2012 Los Angeles Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- Abarth performance comes to the Fiat 500 Cabrio body style for 2013.
- The Abarth's power cloth top can retract to three-quarter position at speeds up to 60 mph.
- Just 33 pounds heavier than the 500 Abarth hardtop, the 2013 Fiat 500c Abarth goes on sale in the first quarter next year.
LOS ANGELES — The early-2012 introduction of the performance-focused Abarth edition brought desperately needed male-ness to the Chrysler Group's Fiat 500 lineup, and for 2013 the company is expanding the Abarth treatment to the 500 Cabrio, which will go on sale in the U.S. before spring begins.
You get the same 160-horsepower, 170-pound-feet 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged four-cylinder and five-speed manual transmission as the hardtop 500 Abarth, as well as the same chassis and driveline beef-ups, but structural stiffening and a longer windshield make for 70 percent less header shake than competitors, Chrysler said.
Despite all the extra structure, the 2013 Fiat 500c Abarth weighs only 33 pounds more than the hardtop. There's actually slightly more overall rear-seat passenger room in the 500c Abarth compared to the hardtop.
The accordion-folding soft top will retract to the three-quarter position while traveling up to 60 mph (Fiat claims this to be a class-leading vmax for convertible operation) and will fully fold when traveling as fast as 50 mph. A clever sensor arrangement knows if you want to use the trunk while the top is folded and automatically yanks it up and out of the way until you shut the trunk lid.
The new 500c Abarth should be just as rewarding a rip as the steel-roofed car, as it gets 33-percent stiffer front springs and rides 0.6 inch lower than the regular 500 Cabrio. Rear springs are 12 percent stiffer and the Abarth specifically tuned electronically assisted power steering has a quicker steering-gear ratio (15.1:1 versus 16.3:1 for the standard 500c). Standard wheels are 6.5-inch-wide 16s with all-season rubber, but 17-inch alloys and three-season tires are optional.
The 2013 Fiat 500c Abarth also marks the first convertible-car application of Chrysler's beloved Beats by Dr. Dre premium audio system.
Edmunds says: Fiat sold out its 2012 allotment of U.S.-spec Abarth hardtops in two months, so expect the new Cabrio version to leave dealer lots with similar haste.