Sam Philip26 August 2009

Abarth attack

German tuner bumps Fiat’s 500 up to 197bhp. We call it the Esseesseesseessee…

How much power can a tiny hot hatch take? The Ford Focus RS has proved that 300bhp is manageable - just - in the world of full-size hatchery, but what about the Abarth 500?

Fiat's in-house tuning brand will cook you up a 158bhp ‘Esseesse' 500 if you ask them really nicely, but German tunemeister Karl Schnoor - who, contrary to popular believe, does not have the schnow-how - has decided this is not enough.

Taking the Esseesse 500 and fitting its 1.4-litre four-pot with a fat new turbocharger, tweaking the ECU and bolting on a big exhaust, Schnoor has bumped the little Abarth's output up to a meaty 197bhp. That's a lot of power in a very small car.

Schnoor will also treat your 500 to smart set of 17-inch wheels and a new coilover suspension kit which drops the ride height by a few millimetres. The cost of all this extra fastness? Around £4,500 on top of the donor car.

We don't know what Schnoor calls its mad little creation. May we suggest the Esseesseesseesse?

Will it torque steer like a drunk Saab Viggen? Almost certainly. Do we want to try it? Schnoor do...

Now watch Jeremy and the Stig chuck Fiat’s hot 500 Abarth round our test track:

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