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New Abarth 500e electric hot hatch starts from £34,195

Two models have been added to the Abarth 500e range bringing with them a fresh new design

When the Abarth 500 arrived in 2008 it was a wild hot hatch, and it only seemed to get crazier as the years went by. The new Abarth 500e has picked up the batton and now the range has been expanded with two new models that make the electric hot hatch a little more accessible.

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Abarth initially revealed the new 500e in one guise - the limited edition Scorpionissima. That launch edition car was priced at £38,695 but the two new versions are cheaper.  

The standard Abarth 500e costs from £34,195, but is also available as a convertible - which bumps the price up to £37,195. As standard, the Abarth gets a unique bodykit compared to the Fiat, with new front and rear bumpers, side skirts, rear spoiler, diffuser, Abarth badging and 17-inch alloy wheels. The convertible version gets an integrated spoiler in its fabric roof. 

The interior will be instantly recognisable to Fiat 500e drivers. Additions such as sport seats with scorpion designs stitched into the headrests, a black vinyl steering wheel with another signature Abarth scorpion badge. 

A 10.25-inch touchscreen sits at the top of the dash with Fiat’s Uconnect sat-nav system and extra ‘Performance Pages’ with driving data. The driver gets a seven-inch screen with bespoke Abarth graphics. As standard, Abarth’s JBL Premium Audio System features - which comes with the slightly controversial sound generator that mimics a petrol engine. 

Above the standard version is the £38,195 Abarth 500e Turismo (the cabrio version starts from £41,195). In this you get 18-inch diamond-cut grey alloy wheels, Alcantara upholstery inside, heated front seats, a wireless charging pad, a 360-degree rear-view camera, keyless go, a blind spot warning system and on the hatchback model, a panoramic roof.

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The first fully-electric Abarth in history, the new model won’t have the EV hot hatch sector to itself with the other retro-styled electric hot hatches like the upcoming Alpine R5 and the MINI Electric to contend with. Its arsenal includes a front-mounted electric motor, which delivers 152bhp (up from the 117bhp of the Fiat version) and 235Nm of torque, to bring a 0-62mph time of seven seconds.

The new model has less power than its combustion-engined stablemates with the 695 pumping out 177bhp and 250Nm of torque, resulting in a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds. Abarth engineers are quick to point out that it laps test tracks in faster times because of its increased width, longer wheelbase and instant EV torque. The 500e also features a novel sound generator and amplifier - programmed from an initial sample of the petrol 695’s exhaust note - to help deliver a more intense aural experience.

Abarth claims that the 500’s latest platform – which is currently not shared with any of the sister Stellantis brands – gives the model a wider track, longer wheelbase and better weight distribution than the old combustion-powered 500s. The brand says that these gains and punchier acceleration figures help the 500e to lap its Balocco test track a second faster than its ICE predecessor.

The Abarth 500e has a selection of three driving modes. Turismo is meant for everyday driving, with reduced power and torque (132bhp and 230Nm) aimed at delivering a smoother experience.

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Scorpion Street, meanwhile, unleashes the powertrain’s full potential as well as maximising brake-energy recuperation for urban environments with frequent stops. Scorpion Track dials back the brake regen to focus purely on performance. Abarth says that single-pedal driving is possible in Turismo and Scorpion Street settings.

Battery and charging

The Abarth 500e uses the same battery as its Fiat sibling, at 42kWh; but range drops from 199 to 155 miles due to the increased motor output. However, the company has confirmed that its version will get the same maximum charging rate of 85kW DC. This will be able to deliver around 30 miles of range in five minutes, and take the car from near-empty to 80 per cent of capacity in a little over 30 minutes.

Future plans for Abarth

Speaking at the reveal, Fiat-Abarth chief Olivier Francois said his team was already trying to think of ways to ramp up the 500e’s performance and noise. “Everyone is already working to make this car even faster, even sportier, even louder,” he said.Francois ruled out the idea of Abarth building standalone models or any vehicles based on manufacturers from elsewhere in the parent Stellantis group. But he said that while Abarth will always have fewer models than Fiat, there remains scope for range expansion.

“All Fiat models can potentially have an Abarth,” he said, “but it will not make sense for all of them. I’m not going to build an Abarth version of the [seven-seat MPV] Doblo, for example. But in Europe, Abarth always had a lot of success when tied to the 500. The 500 is like that and other models around the 500 galaxy could be like that.”

That’s a likely reference to a forthcoming larger version of the existing all-electric 500 - potentially a zero-emissions take on the 500X baby SUV, as highlighted by Auto Express earlier this year. Francois stated that he “could easily have made an Abarth version” of the existing petrol 500X, and that one had been drawn up.

Now read our list of the best electric cars...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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