The 500C Esseesse is priced from $38,990 (before on-road costs), making it $4000 more than the Abarth 500 Esseesse three-door hatch and $10,000 more than the standard Fiat 500C.
The 500C Esseesse is powered by the same 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine as the hatch, which produces 118kW of power (at 5250rpm) and 201Nm of torque (at 2750rpm). An extra 29Nm is available at the same engine speed when the Sport mode is engaged.
But while the hatch uses a five-speed manual gearbox, the convertible gets Abarth’s five-speed Competizione robotised manual (a semi-automatic clutchless unit) with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters – the same transmission used by the $69,990 Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari.
Weighing 40kg more than the hatch, the 500C Esseesse takes an extra two-tenths to sprint from 0-100km/h (7.6 seconds vs 7.4 seconds), and trails the hatch’s top speed by 2km/h (209km/h vs 211km/h).
The 500C Esseesse is just as frugal as the hatch, however, with a combined cycle fuel consumption rating of 6.5 litres/100km and average CO2
emissions of 155g/km. It’s even more impressive when compared with the standard Fiat 500C, which is only 0.2 litres/100km more efficient despite trailing the Abarth by 44kW/99Nm.
The 500C Esseesse has an electric folding fabric roof that incorporates a glass rear window and large spoiler. The roof section can be opened and closed when driving at any speed, while the roof and rear glass can be completely folded away at speeds of up to 60km/h to provide the full open-top experience. Fortunately for such a compact four-seater, the folding roof mechanism only steals three litres from the boot capacity compared with the hatch (182 litres vs 185 litres).
The Abarth 500C Esseesse stands out from the crowd with red brake callipers, contrasting side strips and mirrors, and 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in either P Zero Black or Michelin Pilot Exalto rubber.
Standard comfort features include climate control, sports seats, height-adjustable black leather flat-bottomed steering wheel, racing pedals with foot rest, 50:50 split-fold rear seats, Sport button with boost function, and an Interscope audio system with CD player and Blue&Me connectivity (Bluetooth, AUX and USB).
The comprehensive safety package includes seven airbags, stability control, tyre pressure monitor, Hill Holder, and a number of other systems.
After the first 10 months of this year, 167 Abarth vehicles have been sold in Australia, putting the Italian sports tuner just 108 units behind the regular Fiat 500/500C.
Abarth 500C Esseesse – $38,990 (manufacturer’s list price, excluding government and dealer charges)
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