abarth
abarth

Abarth 500e Turismo: Hang on, Tributo was quicker?

Riley Riley

2024 Abarth 500e Turismo 3

What is it?

The Abarth 500e Turismo looks the goods, flashy but at the same time restrained.

It is described as the most responsive and exciting Abarth 500 ever, but we’ve heard that somewhere before.

The real question and the one of most interest to buyers, is what does this electrified pocket rocket bring to the table over the cheaper, donor Fiat 500e?

There’s Abarth badges, bigger wheels and sports body kit, and a bit more poke of course . . . but it’s not all gelato and espresso.

2024 Abarth 500e Turismo 2

What’s it cost?

Abarth 500e is offered in two trims: Turismo, the subject of our test, and the launch edition Scorpionissima, which is more expensive and available in strictly limited numbers.

Turismo is priced from $58,900 and Scorpionissima from $60,500, while the Fiat 500e La Prima that we drove a few weeks ago is $52,500.

To put these figures in perspective, a regular petrol-powered Abarth 695 Competizione will set you back $37,900 plus on-roads.

Phew, but spare a thought for our New Zealand neighbours where the tiny Abarth retails for a whopping $75 grand . . . we kid you not!

Turismo comes with single climate air and a combination of leather and Alcantara suede trim, finished with contrast stitching, together with the Abarth name and Scorpion logo etched into the seats (the addition of a lightning bolt signifies its electric status).

The steering wheel is also finished in a combination of leather and Alcantara, the dashboard is also trimmed in Alcantara and the door panels have leather accents.

But don’t get too excited, because like the Fiat’s ‘Eco’ leather — Alcantara is also synthetic.

The front sports seats are heated but require manual adjustment.

While there’s so little room in the back that even the kids will struggle for legroom.

The chunky steering wheel is both reach and height adjustable.

And the control pedals and door scuff plates have a metal finish.

Other features include keyless entry, push button start, auto high beam, traffic sign recognition with ‘intelligent’ speed control, auto dimming rear-view mirror, auto lights and wipers, front, rear and side parking sensors, plus tyre pressure monitoring.

The Abarth rides on larger 18-inch alloys, with privacy glass, a sports body kit, LED lights front and back and heated grey mirror caps.

The headlight eyebrows from the Fiat have been blanked out to provide a point of difference and more aggressive look.

A glass sunroof is standard, but the mesh cloth screen is not going to keep out the summer heat.

You push a button to open the doors rather than use a conventional latch.

The driver sits facing a circular 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster with two selectable views and themes that change with the drive modes.

There’s also some performance gauges and a 0-100km/h timer available via the touchscreen menu.

There’s three USB ports. 1 x USB-A and 1 x USB-C port together with a 12-volt outlet  in the console box plus another USB-A port at the front of the console, along with a wireless phone charge pad.

Look hard enough and you’ll find another 12-volt outlet in the boot for the esky that is unlikely to fit.

Infotainment consists of a 10.25-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, built-in satnav, AM/FM and DAB+ digital radio, wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, plus JBL premium audio with a subwoofer and 320 wattveight-channel amp.

The Fiat 500e carries a four-star safety rating.

The Abarth has no rating as yet, but this rating should carry over.

Turismo boasts six airbags (front, side and head), a rear-view parking camera and autonomous emergency braking (pedestrian and cyclist detection), AEB Junction Assist for car-to-pedestrian scenarios.

A lane support system with lane keep assist (LKA), lane departure warning (LDW) and emergency lane keeping (ELK) are also standard as is Blind spot monitoring (BSM).

While the Fiat has adaptive cruise control with lane centering, sadly the Abarth misses out on this feature which we miss in traffic and could impact its safety rating.

Nor does it get a centre airbag, rear cross-traffic alerts or reverse auto braking.

Turismo is available in five colours: Acid Green, Poison Blue, Antidote White, Venom Black and Adrenaline Red. Ours was Venom Black.

Any colour other than Antidote White attracts a $900 charge.

The Abarth is covered by an outdated three-year/150,000km warranty, with a separate eight-year/150,000km warranty for the EV battery pack.

Service is due every 15,000km or 12 months and is $300 a pop.

2024 Abarth 500e Turismo 5

What’s it go like?

The Abarth is fractionally larger than the Fiat and weighs around 45kg more.

It also sits a little lower, with larger wheels and a larger footprint on the road, that contribute to better ride and handling.

Weighing in at 1335kg, the 300kg battery pack is positioned under the floor and gives the car a low centre of gravity, with 57:43 weight distribution.

The wheels have been pushed further apart, with a 60mm longer wheelbase (distance between axles) plus a 24mm wider track (distance between wheels).

Both cars share the same tiny 185-litre boot which expands to 550 litres with the rear seats folded.

