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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I wait for delivery of my Abarth I'm spending a lot of time on the internet reading reviews and watching videos. Part of the reason is to make sure I'm buying the car I really want and I also really want to see what other people think of the car. A majority of the reviews I've seen where poeple have actually driven the car are very positive and most really enjoyed the car. However, there seems to be a number of people who don't understand the reason for the Abarth. They are usually the ones who post replies to reviews and say something like "...why would I buy this car when for about the same amount I can buy a Toyota Camry that has the same amount of power?" It is true that for about the same amount you pay for an Abarth you can buy a VW, Mazda, Toyota, Honda, etc. that can go as fast (in a straight line). But that's not the point, to me anyway.

I learned how to drive a stick shift in my mom's 1971 Fiat 124 Sport Spyder when I was in my early teens. It was the first car I'd ever seen that had leather seats, 5 speed manual and double overhead cams. It had its problems and was not the fastest car by any means, but it was a blast to drive. The first new car I ever bought was a 1986 Ford Escort GT. I couldn't afford a real muscle car, so after months of research (long before the Internet) I decided on the Escort. It had a 1.9 liter HO engine that put out 110 hp. It could go 0-60 in something like 9 seconds. Back then that was actually pretty quick. Camaros and Mustangs were running high 7 second 0-60 times and the average family car was running in the 10-11 second timeframe. The Escort wasn't especially fast, but it was a lot of fun to drive and was all I could afford, and I was under 25 so my insurance costs didn't skyrocket either.

No, the Abarth is not the fastest car today, but how many people remember the fact that the 1977 Trans Am used in the movie "Smokey and the Bandit" only had about 200hp (stock)? It ran high 7 second 0-60 times. Don't know about you, but I thought that was a super fast car back in those days. Ah, but we live in a new age where even the family sedan can run 7 second 0-60 times. Heck, my 6 cyl. GMC Envoy can do 0-60 faster than the Escort GT I had.

Ok, so enough of my beating around the bush, what am I trying to say? Since there are no Abarths out yet I asked my dealer to let me test drive the Sport model. When I sat behind the wheel the saleman said to me, "now remember, this is a car you drive, it doesn't drive you." At the time I thought that was kind of like a cheesy pick up line you overhear at the bar. But after driving the Sport and thinking about it for a while it makes sense. That's the kind of car I really like driving. That's the kind of cars the Fiat 124 and Escort GT were. No, they don't have gobs of power, but to me they are more a driver's car. That's what I want, that's what's fun for me. Others might want a treaded missle that can blast from 0-60 in the 4 second range. Me, I'd be in jail if I had one of those.

I really, really just want to experience some fun while I'm driving. That, to me, is the most important factor that led me to the Abarth. Although I haven't drivin on yet, I doubt it will let me down.

Oh, and as for power...114 hp per liter is nothing to sneeze at. Especially since the '77 Trans Am had about 30 hp per liter and my Escort GT had just about 57 hp per liter. Just think about if the new Boss 302 Mustang had 114 HP per liter stock...it would be at a whopping 570 hp rather than the already impressive 444.
 

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I agree the fiat is a ball to drive especially around a corner. But think more in terms power to weight ratio instead of hp per liter. The light weight of this car combined with a spunky engine is what really throws you in the back of your seat.
 

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I posted the Jay Leno video with him driving the Abarth and he says pretty much all the things said already above. Then you get to see him drive it like we all want to!
 

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Abarth01, I do not think you could have said it any better in your post. Glad to see I am not the only one scouring the internet for anyone who has been lucky enough to get behind the wheel of one of these yet. This is not the fastest car on the road and as far as "power" goes it might not be the most powerful but if you ask me 160 hp in a give or take 2500 lb car is plenty for me.

Also I shared your thoughts exactly when I test drove a sport, and I had a grin on my face the whole time because I was thinking to myself the one I am getting has over 50% more power than this! But I was lucky, the dealer didn't ride with me so I found a little parking lot and had my own test drive autocross... all it did was make me want my car 1000000% more....
 

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Its those moments when you can make a u turn on a narrow street, or negotiate a gas pump in a location that joe normal's corolla cannot fit into is what makes a car like the 500 so special.

plus when was the last time you overheard someone say to a corrolla owner "hey thats a cool car".
 

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Its those moments when you can make a u turn on a narrow street, or negotiate a gas pump in a location that joe normal's corolla cannot fit into is what makes a car like the 500 so special.

plus when was the last time you overheard someone say to a corrolla owner "hey thats a cool car".
*AHEM* :rolleyes:

My current car and the Corolla are essentially the same vehicle with a different shell, and surprisingly I've heard it a couple of times (when someone else isn't spouting off a mockery or an insult):

 

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*AHEM* :rolleyes:

My current car and the Corolla are essentially the same vehicle with a different shell, and surprisingly I've heard it a couple of times (when someone else isn't spouting off a mockery or an insult):
Yeah but that isn't a factory look... you can make (almost) any car look cool... that isn't personally my style, but it looks like the work is well done and I think you improved the original look of that car.
 

