Talks of an Abarth-tuned 500X have been going on for nearly four years, with a Fiat official hinting at a hot crossover way back in October 2014. It’s the second half of 2018 and a more potent version of the 500X is nowhere to be found. Fiat did introduce a mild refresh for its tiny crossover just last week, but a hotter derivative was not on the company’s agenda for the model’s mid-cycle refresh. New intel reveals the project has been put on hold indefinitely, according to the Fiat 500X’s product manager.
In an interview with our Dutch colleagues at AutoRai, Nicolino Paolo admitted that while he believes an Abarth version of the 500X was and still is a good idea, it’s simply not going to happen in the foreseeable future. The business case for such a derivative doesn’t have a leg to stand on, with Paolo mentioning it would be too expensive to develop a performance version and that the potential customer base would be too small to justify the financial efforts.
That’s certainly sad to hear, especially since one prototype of the Abarth 500X was actually built and tested with three different engines. One of them was the familiar turbocharged 1.4-liter sourced from Abarth’s Fiat 500-based 595 and 695 pocket rockets. In addition, the engineers also managed to squeeze in the larger 1.75-liter unit of the Alfa Romeo 4C where it pumps out a respectable 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet (350 Newton-meters) of torque.
Although the chances of seeing an Abarth 500X are slim at the moment, the silver lining is Paolo said a sportier version of the tiny crossover is in the works. It will follow the 500X S-Design and is scheduled to go on sale within the next 12 months.