UNVEILED AT the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, the sporty Fiat 500 Abarth had been scheduled to arrive in Australian showrooms early 2009. The news then changed with an expected launch here later in the year.
That was then. This week, Australian Fiat distributor Ateco confirmed that the 2010 Fiat 500 Abarth will finally get its local launch in June.
Public Relations Manager for Fiat Australia, Edward Rowe, told TMR that it was the car's popularity in Europe that had kept it away until now.
â€œItâ€™s a supply issue, more than anything else. The Fiat 500 is proving to be quite popular in Europe, and with the Poland assembly plant working at capacity to keep up with demand, weâ€™ve had to push back the Abarthâ€™s arrival in Australia,â€ Mr Rowe said.
The performance version of the popular Fiat 500 is powered by the companyâ€™s Fire 1.4 16v petrol turbo engine, developing 99kW at 5500rpm with peak torque of 206Nm in â€˜Sportâ€™ mode. The more fuel-efficient â€˜Normalâ€™ mode drops torque to 180Nm at 2500rpm.
A new Torque Transfer Control system has been developed to improve the delivery of torque to the wheels, ensuring the front-wheel-drive 500 Abarth remains composed when cornering.
The Fiat 500 made its Australian debut at the Melbourne International Motor Show in 2008, followed by an appearance at the 2008 F1 Grand Prix as the car of choice for the Celebrity Challenge race.
While availability and a specific price has yet to be announced, the Fiat 500 Abarth is expected to be priced in the low $30,000 range. By comparison, the recently launched convertible Fiat 500C tops out at $30,990 for the DuaLogic automatic model.