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... I learned how to drive a stick shift in my mom's 1971 Fiat 124 Sport Spyder when I was in my early teens. ...It had its problems and was not the fastest car by any means, but it was a blast to drive. ...When I sat behind the wheel the salesman said to me, "now remember, this is a car you drive, it doesn't drive you." ... I really, really just want to experience some fun while I'm driving. That, to me, is the most important factor that led me to the Abarth.
Having owned slew of Fiats, this pretty much captures their allure. Years ago, Alfa Romeo, IIRC, had ads that said something to the effect, 'We believe the journey is just as important as the destination.' This is in the Italian DNA, which is why the most mundane of their cars can elicit intense devotion.

As technology improves and spreads, most of the 'enthusiast' cars produced by the various manufacturers are competing in the "Oh yeah? Well watch this!" game. (The sport-bike market is an all-out war, in this respect.) It has certainly raised the bar on performance and made fairly high-performance vehicles common-place. But, it's a numbers-driven competition that is more about bragging rights than actual over-the-road performance, which is where the real fun is found. How well a car is integrated is usually more important than 0-60, lateral G's, stopping distance.

A good, though old, example from the 70's was the hot competition in the small sedan market, where Datsun, Toyota, Chevrolet, Ford and Opel were vying for supremacy in SCCA roadracing. Magazine tests showed each of the manufacturer's cars was best at some particular -- hp, brakes, skidpad, what have you -- except for the Opel, which was 2d or 3d in every category. But, the Opel was so good as a whole, the cars were finally outlawed from class competition by SCCA.

Anyway, getting back to the 500, my wife describes the car as being all about the driver; from the interior styling to its exuberance on the road. Instead of saying, "Look what I can do!" it's says, "I've been waiting for you to return."
 

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..., getting back to the 500, my wife describes the car as being all about the driver; from the interior styling to its exuberance on the road. Instead of saying, "Look what I can do!" it's says, "I've been waiting for you to return."
Newbie here, been lurking since putting down a deposit back in November. This is one of the best post I have read that gets the essence of driving/owning an Abarth.
 

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*AHEM* :rolleyes:

My current car and the Corolla are essentially the same vehicle with a different shell, and surprisingly I've heard it a couple of times (when someone else isn't spouting off a mockery or an insult):
I'd say that is not joe normal's corolla so you are exempt from my comment.

But remember this, all the window tint and black tape in the world is not going to make you prefer driving that Corolla once you have some wheel time in a 500.
 

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I'd say that is not joe normal's corolla so you are exempt from my comment.

But remember this, all the window tint and black tape in the world is not going to make you prefer driving that Corolla once you have some wheel time in a 500.
I don't disagree with you. :) I was planning to turbocharge the poor thing, but instead decided it would be best to take all the associated expenses and put them towards a better cause. ;)
 

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Reviving this old thread. I was speaking last night to a friend about my deposit on an Abarth. It all seemed Greek to her, but driving a small, light car with a modicum of zip just APPEALS to me much more than driving an appliance. I don't need a "practical" car, I want to drive cars that are fun, and I'm pretty sure the Abarth will push all the right buttons.
I currently have a 2011 MINI JCW, my fourth MINI since 2005. I'm kind of a serial car buyer, so this is more a case of wanting something "similar but different" than being dismayed about the MINI. My newest ride is a 2012 Audi TT-RS which is a completely different animal (sub 4 second 0-60's, low 12's 1/4), but I really need to get on a track or way out in the country to exploit much of its performance envelope. The Abarth will be like driving a race car in my everyday commute!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Reviving this old thread. I was speaking last night to a friend about my deposit on an Abarth. It all seemed Greek to her, but driving a small, light car with a modicum of zip just APPEALS to me much more than driving an appliance. I don't need a "practical" car, I want to drive cars that are fun, and I'm pretty sure the Abarth will push all the right buttons.
I currently have a 2011 MINI JCW, my fourth MINI since 2005. I'm kind of a serial car buyer, so this is more a case of wanting something "similar but different" than being dismayed about the MINI. My newest ride is a 2012 Audi TT-RS which is a completely different animal (sub 4 second 0-60's, low 12's 1/4), but I really need to get on a track or way out in the country to exploit much of its performance envelope. The Abarth will be like driving a race car in my everyday commute!
It's Greek to my wife, that's for sure. She doesn't understand why I want this tiny car versus a pickup truck. I told her, "Oh, drive a pickup truck here in Texas, that's original." Well, ok, I didn't actually say that to her, but I thought it. I think the Abarth is going to be great fun and unique. Mine should be here in about two weeks and I get more excited each day.
 

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"...why would I buy this car when for about the same amount I can buy a Toyota Camry that has the same amount of power?"[\quote]

Well, the answer to that one is pretty easy...

