New Car: 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo

Fiat has revealed the newest member of the 500 family, the 500 Turbo, at the Concorso Italiano in Monterey. The new model is—you guessed it—turbocharged, and slots between the standard 500 and the sporty, range-topping Abarth in the Cinquecento hierarchy. The new Turbo is hardly a surprise—we discovered Fiat’s plans for it in a series of government documents—and it essentially is an amped-up version of the 500 Sport (like our long-term example).

On paper, the 500 Turbo reads much like a slightly neutered Abarth. There’s a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, sport-tuned suspension, larger brakes, and a more muscular body kit. Whereas the U.S.-market Abarth is endowed with a healthy 160 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque from its version of the engine, the 500 Turbo gets 135 hp and 150 lb-ft—basically the same as the non-Essesse version of the Euro Abarth. Still, the Turbo is meaningfully more potent than the standard 101-hp 500, and it should be slightly louder, too, thanks to its sport exhaust system.

The Turbo’s power is routed to the front wheels through a five-speed manual borrowed from the Abarth. Fiat further beefed up the driveline with larger CV joints; larger-diameter half-shafts are designed to reduce the effects of torque steer. Fiat didn’t offer any performance estimates, but we figure that the Turbo’s 0–60 time should split the difference between the Abarth (6.9 seconds) and the standard 500 (9.9 seconds).

To complement the turbo four’s additional get-up-and-go, the 500 Turbo inherits the 500 Sport’s stiffer spring rates, shock tuning, and steering calibration. The brakes have been upgraded with sportier pads, and the front rotors were upsized by one inch in diameter, now measuring 11.1 inches. We’re a little disappointed in Fiat’s wheel choice for the Turbo: The 16-inch aluminum wheels are the same as the 500 Sport’s, simply modified with black-painted inserts between the spokes.

Thanks to: Car and Driver


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