Rural roads in Yorkshire proved perfect to put the latest offering from Abarth to the test; yet another chapter in automotive electrification. Two new editions to be adorned with the famous scorpion badge, the 500e and 500e Turismo. Two body styles to choose from, hatchback and cabriolet. Striking exterior colours will certainly get you noticed and there are number of design features which further attract attention. There is a new front bumper, this gives this little Italian number an aggressive look and the seventeen inch wheels feature a new design which makes the car even bolder in the looks department. Adding further sporty style, the lateral skirt, cool white front DAM, rear diffuser inserts and matt grey mirrors. Lettering is in dark titanium grey, front and rear. A generous sized electrified Scorpion signature logo is a feature on both sides of the car; perhaps just a little large for most.
The sporty theme is expressed with the funky interior and right away you are gripped by the sports seats which feature scorpion stripes and the steering wheel is wrapped in black vinyl. There are two large screens, with a 10.25 inch touchscreen infotainment system. This features Uconnect etc. radio navigation with new performance pages and. seven inch TFT cluster with dedicated Abarth graphics. Why Performance Pages? They are a special design which permit you to keep track of performance. EVs are as rule a quiet mode of transport and I have always enjoyed the sound entertainment delivered by Abarths; so not to disappointment the engineers have added a sound generator, which you can turn off. I was having nothing of that as I sampled the sure footed handling and the performance through winding lanes and the open road. Yet another sound, each time you switch on or off the 500e you are greeted by a rock guitar chord; I suspect some may find this an irritation.
Performance is right at the heart of the 500e and the combination of electric architecture, improved weight distribution and a wide wheelbase, this EV version is faster than its petrol cousin. One second faster with fifty percent faster acceleration from 20-40kph (12-25mph) than the petrol offering. Some may think that an EV can not produce a buzz factor; not so. I discovered better corner entry and a higher cornering and exit speed than the petrol version. No disappointment re the fun factor then, and like Abarths of the past; you simply just yearn to get behind the wheel.
The 42 kWH battery is coupled with a powerful e-motor, the range given by the manufacturer is 264km (164m) and given the nature of this little pocket rocket I would very much doubt if few can achieve that figure; I for sure would fail. Fast charging of up to 85kW in direct current (DC), the new 500e certainly will ensure a giant helping of driving pleasure; perhaps a better word is excitement. There are three drive modes to play with; Turismo, Scorpion Street and Scorpion Track. Turismo uses less power for a smooth drive; Scorpion Street offers top performance while maximising regenerative braking. Scorpion Track mode which would be perfect for a track day is purely for those in our midst who yearn for maximum performance minus the one pedal driving function.
Up until now, I have found in the main EVs sadly lacking in delivering a sporty drive; I can not say that of the Abarth 500e- for sure a worthy fast lane contender. Abarth was founded in 1949 by Carlo Abarth an Italian-Austrian, now owned by the large Stellantis Group. A major distinguishing feature is a scorpion on a yellow and red background. Scorpio was Carlo’s astrological sign, hence the company logo.