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Old 08-05-2010, 07:57 AM   #1
whitham_wannabe OP
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The best car you will probably never drive.

So I just attended a friend's wedding back in the old country, and was going to spend 6 days driving all around the UK. At the rental desk I asked for something a little interesting and was pleasantly surprised to be offered a diminutive Fiat 500 Abarth.



If you don't know what one of these is, shame on you, but let me save you embarrassment in social situations by enlightening you ... the 500 is a supermini, a tiny little retro styled throw back to the 500 of the 60's. The Abarth bit is a wonderful mish mash of scorpian badges, boy racer stickers, fancy alloys, stomping red brake calipers and best of all, a turbo slapped on the little 1.4 litre engine.

For all you colonials 135hp (for that is what it makes) may sound a little weedy, but remember that this is in a car that weighs about the same as Cadillac's door. Does it go? You bet it does, it takes a little work to keep the turbo spooled up, but you can watch the progress on the handy gauge atop the dash, and when it spins this little car will surprise a lot of people. Is it the FATEST car out there? Well, no. Is it fast enough to have a lot of fun? Abso-bloody-lutely!

Handling is great, sharp turn in , changes to mild understeer until you get back on the gas, then fine, acurate neutrality is the name of the game, you can feel the car rotate around your hips, then knick the apex and drive for the exit. But the best part of the handling is that it feels like fun ... I drive a Lotus Elise, which is faster and better handling, but if you miss an apex you rather feel like you are letting the side down, and Colin Chapman wants his car back - the Fiat just laughs along right with you and together you go hunting the next apex.

Interior is nicely equiped, with no silliness like electric seats or any of the other baubles you really don't need, and just weigh you down. I am six foot two, and had plenty of space to be comfortable, and enough headroom that I could wear a jaunty hat, if I were prone to such things. At 100mph one hardly needs to raise one's voice to be heard, and nothing rusted, broke or fell off in the week that I owned it. Quite un-Fiat like. Ride is a little choppy, but in a car whose wheelbase is only a little longer than my outstretched arms, that is to be expected.

But the most amazing thing is that, bearing in mind this was a rental car and I was in a country policed by speed cameras to which my license is immune, I still got 38 mg. I drove this car like an idiot for nearly 1500 miles and it still sipped fuel like it is going out of fashion (hmmm ...).

So please, Mr Chrysler, bring this car to the US. Everyone here wants one, they just don't realise it yet.

Cliff Notes:
Small and light is great, especially when it comes in Abarth flavour.

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Old 08-05-2010, 08:15 AM   #2
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My wife is running around and believe she's getting one. BTW, Fiat has plans to get 'em here and, listen to this shite, Alfa Romeo too
At least, that's what I hear, but I've heard things that's not true over here before so I'm not holding my breath. Mondeo was supposed to come over here this year, but I haven't seen any yet
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:18 AM   #3
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If you are going to start a thread about "The best car..." you should set your sights a little higher. That thing isn't even a good joke.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:23 AM   #4
Sniper X
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I want one bad. The Abarth is sweet. Check this out....Abarth has a little history of being .....Quite Mad.[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAKEZ
If you are going to start a thread about "The best car..." you should set your sights a little higher. That thing isn't even a good joke.
u haven't driven one have ya? That is now the best selling small car in the world isn't it? I would guess it has something going for iit. The Top Gear guys like it better than the Mini Cooper.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:25 AM   #6
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I was handed the keys to a small Fiat (can't recall the model) a few years ago at a car rental station in Milan.

After four days I was ready to drive it home instead of handing it back at the airport.

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Old 08-05-2010, 08:27 AM   #7
Norhasken
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The best car I will probably never drive is a SLS AMG, not some tarted up Fiat.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:29 AM   #8
Bonsai Elephant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norhasken
The best car I will probably never drive is a SLS AMG, not some tarted up Fiat.
I saw one of those last Friday at a cheap beach bar.

