Small streets, tight corners, squeezing through unforgiving gaps, inner city living has necessitated a class of car that matches the hustle and bustle of life in the city. The city cars are this class of car. Compact, cheap and reliable, these are the words that quickly became the catch cry of the city car owners.
The Abarth treatment of the FIAT 500 creates one insane city car, a pocket rocket. FIAT still wanted more though it seems. They needed something special to celebrate the release of the new FIAT 500 Abarth, so they created the Venom. This is what happens when you put a car through Abarth’s tuning factory line twice, no longer is turning the dial to 11 enough, somehow FIAT have found the 12 on a dial that only goes to 10.
FIAT has this week garnered much attention for the release of the 2013 FIAT 500 and its bad boy half brother, the Abarth. Catrrinel Menghia had cameras a flashing and reporters dashing, for interviews. Turning seemingly profession journalists into fumbling adolescents once again.
FIAT and Chrysler, two companies that became one. A partnership borne out of economic havoc and world wide struggle. Now Fysler is going from strength to strength, profits are up and massive lay-offs are just a bad memory, of a seemingly distant past. To celebrate the new Abath model Fysler have formed another unusual partnership, European tuners and American tuners working as one.
The Venom is the lovechild of Italian and American tuning companies. Mopar, Chryslers infamous parts and tuning division partnered with Magneti Marelli to produce this little package of insanity. Magneti are a long established Italian parts company that supply various parts to FIAT and Abarth for the 500.
The Abarth badge appearing on any model is a sign of madness at work. Carlo Abarth first began his association with italian sports cars and FIAT in the 1950’s. A renowned racing driver and fiersome businessman Abarth quickly become synonimiss with tuning in Italy. The Abarth FIAT 500 continues the tuning tradition, taking a standard city car and creating one of the fastest hot hatches available today. The Venom takes this as its platform and tunes it to within a whisker of its life.
Tweeking the ECU of the Abarths eninge has raised the horses on tap from 160bhp to 200bhp, along with 175 foot pounds of torque, all from the turbo 1.4litre engine. 200 pounds (85kg) of weight have been shed with a liberal dose of carbon fibre that has been applied to the bonnet, splitter front aero package, mirrors and the interior.
Of course the Venom tuning sits atop some already amazing hardware. Under her skin sits Abarth-tuned suspension, brake systems and dual exhaust, turbo-boost gauge with integrated LED shift light and 16-inch aluminum wheels. Driver and passenger performance seats feature a one-piece design with large side bolsters, racing-harness pass-through and accent stitching. The Fiat 500 Abarth also comes standard with BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication, Bose premium audio system and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.
Adding to the temptation for new car customers FIAT is giving new Abarth customers a free track day, The Abarth Driving Experience. includes training from professional drivers as well as a FIAT provided Abarth to learn the Abarth way, without new car nerves. Book in early the test car is going to to be the target of much abuse.
Unfortunately FIAT won’t be making the Venom available as a model in it’s own right, it will however produce an upgrade package that will allow any 2013 FIAT 500 Abarth to become venomous. The pack will be marketed under the Mopar brand and will include the Magneti parts as well as the Mopar gear.
FIAT were pioneers of the city car class, the original FIAT 500 is considered one of the first city cars and quickly became a cult classic when it was released in 1957. FIAT took compact to the limit when it designed the 500, redefined how small a small car can be. Production of the 500 ceased in 1975, with millions of 500s running around city streets all over the world. 2007, 50 years after the original first went on sale FIAT brought the 500 back, no longer consigned to cult classic status, the 500 was reborn.
The build up to the release of the new 500 began in earnest last year. A very popular super bowl commercial kicked off the campaign, super model Catrrinel Menghia stared in the commercial called Seduction, a funny little Italian take on a game played for eternity, seduction. There have also been a number of viral videos including the very funny ‘Erika Drives Men Crazy’. March 20 saw FIAT preview the Venom to the world, once again calling on Catrrinel to get mens blood boiling. She was on fine form with an unexpected ability to turn journalists into blithering ideots, all from 10 paces away.
Prices start at $22,000 in the USA, How successful the campaign has been we can only wait and see, the numbers never lie. With first deliveries scheduled for April 20 in the US and Europe the 2013 FIAT 500 Abarth is finally available, this small package of insanity can then be fitted with the Venom pack to produce insanity not seen since Lancia shut up shop.
Proving that even city cars need not be boring. FIAT have upped the anti in the hot hatchback market, creating one of the most spectacular cars that can fit on the back of a pick-up truck.