Harry Leahey

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Fiat’s performance focused sub-brand, Abarth has unveiled its new Abarth 500e hot hatch - the first electrified model in its history. 

To differentiate the standard car from this sportier version, the 500e has undergone a series of internal and exterior upgrades, chief among them is the tweaked front-mounted electric motor, which now makes 152bhp, up from 117, and 236 Nm of torque. 

This power boost is enough to take two seconds off the normal version's 0-62mph time to seven seconds. 

Like the normal 500e, the Abarth variant uses the same 42kWh battery, though Abarth have yet to reveal how the more potent motor impacts the car’s range. 

However, it does support a maximum DC charging rate of 85kW, meaning 30 miles of range will come from a five minute charge, while a near empty to 80 percent charge will take just over 30 minutes. 

Weight remains unconfirmed, but expect it to be similar to the standard car at 1,365 kg due to the same sized battery.  

The Abarth 500e also comes with three new driving modes: Turismo, Scorpion Street and Scorpion Track. Turismo mode reduces power and torque output to 132bhp and 230 Nm to deliver a smoother drive. Scorpion Street delivers peak performance, while maximising regenerative braking in urban environments where stops are frequent. Meanwhile, Scorpion Track reduces brake regeneration to maximise the car’s performance. 

Other changes include a new suspension tune for the larger 18-inch wheels.

Abarth says the car’s track width is wider than its petrol-powered predecessor’s, while the longer wheelbase and lower centre of gravity are claimed to deliver improved handling. 

To try and compensate for the lack of sound from the outgoing car’s 1.4 litre turbo engine, Abarth has developed a noise generator which works under both acceleration and deceleration. 

Predictably, the car also features a more aggressive exterior, with a redesigned front bumper, side skirts, as well as a rear diffuser and sportier alloy wheels. 

The convertible version includes an integrated spoiler, while the hardtop version comes with rear privacy glass. The car also bears a revised version of the company's distinctive scorpion badge. 

Inside remains largely unchanged, apart from a new Alcantara trim which features across the dash and the seats, in addition to the new three-spoke steering wheel.

Pricing and final specifications have yet to be finalised, but deliveries are planned to commence from June next year. 

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Harry Leahey 29/12/22