Geneva motor show 2008 - Fiat 500 Abarth

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Abarth isn't just a badge – it’s a self-contained tuning operation with its own race shop and a team of engineers who develop new road-going Fiats. Abarth also builds race and rally cars for customers around the world.

The decision to sell Abarth versions of the Fiat 500 and Grande Punto from this summer should, therefore, be taken very seriously indeed.

The Fiat 500 Abarth, unveiled in Geneva, is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine that produces 135bhp. By pushing a button in the cabin, the driver can select one of two modes. In Sport mode, all of the engine's 152lb ft of pulling power is available, but in Normal mode it is reduced to 132lb ft.

The 500 Abarth has uprated suspension for sharper steering and handling. Broader wheels and wheelarches add to the car’s dramatic flair and grip levels.

Other racy touches include the aggressive body kit, which, designers say, aids aerodynamics as well as giving the car an aggressive look. There are also LED gearshift lights in the cabin and scorpion logos embossed on the twin exhaust.

If that's not enough performance for you, you'll have to wait until the Essesse version of the 500 goes on sale. There's already a Punto Essesse, and the 500 version is thought to have 160bhp, as well as uprated suspension and a body kit.

The standard Fiat 500 Abarth is expected to cost about £14,000.

Geneva motor show 2008 - Fiat 500 Aria

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