Abarth is developing a small coupe based on the Fiat 500. It will be powered by a 1.4-litre turbo engine producing 158hp.

The artist rendering above first posted in July depict an Abarth Coupe, a small Italian performance car that may be slated for a 2010 production date. If indeed it does go into production the Fiat 500-based Coupe would be quite timely as people downsize into smaller more affordable and more fuel efficient performance cars.

The car is likely to be powered by Fiat's 1.4-litre turbo unit which also does duty in the 500 Abarth. Producing 135hp (100kW) and 180Nm of torque but weighing in at only 1,000kg, the Abarth Coupe would be good for a 0 - 60mph time of around 8 seconds. A front-wheel-drive front-engine layout is to be used for cost-effectiveness and will compliment the Coupe's lightweight aluminium chassis. Handling will still be go-kart-like, just as it has been with previous Abarth models.

A 158hp (118kW), 230Nm ‘esseesse' version might roll off the production line too. Should it be made the esseesse would be capable of 0 - 60mph times of about 7 seconds.

Lookswise some particular touches are executed not only for cosmetic purposes but for performance as well. The sloping headlights, vents on the bonnet and huge front air intakes add to the car's visual drama. Interior cabin is fitted with turbo pressure gauges, sculpted racing seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and Abarth scorpion logos.

Passengers will be able to experience that open-air feeling as the car will sport a removable roof panel that negates the need for an expensive, heavy folding top solution. The Smart Roadster had a similar layout. In fact the concept of the Smart Roadster is very much what the Abarth Coupe will be. Notably that car was not a sales success largely because it was quite overpriced.

To ensure the Abarth Coupe moves adequate units off showroom floors when it goes on sale in 2011, prices would begin from about £12,000 for the least expensive model.

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