Not only do you have good taste in vehicles, and you like a driving experience that doesn't put you to sleep while you're behind the wheel, you actually don't treat your vehicles like they're an appliance, that only serves you to get from point A to point B, day in and day out, with no personality. You don't want to drive a car that reminds you of your High School Economics teacher (best sleep I ever got in HS was during that class).


It is true that for about the same amount you pay for an Abarth you can buy a VW, Mazda, Toyota, Honda, etc. that can go as fast (in a straight line). But that's not the point, to me anyway.
Well, the VW and the Mazda aren't just about going fast in a straight line.
Both of them can go around corners just as well, if not better, depending on which car you choose, than the Fiat.

Mazda RX-8, Mazda Miata MX-5, Mazda 3, and Mazda 2 are all incredibly fun cars to toss around, and aren't overpowered by anyone's imagination, unless you specifically look at the Mazdaspeed 3. I'm not really talking about that one, however. They all offer nice interiors to sit in, and provide tons of feedback to the driver as they are whipping the cars about with reckless abandon, and a smile on their face as big as any other car can.

The VW GTI and Golf/Rabbit (whatever they are calling it this week) also offers great road feel, and enough power to leave other cars in the dust when the roads get twisty. Plus they also have nice interiors, and are very comfortable for long distances.

But I do understand your story, and what type of driving experiences that you prefer from your vehicles, just had to clarify certain aspects of it.

BC.
 

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The general line is we are looking for something that makes driving fun, and is a bit unique. Currently own a 04’ VW R32, not the fastest or cheapest car in its segment, but a good fit for me. The Abarth is a replacement for my 2009 MINI JCW (sold last year) a small fun car that makes the daily commute interesting and not boring.
 

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I read a comment on the Car and Driver review of the Abarth ( I think it was C&D although I could not find the comment again). The poster basically said that he could not understand all the hype for a little car with 160 HP, blah, blah, blah. then said something about musclecars.

I personally love the fact that not everyone "gets it." True enthusiasts get it. True enthusiasts can appreciate an Abarth, Cooper S, GTI, Mazda 2 (which is a phenomenal little car and I would have probably bought if the Abarth didn't come to the U.S.), etc as much as they can Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghini or even M3's and S5's.

The example I always use are Morgans. Even if you don't desire a Morgan (I personally love them) and may not like the way they look, the fact that the chassis still uses wood, etc, a true enthusiast appreciates them just for the simple romance of the fact that they do things their own way, are the last independently owned and run British car company, surviving debt-free with a fiercely loyal clientele.

I was in Starbucks the other day and overheard some guy around my age (mid- late 20's) talking about some car (I didn't hear which one) having 400 HP to the wheels and is girlfriend asking is it quicker than an M3 (they drove away in a 335i)? Will they appreciate the Abarth because it only has 160 HP and mid to high 6 sec 0-60 times? Probably not. They seemed like the typical fools we all see in their BMW's and Audi's thinking they are the greatest car in the world and everything else is garbage. However, the speed limit in the U.S. is 65 mph and I will be having much more fun in my Abarth than in a 400 HP rocket where I can't utilize the power without being a jackass.

So, no it ain't about the speed. I could go buy an M3 tomorrow if I wanted to. I love the Abarth (and other small cars) because they are fun and put a smile on my face, and at the end of the day, that is what it is all about (I wouldn't mind an M3 parked next to my coming Abarth in the garage though lol).
 

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The general line is we are looking for something that makes driving fun, and is a bit unique. Currently own a 04’ VW R32, not the fastest or cheapest car in its segment, but a good fit for me. The Abarth is a replacement for my 2009 MINI JCW (sold last year) a small fun car that makes the daily commute interesting and not boring.
Ah, the '04 R32. I bought one new (at a discount!). To this day (and I'm 63), the most fun I've ever had driving an automobile. Faster than I needed it to be, the BEST sound I've ever heard from a car (wired the bypass open), and would corner harder than I could.

Sold it for 2 reasons: 1. Wife said we needed a 4-door long distance car to go with her MINI (No, she didn't buy the "Sell your MINI" idea), and 2, here in the mountains it would go fast, so easy, than it was only a matter of time until I was going to come around a mountain curve at 80 with a tractor doing 20 right there.... Now a few years later, my wife still has the MINI & I get to pick what I want. I put a deposit down on the Abarth in March of 2011. It should be here on Monday or Tuesday. It should give me all the fun of the R32 only at about 7/10's the speed, factoring in I'm also a few years older, it should be a good fit :)

Enjoy!

Cheers
 

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The '04 R32 is a very cool car. I remember seeing a black one in Manhattan with perfectly sized BBS CH's and slightly lowered (probably to Euro specs). When I went to purchase my 2011 GTI in Dec 2010, the dealer had a 2008 R32 in blue w/ 5,000 miles. I definitely considered it but it didn't seem as raw as the first one (no stick either) or the GTI. Definitely a nice car as well though. The Abarth does remind me a little of the R32 with the great, stock exhaust note.
 
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