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17 July 2020

Urban Funk - Fiat Abarth EsseEsse

Retro styling surged back into the mainstream automotive world in the early 2000’s. The weird and wonderful creations of this styling trend looked to the past for inspiration on reviving rich heritage and iconic design language. The Fiat 500, or Cinquecento as it is commonly called in native Italian was no different. Originally conceived in the 1950’s, as an affordable yet quirky car for the people, tuning companies soon modified the city slicker for more speed hungry drivers wanting to dart around the tight alleyways and cobbled streets of their quaint hometowns.

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Abarth was the most renowned of them all, adding even more quirks into the model than before. Widened wheel arches, permanently opened rear bonnets and aggressive styling were a part of their modus operandi when it came to upgrading the compact runabout for maximum performance.

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The 500 was perhaps one of the most iconic retro designs after its reintroduction into the commercial market in 2007. In typical fashion Abarth gave their attempt at adding some potency to the compact hatch, little over a year after its initial release. Although this time, without the obscene modifications that existed on their original predecessors. They managed to successfully retain the aggressive and addictive character from before with some tasteful interior and exterior upgrades.

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The 1.4 turbocharged engine is ample for the lightweight body to seamlessly* glide through cityscapes while remaining an efficient and frugal daily driver. Behind the steering wheel, things are slightly different though. Prudent driving is at the bottom of the agenda as the enticing shifter-gauge paired with the flutter of the turbocharger makes it feel like a wolf trapped in the body of a terrier.

What was once an accessible car for the people has transcended into a modified yet funky hot hatch aimed towards a niche market of drivers that enjoy character above all else. There are few affordable cars that can leave a grin of lasting joy on the drivers face for the duration of the journey, this is one of them.

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