Ξ Comments are off

2016 Fiat 500C Abarth Cabrio Quick Spin

posted by  
Filed under Automotive, Fiat, Test Drives


The Fiat brand has certainly made a splash in America as the audacious go-to for a small car with a personalized style and unique Italian character that can’t be replicated in anything else. Injecting a little extra fun into the small formed Fiat 500 is it carrying the Abarth nameplate for its performance-oriented version. With the latest Fiat 500C Abarth in Cabriolet form, the small hot hatch gets a unique motorized accordion-style-folding fabric rag-top-like roof that can be opened at speeds up to 60 mph and retracted at speeds up to 50 mph.

>> Get the best price on the Fiat 500 from a network of local dealers now. <<


The 2016 Fiat Abarth Cabrio gets the brash and vocal 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged engine with 160 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 170 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm. The engine, lacking a conventional muffler, is rather audible and lets you know exactly what it’s doing by the way of loud clatter and pops out the nearly-straight-pipe dual exhaust. My latest test vehicle, mating the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine to a 6-speed automatic transmission, is still a joy to drive even if it is missing its standard smile-inducing 5-speed manual transmission I grew to love several years back.


Thrusting power through the front wheels the Fiat 500C Abarth Cabrio it is good to make it to 60 mph in about 7.5 seconds. While the acceleration time is only part of the story, the Abarth Cabrio exhibits nearly the same fun factor as its Coupe counterpart, but about 4-tenths of a second slower. Though, the additional weight and loss of body rigidity is somewhat felt when piloting through back bumpy roads or attempting to out-accelerate something like a new Mini Cooper S Convertible. Lateral handling also falters as the high-center of gravity of the Abarth Cabriolet seems to catch up when digging into turns. The 205/40/17-inch Pirelli P-Zero tires wrapping forged wheels can only do so much for keeping the 2,545-pound Abarth Cabrio planted. For the most part, the Fiat Abarth Cabriolet is the desirable choice in the full line of trim options if you can’t live without its opening ragtop.


The Fiat 500C Abarth Cabrio is a fuel-sipper when you drive like a civilized law-abiding citizen. Though, at the moment of pushing the Abarth to the point of a popping exhaust and clatter from the turbo’s wastgate, things get a bit interesting and the fuel level starts to unrepentantly drop fast. While the Fiat 500C Abarth Cabrio visually appears to be a gas miser, it only conjures up 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, which regretfully aren’t stellar numbers for such a small vehicle. I saw a consistent 26.4 mpg with a mix of hard driving and highway cruising.

The muffler-less exhaust wasn’t all that intrusive when cruising but could be a bit much for your neighbors upon cold startups and warm-up drives through the neighborhood – something to keep in mind when you choose the little Italian hot-pocket. Othwerwise, enthusiasts will have no qualms about welcoming such a tasteful sound from the new Fiat 500C Abarth Cabrio. Nothing else compares at a price of $33K. You can even hear the turbo spool up out back from idle to mid-throttle inputs. It’s love at first rev!


Fiat’s uniqueness has caught on to some but having such a vehicle comes with the obvious compromises when you want to factor in its versatility, or lack thereof. There isn’t any getting around the small factor of the Fiat 500C. Though, up front, the seats have a respectable amount of space and the seats are just comfortable enough for someone like me, who is over 6-feet tall and requires ample legroom. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would never venture into the snake pit and attempt to sit in the rear as it is devoid of usable legroom for normal-sized adults. The rear seating, while slightly more agreeable than the new Mini Cooper S Convertible, is just enough space for two middle school aged kids. Of course, taking a trip in the Fiat Abarth Cabrio is nearly an impossible feat due to having only 6 cubic feet of cargo space, which, to its benefit, can be used at the same time of folding the top down. Though, expect your rearward visibility to diminish with the top down.


The Fiat 500C for its 2015 model year was recently updated with a new instrument cluster with a full LCD color screen and a new 5-inch touch screen with an optional navigation system. The new 5-inch infotainment unit makes away with the easily forgettable stick-out-of-the-dash TomTom unit that was supplied to Fiat 500s with the Nav option. Now, the new infotainment unit is a simplified version of FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobile) Uconnect system, which is both user-friendly and straightforward in most operations and menu sets. It’s all a welcomed addition that completes the interior’s ambiance apart from the body-colored dashboard panels, beefy flat-bottom steering wheel, and nicely accented heated seat trims.


Fiat has made its mark and continues to appeal to a select number in the American culture who want something completely different. Harking back to the original style of the Fiat 500, the latest Abarth shadows that tradition only fitting to the conforms of today’s technology and safety wrapped up in a package just big enough to accommodate the “size” of today’s American with a flaring performance attitude.

The 2016 Fiat 500C Abarth Cabrio starts at $26,695 and my nicely-equipped test vehicle comes in at $33,315. For comparison, that’s nearly $7K less than a comparably equipped 2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible.

>> Get the best price on the Fiat 500 from a network of local dealers now. <<


  • Price: Base Fiat 500C Abarth $26,695 /Fiat 500C Abarth As-Tested $33,315
  • Engine: 1.4-liter turbocharged Multiair 4-cylinder 160 horsepower @ 5500 rpm / 170 ft-lbs. torque @ 2500 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 90.6 in.
  • Total length: 144.4 in.
  • Total width: 64.1 in.
  • Total height: 59.2 in.
  • Track: f/r-55.4/55.0 in.
  • Ground clearance: 4.6 in.
  • Headroom: f/r-38.6/36.8 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-40.7/31.7 in.
  • Fuel tank: 10.5 gallons
  • Turning circle: 30.6 ft.
  • Interior volume: 81.6 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 2,545 lbs.
  • 0-60mph: 7.5 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 24 mpg city / 32 mpg highway

You May Also Like


Automotive Manufacturers & Categories