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The Top Gear car review:Abarth 500
What is it like on the road?
A fly in the 500’s ointment has always been its driving position. It’s far too high, even in the standard car, but this becomes a more serious problem when you’re trying to dial in some performance. That sense of being too far removed from the road is a deal breaker for us, a problem compounded by light steering that’s short on feel.
Nevertheless, the Abarth feels well planted on that widened stance and a heavily stiffened chassis keeps it stable to the limits of its mechanical grip. This does make the ride pretty awful, but in a shorty hot hatch you can expect nothing more.
The 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol engine in here is turbocharged to 140bhp. That may not sound like much, but there’s not much to the Fiat 500 so it feels exceedingly quick. And if you can afford the Esseesse upgrade, power is tweaked to 160bhp, which starts to feel bonkers…and you can go further, up to 180bhp. Turismo and Competizione variants get these respective packs as standard, along with upgraded front and rear dampers plus 17-inch alloys. Hardcore 695 BiPosto is as special as its £33K plus price tag would suggest