2013 Fiat 500 Turbo
The Fiat 500 Abarth packed so much performance into its tiny frame that it took our Drivers’ Choice Award for best Sport Coupe. But for those seeking to get their Fiat-fix with a little less sting, and a little more forgiveness, there’s the 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo.
The Turbo utilizes the Abarth’s 1.4 liter MultiAir turbocharged I-4, though horsepower here is down 25 to 135. Still, that’s a third more than the standard 500. Brakes, and the heavy duty five speed manual trans also trickle down from the Abarth, though suspension borrows parts from the lesser 500 Sport, as well. So a trip to the track was in order to see how this package really comes together.
Off the line power came on fairly strong, all things considered; and our 0-60 time of just under 8 seconds was only a few tenths behind the raucous Abarth. Revs climb quickly, though we do wish for more feedback through the clutch for precise shifting.
While Sport Mode does improve steering feel, the softer suspension setup makes the Turbo more suited to back-roads cruising. There is enough stiffness to inspire confidence, but the awkwardly tall body doesn’t lend itself well to sharp corners.
Styling brings a few Abarth cues, like front fascia and intakes…though on the whole, the Turbo still oozes the goodie-two-shoes nature of the 500 nameplate, just now with the mildest streak of mean. Interior, too, loses that Abarth flair, which we really loved.
GREG CARLOSS: The 500 Turbo is a really nice upgrade over the base 500. It’s quick, it’s responsive, and it puts out a really sporty exhaust note. And for a reasonable price, it’s a good give and take for those that aren’t ready to go all-in with the Abarth.
JOHN DAVIS: Starting around $20,000, the Turbo slots in around twenty five hundred dollars less than the Abarth, and three grand over the base 500. And to us, the compromise seems to fit the price. The Turbo is on sale now.
Engine: 1.4 liter
Price: Starting around $20,000