Abarth 500c


Price: £17,500


Top speed: 128 mph 0-62mph 8.1 seconds


Consumption: 45.3 mpg


CO2 emissions: 151g/km


Best for: Fiat's bottom line


Also worth considering? Mazda MX-5, Mini John Cooper Works Convertible, Renault Wind

If I had to write a caption for the photograph on this page, I would be tempted to take a leaf out of René Magritte's book and go for "This is not a Fiat 500C". But unlike M. Magritte, with his famous pipe, or rather picture of a pipe, my purpose would not be to make a point about the difference between image and reality, but about branding.

Because although it may look like a Fiat 500C, what you see is not a Fiat 500C, or even a picture of a Fiat 500C. In fact, despite appearances to the contrary, it's not a Fiat, or a picture of a Fiat, at all – it's an Abarth, or at least a picture of an Abarth.

Now unless you are fairly interested in cars, you probably haven't heard of Abarth before, but it's a name with a pretty distinguished history, a history that is intimately intertwined with that of Fiat. Better still, it's strongly associated with the original 1957 Fiat 500 that provided the inspiration for today's successful model of the same name, because Carlo Abarth, the legendary Austrian-Italian tuner, often worked his magic on that car before selling his company to Fiat in 1971.

Anyway, Fiat rightly sees the Abarth name as a great asset, which is why it has gone to the trouble of establishing it as a separate marque, which means that in order to buy the Abarth 500C, a sportier version of the open-topped Fiat 500C, you need to go to one of the UK's specially selected 19 Abarth dealers.

Of course, by laying the Abarth thing on so thick, Fiat is creating some strong expectations, which, fortunately, are largely fulfilled.

The Fiat 500 on which the Abarth 500 is based is already an almost irresistibly cute little car, especially in "C" form, and here the desirability rating is pumped up further with lots of Abarth badges, flashy alloy wheels, sporty seats with built-in headrests and a long list of standard equipment.

With its 1.4-litre turbocharged engine and paddle-shift Competizione gearbox, the Abarth is quick, too, although that's a quality I personally find to be slightly at odds with the open "C" body, which, when the roof is off on a nice sunny day, seems to invite a relaxed, rather than intense, driving style.

It all costs £17,500 – steep for a Fiat, sorry, Abarth 500, but not that pricey by the standards of this car's most obvious competitor, BMW's Mini. I suspect there'll be plenty of takers.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones