500e Abarth “roars” and drives more than most sports cars – Quatro Rodas

The recipe for any sports version of the car is the same: stiffer suspension, lower-profile tires, revised steering and beefed-up brakes, as well as exterior and interior styling. And that’s what Abarth, Fiat’s sports division, did with the 500e.

And the main question for those who like sports compacts is whether “will the electric drive be able to give a feeling close to the gasoline Abarth?” There is nothing spoilersand soon you will know.

On the outside we see new titanium gray Abarth lettering on the front and rear and a new signature logo on the side.

The bumpers are large and extend around the pavement, matching side skirts, rear diffuser in white and mirrors in grey.

A dark roof inside, seats with reinforced side support and integral headrests, as well as two-tone double stitching on the seats and steering wheel reinforce the hatchback’s sporty identity.

The 7″ digital instrument panel features Abarth-specific details, as does the 10.25″ multimedia center screen. Among the characteristics of the control unit are graphics, speed of operation, the possibility of connecting simultaneously with two mobile phones and personalization of profiles up to 5, but already known since the electric Fiat 500 was presented.

The rear seats continue to accommodate very short passengers. I had the experience of sitting behind the wheel of the Abarth 695 (a car whose design began in 2007) and this one (which began on an electric platform in 2020) and the differences, at best, are noticeable.

I no longer hit my elbow on the door or my knee on the center console, in this case because there is no normal transmission and there is more free space on the floor and the bottom of the car has been flat. The volume of the owners of the object has also increased and now reaches 4.2 liters. The glove compartment is also wide and drops down (rather than “drops”) when opened.

The battery, made by Samsung, is placed between the axles on the floor of the car, has a capacity of 42 kWh and weighs 295 kg, bringing the weight of the car to 1410 kg, enabling the front electric motor.

Due to this feature of the heavy floor, the center of gravity of the car is reduced and the mass distribution is more balanced (in the order of 53/47 front / rear against 60/40 in the petrol car).

After the presentations, let’s continue with the driving, divided into laps on the Balocco test track (halfway between Turin and Milan, Italy), alternatively in the Abarth 695 equipped with a 1.4 turbo that produces 180 hp and 500e, which in turn his. , brings a 155 hp electric motor. I also drove on public roads for 85 kilometers, half of them with the steering wheel in my hands, the other half as a passenger.

In the part of the circuit made Abarth electric has a more focused driving position with a more maneuverable steering wheel and a solid seat, almost giving the impression that we are driving a racing car in a simulator.

The electric even turns the wheel more from end to end (2.8 vs 2.6) but not because it is more precise but because the electric motor occupies less space between the front wheels, which therefore can turn more (ie, the turning radius is smaller . , decreasing from 10.5 to 9.5 meters).

Other differences: the acceleration of the Abarth 500e is much faster up to 50 km / h or even acceleration beyond that, given the delay in the activation of the turbo (known effect. turbo lag) of the 1.4 liter petrol engine is felt up to 2700 rpm.

0 to 100 km / h is very close between the two models, 6.7 s for the 695 and 7 s for the electric, precisely because the petrol car is behind in the first half of that acceleration. And while the top speed of the 695 reaches 225 km / h, the 500e reaches 155 km / h, which will be more important for those who regularly drive on the freeways of Germany.

On the other hand (and perhaps more suitable for everyday life), the 500e will be able to exceed the 695 speed savings in the city (1 second faster from 20 to 40 km / h), on winding secondary roads. 1 second faster from 40 to 60 km / h).

In terms of handling, the 500e benefits from the clear advantages of this new generation, with a 2.4 cm longer wheel and 6 cm wider front and rear tracks, resulting in greater comfort and greater cornering stability.

The assessment of comfort is positive and the performances are really satisfying in urban environments and on national roads, losing their spark on the highway, as expected.

There are three driving modes: Turismo, Scorpion Street and Scorpion Track. The first reduces the performance of the engine (up to 136 hp and 22.4 kgfm), which means that it increases performance and improves autonomy, more suitable for urban environments. The street increases the regenerative capacity, causing the car to slow down further when we release the accelerator pedal, until it comes to a complete stop (a function known as Single Pedal Drive). In the case of Scorpion Track, regeneration is smooth, so that it is possible to drive over water.

In my case, I prefer to have more deceleration when I release the right pedal, because it helps to enter the curve with enough speed without touching the brakes and this being the main difference to the Track, being Street. put your favorite.

And, importantly in terms of dynamics, the brakes (which replace drums on the Fiat 500e and discs on the rear wheels of this Abarth 500e, like on the petrol Abarth) work very well, with quick and linear responses from the start of the stroke with the pedal to the left and with an invisible transition between regenerative and friction braking, which is commendable and far from being the case in all electric vehicles.

the sound of a petrol engine

Finally I left the sound, a relevant issue on the Abarth. There are some powerful speakers mounted on the underside of the car, near the rear wheels, which emit sound cues from recordings made by petrol Abarths.

The result is impactful because the sound is quite sharp and heavy, with an increase or decrease in volume when we accelerate or brake, which helps to detect speed and also fills the moments of sports driving with drama.

The problem is that when driving with a continuous load of acceleration the sound becomes dull and boring (no gear changes and no brake pads to adjust) and, on the other hand, during the day/night and in more closed cities . places easily becomes excessive. It is true that you can turn it off, but in the world of abandonment of physical buttons that we live in, we have to go through three multimedia menus until we get there and, worse, only with the car turned off.

Actual autonomy should be closer to the promised 265 km as even with sporty driving for at least half of the driving journey, the average was 17 kWh/100 km.

Regarding charging, it can be done up to 11 kW in alternating current or 85 kW in direct current, which is better than rivals Mini Cooper SE (11/50) and Honda e (6.6/50), which is a little slower ( add speed and high speed) and which offer less freedom (because of their batteries and about 10 kWh less).

These are, in fact, its two direct rivals (for dimensions and engine/battery) and for entry prices also below 40,000 euros, which continue to be very high values ​​for such small cars.

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It costs 4000 euros more than the more powerful Fiat 500e (118 hp) and the more powerful petrol Abarth (695, with 180 hp) but its entry price, around 40,000 euros, continues to condemn. very few, even have batteries already included.

The first deliveries have already started in Europe, but there is still no set date for Brazil, but a small tram has been confirmed.

Technical Data – Abarth 500e

Engine: permanent synchronous electric, forward, 155 hp, 23.9 kgfm
Exchange: 1st gear, front wheel drive
Direction: electricity
Suspension: independent, McPherson and torsion axle
Brake: ventilation discs
Tires: 205/45 R17
Dimensions: length, 367.3 cm, width, 168.3 cm, height, 151.8 cm, wheelbase, 232.2 cm, weight, 1410 kg, trunk, 185 liters