Fiat 500 Abarth first engine, power details released. Fast handler, disappointing figures. However, the story does not end there as an SS version is already in the works...

“With a strong sporty personality, the new car will be powered by a Fire 1.4 16v petrol Turbo engine, which delivers a maximum of 135 bhp (100kW) at 5,500 rpm and peak torque of 206Nm at 3,000 rpm in ‘Sport’ mode…” says Fiat with a straight face. Say what? Only 135 bhp? We waited so many months for a measly 135 horses? We must have been robbed.

See, previous generation Ford Focus used a 2.0-litre engine to generate a similar amount of buzz in the hood. So 135 seems impressive for a 1.4, albeit force-fed. But scratch under the skin a little and you’ll discover that 500 Abarth’s closest nemesis, MINI Cooper S, squats with 172 horses underneath her belly. Fact is, a region of 135 bhp hasn’t been made by a compact hot hatch since Fiesta ST came into power. That was during the middle ages.

Yes we are simply bowled over by the exceptionally stylish 500 Abarth with its smokey wheels, fat wheel arches and honeycomb mashed grille. It’s the stuff of legends even as it does not move. And when it moves, to 100km/h to be precise, over 8 seconds will go by. Compare this with Cooper S’s 7.3 odd and you start to ask questions like “will they make an even faster version”? They will. Click here.

As far as handling goes, Fiat has put to use a Torque Transfer Control system that hugs bends like your aunt used to hug you, promising handling that is highly entertaining. Perhaps I’m missing the point entirely here, perhaps 500 Abarth doesn’t care if the other kid is quicker off the block, or that he is better-endowed. Perhaps. Perhaps Abarth only cares that she can offer the best value entertainment for buck in her block, and believes that being a showstopper doesn’t necessarily involve a test of manhood.

As they would describe Abarths in the 1960s; wicked, man. Wicked.

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