2014 Fiat 500L
Patrick Rall's picture

Abarth Could be Planning High Performance Fiat 500L

The Fiat 500 Abarth is one of the most exciting subcompacts sold in the US and in an effort to expand their portfolio, the Abarth division is considering a high performance package for the larger 500L.

While the new Fiat 500L doesn’t seem like a vehicle that would cater to a high performance package as well as the compact 500 coupe and 500C convertible, MSN Cars learned from European Abarth boss Marco Magnanini that the high performance division is interested in offering vehicles beyond the awesome little 500 2-door. The only other model offered by the Fiat brand in the US is the larger 500L and the Abarth boss seems keen on the idea of a sportier version for that roomier Fiat and while his information likely only applies to the European market which he oversees – the birth of an Abarth 500L in Europe would be the first step towards a performance oriented 500L here in the US.

Having had the pleasure of driving the 2013 Fiat 500L on the Chrysler Proving Grounds test track, I can attest that the 500L is a far more entertaining vehicle to drive than many would expect. This enlarged Fiat sports much of the same basic styling as the popular 500 and 500C but it is much larger, with four doors and seating for four with more comfort (and leg room) than the smaller 500. While the 500L is a curious vehicle that is somewhat of a compact minivan and a vehicle described as a “compact minivan” is generally not one that drivers who love to drive would enjoy but the 500L is a delightfully spy little thing with lots of low end power and the ability to rock and roll through the corners a bit. Mind you, it wont handle like the standard 500 but with the touch of the Abarth division – all of the handling woes of the 500L could be handled.

Since this is all just speculation based on vague future plans of the Abarth boss, we don’t have any sort of details on a Fiat 500L Abarth package but based on the current 500 and 500C – we can make some assumptions at what the Abarth 500L would entail. First of all, we can expect that the Abarth package for the 500L will feature a suspension setup that would have the roomy Fiat sitting a little lower to the ground for both a sportier stance and better road handling capabilities. Next, the 1.4L MultiAir Turbo motor that provides 160 horsepower and 184lb-ft of torque in the Fiat 500L (and in the Abarth 500) would likely be tweaked a bit to pack more punch than the standard models and something in the area of 200 horsepower would make the 500L a real blast to drive when mated to a proper manual transmission. To get the 500L Abarth stopped after using that extra power, we would expect some sort of high performance braking package.

Finally, we would expect the Abarth 500L to have a body dress up package that would bolster the low, aggressive stance of the suspension package while also improving aerodynamics and engine cooling. Honestly, the aggressive design of the 500L Trekking package would be a great start to add an air intake here, a chin spoiler there and a diffuser out back would really make the Abarth 500L look like a proper Italian performance model – even though it is a vehicle designed for utility and efficiency. Best of all, the Abarth 500L would likely follow in the footsteps of the 500 and 500C Abarth models with a surprisingly small price tag for the performance offered.

Source: MSN Cars

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