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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So Im looking to buy in the next few months and only have one last reservation

Sort of inspired by another tread on the passing performance of the car but I'm more curious about lower speed performance.

I just don't drive as fast as i use too, I'm guess I'm getting old or whatever but i really don't care. To me quick cars with good handling and spritely nature are more fun than fast cars. My 2 absolute favorite car I've ever owned where…

1) 1969 VW bug (still own this one)
fantastic and dead simple car that you really feel like your driving. its got a bigger motor and is a lot of fun and keeps up with modern traffic. 75-80 hp and 1900lbs

2) 1989 VW GTI 16v
Holly crap this car wood scoot
redlined at 7500 RPM and was a blast to drive. had no power until 3000rpm and then it was like a rocket. it screamed like a banshee at 7000rmp in second gear. 120hp and 2300lbs


So I've driven the 500 sport but had a salesmen with me and i have a thing about not abusing cars that don't belong to me so i dove it in a more respectful way and enjoyed it. I know the Abarth is coming soon but honestly the rumored 170-180 hp is crazy for a car this size and i just don't think i would ever use that kind of power. If the car had 120-130 i wouldn't hesitate to buy the currently available Sport. but 101? is that enough. Thats 11 more than the original 83-84 GTI and about the same weight and thats the car that defined what a hot hatch was.

so is 101 hp enough to be fun?
i know for the same money i could buy a used 1.8t GTi or a WRX or one of the other fast and affordable hatch/sedans but those cars have gotten so big/heavy (3100lbs for the GTI and 3400 for the WRX) Plus I'm a big fan of the styling of the 500.

So 101hp of fun or 30hp short

thanks
John
 

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Yes it is fun and yes, it could use another 20 to 30 HP. It's a shame they don't have a Sport with a low pressure turbo. It would be about perfect for what you want.

Of course, the Abarth will have a lot more power but of course, if you have the willpower, you don't have to use all of it. :D

ps. I have a '65 beetle and it's a hoot. I still remember driving a 1st gen GTI and laughing out loud. The beetle is a little over 1700 lbs & and GTI 2100 lbs. The 500 is around 2400 lbs.
 

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it's not an MK1 gti. While those came stock with 90hp and 100lbs, they were also geared very low and weighed very little.

This car is easily 300-400 lbs heavier. Upside, it's way more refined, doesn't have that weird analog clock, rubber shift boot and golf ball knob (all of which I really liked...but for nostalgic reasons)

The Fiat is about as close as you'll get to an MK1 GTI, but the Mazda 2 might be a little closer. That said, I'd still rather have the 500.
 

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Also, the Mk1 GTI had a 1.8 liter 8V with torque that came in much sooner. You have to rev the multi-air to get the juice. smaller displacement + 16v and all that.
 

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U need to buy a 5spd and rev it up to go... No starts from a stop in 2nd, u need to drop a gear to pass at 70.... 140 hp would be perfect, i think the abarth will be right around there...im happy
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
....The Fiat is about as close as you'll get to an MK1 GTI, but the Mazda 2 might be a little closer. That said, I'd still rather have the 500.
agreed

my short list consisted of the Honda Fit, the Ford Fiesta, and the 500

The 500 has style in spades over the other two but I've got to have that fun factor.

how does it rev? my old GTi revved like a two stroke Dirt bike. it was insane how it wold rev. At the same time i had a 2003 Ford Focus with a 2.0 16v motor that revved like a Dump truck. The ford made more power by the numbers but it wasn't a lot of fun.

so.... does it like to rev?
 

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I have the 6 speed auto so I'm not the best POR for this.
 

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So I've driven the 500 sport but had a salesmen with me and i have a thing about not abusing cars that don't belong to me so i dove it in a more respectful way and enjoyed it.
There is a big difference between pushing a car in a test drive and abusing a car. I recommend that you take the 500 out for a test drive again and test it based on your requirements.

Personally I would say that for "lower end performance" the 500 is pretty happy between 2500 and 3000 RPM from 1st gear to 4th and at least 3000 RPM for 5th. What I mean by that is that if you need to pick up speed from those points the car will accelerate without having to drop a gear. Of course you can pull that multi air to 4500 or 6500 RPM for some added fun.
 

