More than two years have passed since the Abarth 500 was released in Europe but the car, in its hottest essesse form, has now been confirmed for Australia.
The news emerged a couple of weeks back and demand for the fiery 117kW/230Nm pocket rocket has been very strong with the first shipment already selling out.
“While we are amazed by the demand for the Abarth 500 Esseesse, it isn’t a huge surprise,” says Andrei Zaitzev, General Manager for Abarth in Australia.
“The Abarth 500’s Australian arrival was delayed by demand in Europe, which meant that there was already pent-up demand here. The announcement that we would launch with the rare, high performance Esseesse version sent an extra rush of people to our dealerships wanting to be amongst the first on the road in an Abarth 500.”
Let’s hope the sting in the tail for those who have already expressed an interest to buy isn’t an overinflated price tag!
A note at the end of the press release says we’re not allowed to call the Abarth 500 a Fiat, but what the hey, we’re going to file this under the Fiat category anyway.
Fiat’s red hot bambino about to be delivered!
14 February 2011 – After months of speculation about when it would arrive in Australia, the Australian importer of Fiat has confirmed that the hot version of Fiat’s bambino, the Fiat 500, will arrive in the middle of March and that the Abarth 500 will be the extra red hot Esseesse version as standard.
“Blame the European performance car enthusiasts for the delay in the Abarth 500 arriving in Australia,” says Andrei Zaitzev, General Manager for Abarth in Australia. “Ever since it was launched Abarth has been unable to meet demand for the Abarth 500, thanks to the combination of the irresistible charm and character of the Fiat 500 combined with the outrageous performance delivered by the changes brought about by the engineers at Abarth, Fiat’s high performance division. The delay, though, has provided one major advantage – we will launch in March with the Abarth 500 Esseesse, the top version which can rocket to 100 kmh in just 7.4 seconds, making it the ultimate giant killer!”
Compared to the normal Abarth 500, the Esseesse version destined for Australia has a power boost from 99 kW to 117 kW, while the maximum Torque lifts from 206 to 230 Nm. To cope with the power and torque lift, the Abarth 500 Esseesse has, over the normal Abarth 500, extra lowered suspension, up-rated springs and suspension, cross drilled brake discs and 7×17 inch alloy wheels in a style unique to the Esseesse. Top speed is 211 kmh and the 100 kmh dash is achieved in just 7.4 seconds, yet fuel consumption is just 6.5 litres on the combined cycle.
“The Abarth 500 has been a remarkable success in Europe and it has become ‘the’ small car to be seen in right across Europe,” says Mr Zaitzev. “We know that this success is about to be duplicated in Australia because we have had people banging on our door wanting to buy an Abarth 500 since it was launched in Europe. This demand will be further compounded by the keen pricing and specification which will be announced in March. So anyone who wants to get behind the wheel of an Abarth 500 Esseesse had better get to their Abarth dealer as quickly as an… Abarth 500!”
Full pricing and specification for the Abarth 500 Esseesse will be announced when deliveries of the red hot bambino start in March 2011.
Please note that the correct name for this model is: Abarth 500 Esseesse.
It is incorrect to call it a Fiat 500 Abarth and the car carries no Fiat badging.
Red hot bambino is off and running before it’s even delivered!
21 February 2011 – A little over a week after it was announced that the Abarth 500 will not only make its long anticipated arrival in Australia in March but it will also be the high power Esssesse version, the Australian Abarth importer has announced that the first shipment is already sold out and they are now half way through selling the second shipment, due in April, despite the fact that prices have yet to be announced.
“While we are amazed by the demand for the Abarth 500 Esseesse, it isn’t a huge surprise,” says Andrei Zaitzev, General Manager for Abarth in Australia. “The Abarth 500’s Australian arrival was delayed by demand in Europe, which meant that there was already pent-up demand here. The announcement that we would launch with the rare, high performance Esseesse version sent an extra rush of people to our dealerships wanting to be amongst the first on the road in an Abarth 500. We have had customers trying, for example, to buy a car in as many as four separate places, something that is by no means unusual!”
Compared to the car on which it is based, which has 74 kW on offer, the Abarth 500 Esseesse boasts 117 kW, which is enough to slash the time taken for the 100 kmh dash from 10.5 seconds to just 7.4 seconds while top speed leaps from 182 kmh to 211 kmh. Yet, and this is the truly remarkable part about its performance, fuel consumption on the combined cycle rises by just 0.2 of a litre per 100 km, from 6.3 to 6.5 litres per 100 km. All that extra performance and brio for a little more than a small glass of fuel every 100 km!
“This unique combination of giant slaying performance and environmental ability thanks to low fuel consumption and excellent CO2 emissions really makes it a sports car for the 21st Century – a little devil with a green heart,” says Mr Zaitzev.
Despite its fuel bowser performance, looking at the Abarth 500 Esseesse there is no doubting its performance intent. The wheels enlarged from the standard car’s 15 inches to 17 inches, cross drilled brake disks front and rear, the aggressively lowered suspension that transforms the 500 from chic city car to urban tearaway. The ‘look at me and watch out’ attitude is completed by the famous Abarth badge with its black scorpion symbol leaving no doubt what this little car is all about.
“A little over 50 years ago Carlo Abarth changed the rules for performance with the original Abarth 500 on and off the race track when it was launched in 1957,” says Mr Zaitzev. “The new Abarth 500 Esseesse has proven in Europe to have been even more successful than its illustrious ancestor and now, here in Australia, it is clear that the same demand driven by performance and style has created a unique level of ‘I want it now’ interest from customers. And considering the interest that there was and continues to be in the normal 500, this really is saying something!
Full pricing and specification for the Abarth 500 Esseesse will be announced when deliveries of the red hot – and equally fast selling – bambino start in March 2011.