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2011 Abarth 500 ESSE Review
  • Exhaust note is spectacular , Manual box is slick , 1.4L has more than enough power, Flamboyant styling
  • Interior tech is very low e.g. no sat nav , Radio reception is not the best, Thirsty , Pricey

by Cameron Sutherland

Owning for nearly 4 years, the best part of this car is the purity it has as a hot hatch. Although there is not a lot of tech or other features within the Abarth compared to its rivals; these little obscurities of the car make it so fun to drive.

The 1.4L turbo 118kw engine is the best fun, coupled with the five speed gearbox, one of the loudest exhaust for a hatch and a little boost gauge on the dash creates an awesome drive. The styling of the car is fantastically over the top. With many little scorpion logos littered on every possibly surface, along with the least subtle side stickers and chrome badging; the Abarth is just as low key as a NRL supporter at the US Masters. Driving along the highway is a bit of a struggle with no cruise control and short range gears wanting to rev high all the time.

But in back street driving, the Abarth really shines and turbo boost is available from around 2,500revs and the exhaust noise is one of the best soundtracks, if your not listening to one of U2’s songs that was forcefully put on your Apple device….lucky Androids.

The pricing on the Abarth was $32,560 at the time, now they have gone up to the low 40’s, which is not cheap for a car its size. However if your one who may not enjoy a stiff suspension; the ride over Sydney’s roads are extremely cringe worthy when the car crashes over little pot holes.

Also technology is minimal in the 2011 model, yet a new all electronic display is the only real update to the car over the 4 years. Also I think I aged about 20 years when waiting for my iPhone to couple with the Blue and Me bluetooth, having endless arguments with a computer. The squeaking Brembo brakes have started making me go mad as well as static radio channels, having to retune most times. But if you’re a fan of your own music, the speaker system is fantastic with the use of a USB port for your iPod or whatever device you use.

These flaws is what makes the Abarth so much fun. It is the little Italian flair that goes with owning this car.

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2011 Abarth 500 ESSE Review Review
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