Like all cars with a passionate fan base, Fiat’s 500 revival makes a great blank canvas for customization. Even from the show room floor, there are 500 models to satisfy the needs of most buyers, from those concerned primarily with fuel economy (the base 500) to those who spend weekends on an autocross track (the 500 Abarth).
While it’s easy enough to improve the horsepower and handling of base Fiat 500 models, the automaker wants you to know that even Abarth models can be made faster, thanks to parts supplier Magneti Marelli.
If you thought of Magneti Marelli as the Italian equivalent of Mopar, you wouldn’t be that far off base. While Mopar’s early history was more commercial than motorsport-related, Magneti Marelli has a history steeped in racing, from its founding in 1919.
Today, both companies provide parts that enhance the performance and style of the brands they serve. In recognition of this, Fiat will be showing a Magneti Marelli-tuned 500 Abarth at this year’s SEMA show.
While upgrade specifics have yet to be published, Magneti Marelli driver Matteo Romano promises that the tuned 500 Abarth will produce “a lot of horsepower.” We’re not sure how much more Magneti Marelli can squeeze out of the Abarth’s 160 horsepower, 1.6-liter turbo engine, but we suspect we’ll find out soon enough.
The Abarth’s already-impressive handling will be upped, too. Romano calls the 500 Abarth “almost a race car” in stock form, and while that may be a bit optimistic, there’s no denying that it’s an entertaining hot hatch. With plenty of Magneti Marelli parts to make it even faster, we expect 500 Abarth sales to remain brisk.