A sportier version of Fiat’s new 500X compact crossover is rumoured to be coming in 2017, according to reports from the UK.
According to UK site Autocar, a 127kW version of Fiat’s MultiAir II 1.4 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine will power the new model - but with a 125kW version of that engine already a part of the standard range, expect a far healthier final figure.
One option is a detuned version of the 1.75 litre four used in the Alfa Romeo 4C and Giulietta QV. While those models feature 177kW of power, a more sedate 150kW is expected. (That engine is also likely to be deployed in a future Abarth version of the Fiat 124 Spider.)
To give it a further edge over the standard model, Abarth engineers will tackle suspension and steering to endow the SUV with the kind of agile handling found in the 500 hatch range.
Drive will be channelled through the standard all-wheel-drive system used by the 500X Lounge and Cross X versions, but instead of the nine-speed hydraulic automatic used in those models, a variant of the 500X FWD's six-speed dual-clutch auto is expected to feature.
While the compact SUV segment enjoys rapid growth, few manufacturers have offered sporty variants. The MINI Countryman JCW and Nissan’s Juke Nismo (which isn’t sold here) amongst the first to try the formula.
Abarth’s current Australian line-up is limited to variants of the Fiat 500 city hatch, but with both the 124 Spider and 500X both set to join the range in 2017, the go-fast division would seem to be chasing growth in Australia
Inside, the 500X will likely score Abarth sports seats, unique dashboard styling touches, and restyled instrument cluster graphics, while the outside will dial up the aggression thanks to deeper bumpers with more prominent intakes up front and a diffuser-style rear bar.
A selection of Abarth decals and alloy wheels will also join the upgrades, as well as retuned suspension and steering, and a more tuneful exhaust to hint at its performance potential.