Abarth 500e: Just a Detox Scorpion with an Electric Drive

Abarth 500e: Just a Detox Scorpion with an Electric Drive

Abarth, the performance division of Fiat, aims to enhance the driving experience of the Fiat 500e electric car by incorporating features such as a sound generator, special tires, increased power, and an adapted chassis. The objective is to imbue the typical Abarth sportiness into the vehicle, even without a turbo engine and manual transmission. The question is whether Abarth has succeeded in achieving its goal.

Historically, Abarth versions of the Fiat 500 have not been renowned for their rational merits. However, in response to changing consumer preferences and the current trend toward electrification, Abarth has introduced its first electric mini hot hatch based on the Fiat 500e.

The new Abarth 500e is an electric hot hatch with 149bhp | Top Gear

The updated permanent magnet synchronous motor in the Abarth 500e now boasts higher revs, reduced internal resistance, and increased power output from 118 to 155 horsepower. The vehicle is equipped with a water-cooled 37.8 kWh battery, which provides a net range of 265 kilometers according to WLTP standards. Optimized cable routing and high-performance switches ensure that the vehicle maintains consistent performance within a state-of-charge range of 50 to 100 percent.

When the start button is pressed, any concerns about the vehicle’s electric nature are quickly forgotten, as the sound system replicates the distinctive roar of the original 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. Multiple speakers generate an idle boom that closely resembles the original sound. Pressing the accelerator pedal while stationary further increases the noise, mimicking the sound of a combustion engine accelerating. This feature can be easily deactivated for those who prefer a quieter driving experience.

New Abarth 500 electric hot hatch leaked - Drive

In terms of performance, the electric Abarth 500e benefits from being 25 horsepower stronger and 320 kilograms lighter than its combustion engine counterpart, the Abarth 695. The vehicle has undergone improvements in its handling, with a wider track width, longer wheelbase, lower center of gravity, and a more balanced axle load distribution.

These enhancements result in a more refined driving experience, characterized by improved steering sensitivity, increased grip reserves, gentle understeer, reduced body roll, and better traction. However, the vehicle no longer exhibits the oversteer agility typically associated with Abarth models. It has matured in terms of its driving dynamics.

The Abarth 500e comes with three driving modes: Turismo, Scorpion Street, and Scorpion Track. The Turismo mode reduces response and performance slightly, while the Scorpion modes differ only in their allowance of single-pedal driving. However, the lack of an option to deactivate recuperation in the other modes can lead to passengers experiencing discomfort due to the abrupt deceleration when the power pedal is released.

The electric Abarth 500e offers a pleasant driving experience, particularly on roads. It exhibits improved ride quality, stability, and steering response. The brake pedal offers a successful blend of regenerative and hydraulic braking, providing a firm pedal feel.

Inside the vehicle, comfort has been enhanced compared to the standard 500e model. The seating position is more integrated and comfortable, and the seats provide adequate lateral support for the vehicle’s level of lateral dynamics. The interior features include an Alcantara steering wheel and Alcantara inlays in the cockpit. However, the presence of hard plastics and small symbols on the central touchscreen detract from the overall aesthetic appeal.

Abarth unveils all-electric hot hatch - car and motoring news by

The operation of the touchscreen, although logical in its primary functions, can become confusing when navigating deeper into the settings menus. The rear seating and trunk space are not particularly accommodating for tall passengers or large amounts of luggage, which is expected considering the compact size of the vehicle.

In terms of pricing, the Abarth 500e starts at 37,990 euros. Compared to the Fiat 500e, this represents an additional cost of 3,000 euros, which can be justified given the performance enhancements. However, when viewed in absolute terms, the price tag for a small vehicle with limited range may be considered quite bold, especially when the less expensive combustion engine variant, the Abarth 595 (165 horsepower), is available for 9,500 euros less. Additional features and upgrades, such as the Turismo model or the convertible version, can further increase the price, potentially reaching up to 45,990 euros for the fully equipped Abarth 500e.

Despite the rationality of the Abarth 500e, which offers better-driving characteristics than ever before, the vehicle maintains its likable character and appeals to enthusiasts, although some may question the authenticity of the sound generator. The pricing may be ambitious, but it has not deterred buyers from choosing the combustion engine variants in the past.