Skip to main content

Fiat may really build a 500X Abarth, but will anyone buy it?

2016 Fiat 500X
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Mini has done an impressive job of turning one model into a full line of vehicles, and Fiat seems to be trying to catch up with its 500. It already has hardtop and convertible versions of the original hatchback, plus four-door 500L and 500X variants. But what about performance?

Fiat is considering applying its sporty Abarth brand to the 500X crossover, according to Automotive News (subscription required). It’s part of an overall plan to grow Abarth that also includes adding dealerships that will eventually sell a total of three Abarth models, and doubling global sales. A 500X Abarth would also give Fiat a rival to the Mini Countryman JCW and Nissan Juke NISMO RS.

That all makes for a solid case on paper, but then there’s the question of who will actually buy this thing. While the subcompact crossover segment is booming, small sporty crossovers are still fairly esoteric. It’s hard to sneer at a new performance model, but it’s even harder to plunk down the cash for one you really don’t want. And with two established players in the segment (the aforementioned MINI and Nissan), Fiat will have to fight for a piece of a small pie.

The 500X Abarth isn’t the only new piece of sporty Fiat news, though. The carmaker says its still planning an Abarth version of the new 124 Spider. Along with the 500 and 500X, that would give Abarth the three-model lineup it’s reportedly looking for. Abarth even plans to take the 124 Spider racing, and not just any type of racing.

Fiat reportedly plans to campaign the 124 Spider in the World Rally Championship. Known as WRC for short, this series is known for high-powered, all-wheel drive compacts like the Subaru Impreza WRX and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, both of which were developed specifically for the series. So how will a little rear-wheel drive roadster fair?

Fiat did not offer any specific details, but WRC cars have to be fairly close to the production vehicles they’re based on. A rear-wheel drive car hasn’t won the championship in decades, so Fiat may have to find a workaround for that. Fiat itself was last a major player in the WRC in the 1980s, with the 131 Abarth.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Rivian R2 vs. Ford Mustang Mach-E: Will the R2 be a better buy?
Side of the Rivian R2

The Rivian R2 has finally been announced, and it could end up being the go-to EV for drivers who want a decently affordable electric car with a rugged look and feel. But when it finally launches to the public, it won't be the only option in its price range -- the Ford Mustang Mach-E could be one of its main competitors.

The Mustang Mach-E may not be quite as rugged-feeling as the Rivian R2, but it does have a lot going for it -- like an increasingly low price, sleek design, and comfortable interior. Is one of these EVs better than the other? We put the two head-to-head to find out.
The first thing to note about the two cars is their design, as they’re pretty different. The Rivian R2 is built to be a little more rugged and outdoorsy, while the Mach-E instead has a sleeker and sportier look to it. Both cars look stylish and modern.

Read more
2025 Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan gets new face, bigger battery
2025 Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan front-quarter view.

The Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan arrived during the 2022 model year as the flagship of Mercedes' EV fleet. But now that it's been on sale for a few years, it's time for this flagship to get a refit so that it can stay competitive with other six-figure electric sedans like the BMW i7, Lucid Air, and Tesla Model S. The updated EQS sedan is scheduled to reach dealerships later this year as a 2025 model.

One of the most controversial features of the EQS has been its unorthodox streamlined shape, which makes the EQS one of the most aerodynamic sedans around, but also means it doesn't look much like a traditional Mercedes. For 2025, the EQS takes a step closer to that traditional look with a new grille featuring chrome bars like on the Mercedes S-Class. It also sports the brand's trademark hood ornament.

Read more
Best electric car charger deals: $100 off home charging stations
The handle of the Grizzl-E EV charger plugged into a vehicle.

A few years ago, electric vehicles were pretty rare or cost a fortune, but with more and more of the larger car brands getting into the game, there are a lot of excellent and even budget-friendly choices nowadays. That said, the electrical network for charging your cars might not be that widespread, so instead you'll have to rely on charging your car at home. Luckily, there are a lot of excellent car chargers at a discount, so if you've just bought an EV or want to upgrade your current charging solution, be sure to check out our favorite deals below.
Shockflo EV charger — $205, was $220

This EV charger by Shockflo is a Level 2 EV charger, which offers six times faster charging than a standard charger. It delivers 24 miles with just one hour of charging, and it can act as a mobile charger you can throw in the trunk or be mounted to a wall. It has an LCD display with useful information like charging rate, voltage, and charging time, as well as LED indicator lights that lets you know charging progress and errors.

Read more