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Fiat 500L Abarth? Why Bother?


2014 Fiat 500L

2014 Fiat 500L

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Like Mini, Fiat has turned one retro hatchback into an entire family of cars, but is it possible to have too many 500 variants?

MSN Cars UK reports that Fiat is expanding its line of Abarth performance models, possibly with a 500L Abarth.

"In [the] future it is possible," Marco Magnanini, the European head of Abarth, said in an interview.

A 500L Abarth could potentially use the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the rest of the 500-based Abarth line. However, the L's bigger body might make the car less nimble than those smaller Abarths.

Adding an air of sportiness to a fundamentally un-sporty car could limit the Abarth's appeal, unless buyers are really desperate for a scorpion-badged vehicle with four doors.

If nothing else, an Abarth 500L would make an excellent rival for the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman.

It could also be the only new Abarth model to hit showrooms in the near future. For the time being, at least, all Abarth models will be 500-based.

Magnanini denied the existence of a Fiat Panda Abarth (a car that wouldn't be sold in the U.S., anyway) or any Alfa Romeo-based or Abarth-specific models.

In the past, Abarth has built its own cars, and worked with Alfa Romeo. Going forward, though, it will act solely as the performance arm of Fiat. For American buyers, that means more 500 variants, and with Abarth 500 and 500c models already on sale, it seems the only way for the brand to expand is to go big.

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