Electric Abarth 500e costs over £10k more than the petrol model
The hot version of Fiat’s electric city car does 0-62mph in seven seconds, and is now on-sale from £34,195
Months after its original unveiling, the Abarth 500e, is now on sale in the UK, with prices for the souped-up city car starting from £34,195 – almost £11,000 more than the petrol-powered Abarth 595.
The Abarth 500e is a hot take on the award-winning Fiat 500e, with more power, unique styling and a novel ‘Sound Generator’ designed to mimic the outgoing petrol-powered city car. However, despite being electric, its makers say the 500e is “more Abarth than ever.”
Abarth 500e prices and specifications
There are two main versions to choose from: the standard 500e and the range-topping Turismo – both are available in soft-top ‘Cabrio’ form for an extra £3,000.
As mentioned, the entry-level Abarth 500e starts from £34,195. This comes as standard with LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with built-in sat-nav, plus a digital instrument cluster, JBL sound system and the controversial Sound Generator – more on that below.
The Abarth 500e Turismo attempts to justify its £38,195 price tag with a wealth of extra kit including larger 18-inch alloys, heated Alcantara sports seats, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, wireless phone charging and a fixed glass roof on non-Cabrio models.
The first-edition Scorpionissima model cost £38,695 and was limited to 350 cars in the UK, but is now sold out. This featured striking Acid Green or Poison Blue paint, plus exclusive 18-inch wheels and unique side graphics.
Design and interior
Styling-wise, there are plenty of details designed to separate the Abarth from its Fiat sibling. There’s Abarth lettering front and rear, wider bumpers and a honeycomb lower grille. All cars get grey mirror caps while wheel sizes range from 17-18 inches.
Inside, there’s a new three-spoke steering wheel, sports seats and, on top models, lots of Alcantara trim. You get the same seven-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.25-inch touchscreen as the electric Fiat 500, but Abarth has added ‘performance pages’ for displaying more detailed driving data.
Performance and drive
In traditional style, the Abarth 500e is front-wheel drive only, but its single electric motor produces 153bhp and 235Nm of torque, compared to the regular Fiat 500’s 116bhp. The result is a 0-62mph time of seven seconds dead, compared to nine seconds in the Fiat.
There's a new set of drive modes for the Abarth called Turismo, Scorpion Street and Scorpion Track. The first is the equivalent to eco mode, restricting the performance of the electric motor to 132bhp and 230Nm, while Scorpion Track is for when you want full power and less regenerative braking. One-pedal driving is still available in the Abarth 500e, but only in Turismo and Scorpion Street modes.
The sound of Abarth’s hot hatches is part of their identity, so in the absence of any exhaust note, the Abarth 500e features a ‘Sound Generator’ that the maker says is capable of “faithfully reproducing the sound of an Abarth petrol engine”. Owners can switch the synthesised ‘roar’ off when stationary, replacing it with the strum of a guitar that plays when the car is switched on or off.
The maker claims that the electric 500’s bespoke platform – which to date hasn’t been used by any other EV – gives the model a wider track, longer wheelbase and better weight distribution than the old petrol-powered Abarth 695. The 500e is also a full second faster around the brand’s Balocco test track than its combustion-engined predecessor, thanks to those chassis gains and punchier acceleration.
Range and charging
The Abarth 500e uses the same 42kWh battery as the Fiat 500, but while the Fiat offers up to 199 miles of range, the electric hot hatch can only cover up to 164 miles on a charge.
The Abarth's 85kW maximum charging rate is enough to add around 30 miles of range in five minutes, and a 10-80% top-up in 35 minutes from a suitably fast rapid charger. Alternatively, it’ll take around six hours to fully replenish the 42kWh battery using a typical 7.4kW wallbox at home.
It appears 2023 is already shaping up to be the year of the electric hot hatch. Along with the Abarth 500e, the Volkswagen ID.3 GTX is due to arrive within the next 12 months, as is a spicier version of the Cupra Born we saw undergoing testing in September last year. MG has also confirmed it’s introducing a 443bhp dual-motor MG4 in 2023.
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