What is it?
It’s hard to dislike the Fiat 500 Abarth; it would be like trying to kick a baby seal. So it’s always been with much pleasure that we’ve found Fiat’s fiery supermini lives up to expectations in terms of entertainment, even if there are also glaring flaws regards ride quality and in the case of the convertible 5000C, the acceptable but uninspiring five-speed robotic manual that was its standard and only transmission.
So this updated Abarth 500C, complete with manual gearbox and softer suspension should be the best of the lot.
What’s it like?
It’s certainly not the best Abarth. In fact, in the Esseesse trim as tested here, it’s the worst. The Esseesse pack doesn’t only bring with it a power upgrade from 138bhp to 158bhp, it also gets lowered suspension front and back, new Koni dampers and 17-inch alloys that makes the 500C crash over most surface intrusions, whilst looser body control makes it feel a touch more unsettled than the hatch.
Perhaps worse than this was the pronounced turbo-lag. Even after selecting ‘Sport’, which you’ll want to do for every journey to avoid the too-soft throttle response that is a common complaint in Abarths, the power trickles along until it all arrives in one torrent of turbo-boost.