Abarth versions of the Fiat Panda and 500L could be in the works to bring Italian performance to those who need need more versatility than the 500 or Punto can offer.
Fiat's Abarth range of hot hatches are some of the most fun cars on the market. But the 500 and Punto models that are currently the only ones Abarth offers are strictly three-door affairs, leaving those requiring the versatility of a five-door out in the cold. Rather than offer an Abarth version of the Punto five-door that's already available, though, reports are coming in that the Italian automaker is working on more performance-oriented versions of two other recently-launched models entirely.
First up is the new Panda, which is tipped to get a 105-horsepower version of the 900cc TwinAir engine. Now before you scoff at the thought of a 105hp two-cylinder hot hatch, consider that the previous Panda 100HP was regarded as one of the most entertaining cars to drive. Whether the successor to the Panda 100HP would be labeled as an Abarth model or not (the previous one was out before the Abarth brand was revived) remains to be seen, but another five-door hatch promises to pack significantly more power. That car is the Fiat 500L, a model which (despite its similarities) is not based on the 500 but is built at the former Zastava plant in Serbia.
Auto Edizione recently spied a 500L prototype at the Balocco test track that, oddly, proclaimed in big white letters that it was carrying a 165-horsepower 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo four (presumed to be the same one found in the Abarth Punto) mated to a ducal-clutch transmission, yet had its badge taped over, suggesting it could be released as an Abarth version. We'll have to wait and see what Fiat and its Abarth division announce in the coming months, but for European buyers who don't want to sacrifice a little Italian spice in their cars just because they have kids (but don't have the cash for something like a Maserati Quattroporte), things are looking good.