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You'll read in a lot of reviews that the car isn't that fast, but it feels fast. This is true. In sport mode with the throttle response sharpened, the car feels very lively through first and second gear. It never feels slow around town. Pulling on to the highway isn't bad. You do have to change gears at higher revs, but the engine is lively and likes to rev. I generally dive into onramps so I'm pretty much at highway speed even before it's time to merge. More power would always be welcome, but the 1.4L is not bad for what it is.
 

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I've owned a 238 hp Mazda rx8 (2950 lbs) a 170 hp svt focus ( 2700 lbs) and a mark 3 vw gti vr6 with 177 hp and I was a little hesitant too with buying a 101 hp car. I loved the styling of the 500 and I've never had a car this fuel efficient and when I found a prima on at the dealer I just went for it.

In the city it feels quick enough. I have no troubles passing or merging and I have lots of fun driving it. I did add an intake and a custom exhaust which dynos show is about a 10 hp gain. I can say that the 10 percent ( or so) increase is definetly noticeable which is what I love about light cars. It may not have a lot of horsepower but it doesn't take much to get it moving. As more aftermarket parts become available we will be able to squeeze more power. With a good ecu tune, intake and exhaust that would be right around 15-20 hp. 116-121 hp for a 2350 lb car is pretty good. Add some light wheels, battery, and a rear seat delete and that would help the cause even more.
 

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I've owned 3 MINI Cooper Ss in a row and was about to buy a 4th when I saw a 500 on the highway on the way to the MINI dealer. I went and drove 3 MINIs that day, wasn't in lust, and went to the FIAT dealer the next day.
Drove home with a Rossa auto that afternoon.

It's more fun. Hard to explain really; just a fun little stupid car. And the Bose stereo kicks butt; the car is so small it's like wearing headphones.

It likes to rev and does it's best twisty work between 4000 and 5300 rpm.
Go and test drive another one; keep it in the powerband and crank some Sinatra or something from the 3 Tenors.
If you don't "get it" after that, you never will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
..... As more aftermarket parts become available we will be able to squeeze more power. With a good ecu tune, intake and exhaust that would be right around 15-20 hp. 116-121 hp for a 2350 lb car is pretty good. Add some light wheels, battery, and a rear seat delete and that would help the cause even more.
It's going to be interesting to see how much power the aftermarket can get out of the mulitair engine. One of the basics on an OHC engine is to swap out the intake cam and that doesn't really apply in this case. Factory intake and exhaust systems seam to be getting better and better so swapping those out doesn't help as much as it use to. i suppose thats why turbo/super charging is such an attractive option.

I think I'm going to go for another test drive. Maybe rent one from the local enterprise (altho they are all autos) for a day or two. and then ill decide wether or not to hold off and wait for the Abarth
 

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The only time when I really wish for more power is when I accelerate from a standstill. It does feel slow, no question about it.

Once it gets moving, it's pretty much OK. For city driving, it's just about perfect.
 

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My first and favorite car was my old '89 GTI as well. What an incredible blend of a firm suspension and willing engine. I felt fearless in that car. Unfortunately, it was stolen for parts TWICE from my driveway and there was so little left that I refused to have the dealer attempt to rebuild the car. Moved up to an Eagle Talon with the turbo awd setup. That was much faster, but not half as much fun to drive.

The Fiat isn't quite up there with the 16v GTI, and I too feared that 101 hp would feel anemic in daily driving. But, I'm happy to say that the car responds much faster than expected. It definitely reminds me of my brothers old mk1 GTI performance wise, but in a much more upscale package.
 

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101hp is plenty. I have driven all over the country, in my 500, and never had a problem or felt like I was lacking power. 80mph everywhere. This car has more power than other "smallish"euro cars I have had in the past (Audi 4000CS Quattro, 94 Alfa Romeo Spider, 84' Bertone , and almost as much as the 1.8 TT Quattro) <---- that car was heavy... they all were.

This car is not fast... but it ain't slow.
 

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it is perception since you don't feel a push in the back when you get on her but she ain't slow! 20 more HP would be nice and are realistic without a turbo too.
 

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John,

My thoughts are that the car has enough power to have fun. I rented an automatic and it was fine for me. I believe that Fiat wanted to balance ecomomy with performance. The style is amazing! There is nothing like it on the road..
 
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