All-new, fully electric 2023 Abarth 500e
Scorpionissima! The all-new, fully electric Abarth 500e promises a whole new experience for Scorpion fans.
Story by Chris Rees
It’s finally here: the new Abarth 500e with fullelectric power. As expected, it’s based on the newgeneration Fiat 500, which means it has a longer wheelbase and wider track than the existing Abarth range. Enhanced looks, power and equipment should give it the sporty edge that Abarth fans crave, making it “the most responsive and exciting Abarth 500 ever”, according to the company.
The so-called ‘New Abarth 500e’ has the same 42kWh battery as the Fiat 500, but its electric motor’s power is boosted from 118hp (87kW) to 154hp (113kW) and torque from 220Nm to 235Nm. That means the 0-62mph time drops from 9.0 seconds in the Fiat to 7.0sec – the best in class, but not quite as quick as 180hp versions of the petrol 695 (0-62 in 6.7 seconds). However, in-gear acceleration at lower speeds is better, says Abarth, taking one second less than the existing 695 in “urban pickup”: quoted acceleration times include 20-40km/h (12-25mph) that’s 50% quicker; 40-60km/h (25-37mph) in 1.5 seconds; and 60-100km/h (37-62mph) one second faster than the petrol 695. On Alfa Romeo’s Balocco’s test track, the New Abarth 500e beats the 695 by over a second.
Three driving modes – Turismo, Scorpion Street and Scorpion Track – change various settings. Turismo cuts power to 134hp (100kW) and torque to 220Nm, while Scorpion Street offers full power while maximising regenerative braking for one-pedal driving. Scorpion Track unleashes maximum performance potential. As for handling, Abarth says the longer wheelbase, wider track and better weight balance between front and rear axles all enhance turn-in on corners, as well as providing higher cornering and exit speeds. Disc brakes are fitted front and rear over unique new alloy wheels. Sound is a crucial part of the Abarth experience and here the 500e is promised to be “the only small electric car which provides an immersive sound experience”. When turned on or off, a guitar sound plays inside the cabin. The acoustic alert system for pedestrians (required by law) also has a specific ‘jingle’, and when you break the 12mph (20km/h) barrier, a “strumming guitar” noise can be heard. Uniquely in the city car class, you can also specify an optional Sound Generator. This faithfully reproduces the sound of an Abarth petrol engine, says the company, while the external alert also sounds like a petrol engine. The Sound Generator can be turned on and off as the driver wishes.
As we went to press, Abarth hadn’t released an official range figure but it’s thought to be less than the Fiat 500’s 199 miles. Using an 85kW fast-charging facility, it will take less than five minutes to add 30 miles (50km) of range, while 80% capacity can be reached in 35 minutes. An easy Wallbox home charger with Bluetooth connection will be offered.
In terms of looks, the Abarth 500e sharpens up the Fiat 500 style. Two body styles will be available: hatchback and convertible. The hatchback features rear privacy glass, while the open-top model has a black canvas roof with an integrated spoiler. The LED headlights, bonnet and upper part of the nose are all shared with the Fiat, albeit with Abarth lettering in dark titanium Grey, but the perforated-look lower front grille is unique, as is the lower spoiler element (finished in white). The side skirts have a sculpted, sporty, Abarth-branded design, while the mirror caps are finished in titanium grey. The rear end is identical to the Fiat 500e except for new diffuser inserts and ‘Abarth’ lettering. Abarth has also played with its logo, which is a modernised, “electrified” Scorpion that’s placed higher up on the body sides than before. New side stripes adopt the so-called ‘Scratch’ effect on which Abarth fans voted in recent months. Inside, there are dark finish roof pillars and headliner and new ‘Poison Blue’ front seat folding straps.
The New Abarth 500e will be launched in a Scorpionissima edition, painted either Acid Green or Poison Blue. Features include exclusive 18-inch diamond-cut titanium grey wheels, 205/40 R18 tyres, fixed glass roof, steel pedals and kick plates with engraved logos, titanium grey dashboard ring, and Alcantara sports seats with integrated headrests and Acid Green Scorpion badging. Also included is an embossed Alcantara dashboard and a leather-and- Alcantara steering wheel incorporating the new Scorpion logo, plus premium door panels and centre armrest with double stitching.
Standard equipment includes a Sound Generator, JBL premium audio, heated front seats and windscreen, height-adjustable driver seat, dusk and rain sensors, keyless entry, automatic climate control, automatic beam headlights, electrochromic mirror, wireless charger and 360° drone view sensor system. The 10.25in touchscreen has sat nav and ‘Performance Pages’ featuring Abarth graphics. The digital 7in driver display shows speed, range, driving mode and battery status.
Abarth says its new 500e is “aiming to enlarge the Abarth target market while still staying true to its roots and DNA”. It will initially be sold online with a one-month pre-booking phase in December, dedicated exclusively to Abarth community members. We hope to have more details – as well as interviews with Abarth executives – on the 500e in next month’s issue.
154hp Fiat-based Abarth 500e quicker on track than petrol 695. Three selectable drive modes. Piped ‘petrol power’ sound is optional