrio form. Core mechanicals are shared across all models, with a front motor that generates 152bhp and 173lb ft of torque (uplifts of 34bhp and 11lb ft over the Fiat 500e). Being electric, all this performance is available from a standstill, giving it a 0-62mph time of 7sec – 2sec faster than the Fiat. These figures don’t quite match the most potent 178bhp variant of the existing petrol-powered 695, though, which pips the 500e to 62mph by 0.5sec.
The 500e’s power is drawn from a relatively small 42kWh battery pack, with only 37.3kWh of that being usable. It offers up to 164 miles of range as a result – not an outstanding figure by any means, but that small battery pack should at least keep the car's weight in check (for reference, the standard 500e weighs 1365kg). The electric powertrain runs on a 400V electrical architecture which facilitates a maximum 85kW charging speed. At its peak, it’ll charge from 0-80 per cent in around 35 minutes.
Other changes have been made to the chassis setup, with a new suspension tune to improve dynamics. Abarth has also uprated the braking package, fitting disc brakes to both axles (most small EVs run drum brakes on the rear axle due to the use of regenerative braking in everyday scenarios). Compared to the petrol-powered Abarth models, the 500e’s track width is wider, wheelbase longer and its centre of gravity lower, all promising more composed handling.
To try and channel some of the previous car’s rambunctious attitude, Abarth has also equipped the 500e with a noise generator that mimics the noise of the petrol-powered Abarth models under acceleration and deceleration. Abarth has not elaborated on what dictates the sound other than to say it ‘accompanies the engine performance’. Whatever the case, the desire to reproduce sounds from the flatulent Abarth 500 and not a Lampredi Twin-Cam feels like a missed opportunity to us. There'll be further electronic augmentation with the Abarth's four drive models, ranging from Turismo to Scorpion Track. Each alters powertrain response and regen settings depending on the driver's preference.
All Abarth 500e models receive a sporty styling makeover, with new bumpers, a rear diffuser and a roof spoiler. The Turismo version is distinguished by 18-inch diamond cut wheels, rather than the standard 17-inch items, and a different interior specification.
The Abarth's cabin is familiar to the Fiat's whichever version you choose, but the Turismo gets Alcantara and leather upholstery rather than vinyl and fabric, along with a glass roof in hard-top guise. All models come with a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, a digital dash and a JBL sound system, but the Turismo goes further with heated front seats, a rear-view camera and keyless start.
Priced from £34,195, the base car undercuts the Turismo by £4000, and for either model, you'll need to shell out an extra £3000 for the Cabrio bodystyle. Order books are currently open for UK customers, with first deliveries scheduled for this summer.