The Abarth has a raft of changes over the 500 to make a suitable hot hatch. The engine for one is now turbocharged. At 1.4L, it’s no bigger than a large pop bottle, but delivers 160hp and 170lb. feet of torque—a full 59hp more than the base 500.
In the land of 660hp Mustangs, that number might not mean much, but it only has to motivate 2500lb. Weight is the secret in making a car fun to drive. All the power in the world is useless if it has to drag around excess weight.
That power is quelled with new brakes, suspension, and wheels, also a quicker steering rack. No mechanical diff though, only an electronic one that utilizes each front brake to keep understeer to a minimum. Fiat calls it Torque Transfer Control (TTC).