With only one model in its performance portfolio at the moment, Fiat’s Abarth performance arm is a little under-utilised.
That’s expected to change soon, thanks to a slew of new products rolling out from Fiat. Topping the list for the Abarth treatment may be the 500X SUV.
Due to arrive in Australia early next year, the standard 500X range will share its platform with Jeep’s Renegade SUV.
While the Renegade will focus on its rough-and-tumble abilities, the 500X will be marketed as a more city-friendly SUV. Australian specification for the regular 500X is expected to see a 1.4 litre turbo engine mated to front-wheel-drive.
An Abarth version would be more likely to offer a version of the 1.75 litre turbo four, as seen in the Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta QV and 4C coupe and roadster. With up to 177kW available, via a dual-clutch transmission.
All-wheel-drive isn’t entirely out of the question though, with an all-paw diesel version of the 500X available overseas that could be adapted for the high-performance engine.
Meanwhile Abarth purists need not worry that a 500X will sully the reputation of the performance arm.
“Any new version of an Abarth car should deliver some sort of a performance enhancement, otherwise it is useless,” Fiat Chrysler’s chief operating officer, Alfredo Altavilla said, in an interview with Auto Express.
An Abarth styling makeover is sure to make the 500X stand out from the crowd too, with deeper bumpers, an enlarged rear wing, lowered suspension and larger alloy wheels all expected. A smattering of scorpion badges and sticker packs should complete the picture.
Australians can expect the regular 500X to launch early in 2016.