TopGear.com04 August 2014

This is the meanest Fiat 500 on Earth

RRM’s 250bhp Abarth reckons it can smash a Lotus Exige around a race track. Still looks adorable

There’s something adorably incongruous about the world’s desire to turn the bug-eyed, cute-as-a-very-cute-button Fiat 500 into a circuit-devouring sports-thing. Like arming a Labrador puppy with a claymore.

From Fiat’s own Abarth efforts to aftermarket tuning jobs, it seems everyone wants to turn the little 500 nasty.

But we’ve not yet seen one nastier than Road Race Motorsports’ shot at a Cinquecentro, creating what it calls the ‘500 M1 Turbo Tallini Competizione’, a name rather longer than the car itself.

The American-fettled 500 M1 (let’s go with that for brevity) is a road-legal track-day special that, promises RRM, can keep pace with a Lotus Exige around a circuit. That’s fighting talk.

So how exactly is the bulbous Fiat planning to stick it to Hethel’s finest? With extra power, of course. The M1 sees its 1.4-litre turbo engine boosted to 250bhp and 250 lb ft, a jump of 115bhp and 99lb ft on the Abarth 500. Though remaining front-wheel drive, it’s also some 54kg lighter than the standard 500, thanks to extensive use of carbon fibre.

All of which means the RRM 500 will get from 0-62mph in just over seven seconds, and, with uprated brakes, stop around 20 per cent quicker than the Abarth 500. Quicker than an Exige? Maybe not so much.

There’s plenty of race-bred goodness on show, too, including a limited-slip differential, carbon-kevlar clutch and a thoroughly overhauled suspension system including Bilstein shocks.

Those wide arches – rendered, naturally, in carbon fibre – conceal 225-section tyres all round, with the 500 M1 sprouting wings and vents all round to keep things cool when it’s doing its very best to swap paint with mid-engined Lotuses.

On the inside, a full roll cage wraps around race bucket seats packing five-point harnesses.

Need the world’s cutest assassin in your life? RRM will build just 50 examples of the 500 M1. Upgrades start at around £10,000, with this full M1 enchilada costing around £60,000.

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