Unfortunately, the boot is also the only real place you can stow the hefty charge cable and tyre repair kit in the absence of a frunk.

As a fully-electric vehicle the Abarth is a tasty offering.

But the record shows that it’s not as quick nor as powerful as the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari that we drove more than a decade ago.

In terms of outputs, the Fiat produces 87kW of power and 220Nm of torque.

In comparison the Abarth delivers 113kW and 235Nm, with drive transmitted to the front wheels via a single-speed reduction gear.

With a time of 7.0 seconds, it’s two seconds faster to 100km/h than the Fiat.

Top speed is a conservative 150km/h.

While it’s got the same 42 kWh battery (37.8 useable) as the Fiat, energy consumption is rated at 18.1 kWh/100km compared to the Fiat at 14.4 kWh.

As a result the Abarth has considerably less driving range, at 253km versus 311km (both figures WLTP). 

We found 311km a challenge and as we live out of town, the reduced 253km is not really doable.

We were using 16.1 kWh of energy short term and 15.8 kWh in the longer term.

Three driving modes are offered: Turismo limits power to 100kW and torque to 220Nm with maximum regenerative braking (most economical); Scorpion Street delivers full power with one-pedal operation (compromise); while Scorpion Track turns everything off for the track (wildest).

In both Turismo and Scorpion Street modes one-pedal driving is available, which means you simply have to lift off the throttle to stop.

Unfortunately it also makes the car incredibly hard to control at carpark speeds, for example edging up or down a driveway — and we spent most of our time in Track mode.

Although performance pales in comparison to other EVs we’ve tested, the drive experience is still punchy and plenty of fun.

The Abarth pulls strongly from rest but runs out of puff just as it starts to get going, making overtaking not as easy as you might expect.

The sound generator quickly wore out its welcome and we went diving for the switch to turn it off.

It’s designed to emulate the sound of the petrol model and although it was a bit of fun at first, it tends to drone at a constant speed and quickly becomes really onerous. 

It’s a bit ironic because several people apparently spent thousands of hours trying to create the ‘perfect’ sound.

Having said that, the car does lose some of its specialness with the sound switched off, so keeping it optional was a good move.

Although the Abarth adds rear disc brakes, the rear suspension remains a stock torsion bar setup like the shopping trolleys from which it derived.

At the front are 281mm ventilated discs; at the back 278mm solid rotors.

It does however get different shocks and a revised electric power steering calibration, and comes with high performance 205/40 Bridgestone Potenzas.

Despite the shortcomings of the suspension, the car drives and handles remarkably well.

That said, tyre and road noise are appalling on anything but well formed bitumen.

We could discuss understeer and mid-corner grip, but remember this is a car designed for the city and if you drive that way, you’re going to run out of charge before you run out of road.

Other interesting observations?

Soon after we picked up our review car it decided to hit the anchors, about half a second before we planned to — delivering a good scare.

A bit later the car complained the windscreen was dirty and as a result it informed us that neither traffic sign recognition nor automatic emergency braking were available.

WTF? We reckon it had more to do with the glare of the afternoon sun because the windscreen looked crystal clear.

When power starts to run short and it does not take long, the car is supplied with a Mode 3 charging cable for use with public chargers.

 If you want to plug it into a powerpoint and charge it at home, you’ll need to spring for a different cable.

The Abarth supports three different charging modes and is equipped with a CCS COMBO Type 2 socket that enables both domestic and public AC charging.

AC charging is limited to 11kW and will take just over four hours from 0-100 per cent (75 per cent took three hours).

With a DC fast charging it can be charged at a rate of up to 85kW, which means 0-80 per cent takes 35 minutes (does that mean you forgo a fifth of the range?)

2024 Abarth 500e Turismo 4

What we like?

  • Looks terrific
  • Turns heads
  • Fun to drive

2024 Abarth 500e Turismo 1

What we don’t like?

  • Limited range
  • Costs too much
  • Sound generator
  • No adaptive cruise control
  • Tyre repair kit
  • Mesh screen for sunroof
  • Scary auto braking
  • No home charge cable

2024 Abarth 500e Turismo 6

The bottom line?

The Abarth 500e Turismo is a bit of fun, but then so too is the petrol model and it costs a whole lot less.

For the price, we expected something more convincing, something that packed a championship king hit.

Then there’s the abysmal lack of range. It’s a killer and driving this car the way it is meant to be driven is unlikely to help matters.

2024 Abarth 500e Turismo 7

 

CHECKOUT: Time to enjoy a long hot Abarth

CHECKOUT: Could be time to take Abarth

 

 

Abarth 500e Turismo, priced from $58,900
  • Looks - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Safety - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Thirst - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Practicality - 5/10
    5/10
  • Comfort - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Tech - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Value - 6/10
    6/10
Overall
6.8/10
6.8/10

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Riley