Nice to know the rich go to the same crappy bars I do!

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Old 08-05-2010, 08:30 AM   #9
PaleRider
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late to the party

Let's mark this date: August 5, 2010
You write like YOU just discovered the Fiat Cinquecento, kind of like Columbus "discovered" the "New World."

You don't happen to be a local newspaper auto writer, do you?



http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=479572&highlight=abarth (note post 2, as well )

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitham_wannabe
So I just attended a friend's wedding back in the old country, and was going to spend 6 days driving all around the UK. At the rental desk I asked for something a little interesting and was pleasantly surprised to be offered a diminutive Fiat 500 Abarth.



If you don't know what one of these is, shame on you, but let me save you embarrassment in social situations by enlightening you ... the 500 is a supermini, a tiny little retro styled throw back to the 500 of the 60's. The Abarth bit is a wonderful mish mash of scorpian badges, boy racer stickers, fancy alloys, stomping red brake calipers and best of all, a turbo slapped on the little 1.4 litre engine.

For all you colonials 135hp (for that is what it makes) may sound a little weedy, but remember that this is in a car that weighs about the same as Cadillac's door. Does it go? You bet it does, it takes a little work to keep the turbo spooled up, but you can watch the progress on the handy gauge atop the dash, and when it spins this little car will surprise a lot of people. Is it the FATEST car out there? Well, no. Is it fast enough to have a lot of fun? Abso-bloody-lutely!

Handling is great, sharp turn in , changes to mild understeer until you get back on the gas, then fine, acurate neutrality is the name of the game, you can feel the car rotate around your hips, then knick the apex and drive for the exit. But the best part of the handling is that it feels like fun ... I drive a Lotus Elise, which is faster and better handling, but if you miss an apex you rather feel like you are letting the side down, and Colin Chapman wants his car back - the Fiat just laughs along right with you and together you go hunting the next apex.

Interior is nicely equiped, with no silliness like electric seats or any of the other baubles you really don't need, and just weigh you down. I am six foot two, and had plenty of space to be comfortable, and enough headroom that I could wear a jaunty hat, if I were prone to such things. At 100mph one hardly needs to raise one's voice to be heard, and nothing rusted, broke or fell off in the week that I owned it. Quite un-Fiat like. Ride is a little choppy, but in a car whose wheelbase is only a little longer than my outstretched arms, that is to be expected.

But the most amazing thing is that, bearing in mind this was a rental car and I was in a country policed by speed cameras to which my license is immune, I still got 38 mg. I drove this car like an idiot for nearly 1500 miles and it still sipped fuel like it is going out of fashion (hmmm ...).

So please, Mr Chrysler, bring this car to the US. Everyone here wants one, they just don't realise it yet.

Cliff Notes:
Small and light is great, especially when it comes in Abarth flavour.

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Old 08-05-2010, 08:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonsai Elephant
I saw one of those last Friday at a cheap beach bar.

Nice to know the rich go to the same crappy bars I do!

They're just there to snif their lousy past


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Old 08-05-2010, 08:31 AM   #11
wannaklr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAKEZ
If you are going to start a thread about "The best car..." you should set your sights a little higher. That thing isn't even a good joke.
What didn't you like about it?


I love the looks of the Abarth and that small car is right up my alley.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:31 AM   #12
Norhasken
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonsai Elephant
I saw one of those last Friday at a cheap beach bar.

Nice to know the rich go to the same crappy bars I do!

Alcohol, the great equalizer.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:33 AM   #13
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Very nice write up ww!

I like the new 500s but, call me sntimental, I still prfer the old ones. Far from the performance level of the current one, but hell are they fun to drive!
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAKEZ
That thing isn't even a good joke.
I dare say if it's good enough for Il Dottore' , it's good enough for you

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Old 08-05-2010, 08:35 AM   #15
Srbenda
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Ah, I have not driven one, but did get to sit in one.
Great looking little car.

America needs more automobiles like this.
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