Abarth 500e Review

£34,195 - £41,195 score


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The Abarth 500e is a fast, sportier and (naturally) more expensive version of the lovable Fiat 500e. Can it justify its high price tag when many rivals offer similar levels of performance for the money? Andiamo! 

  • Battery size: 42kWh
  • Range: 158 miles (WLTP claimed)
  • Real world range: 120 miles
  • Max charge rate: 85kW
  • Miles per kWh: 4.0

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  • Battery size: 42kWh
  • Range: 158 miles (WLTP claimed)
  • Real world range: 120 miles
  • Max charge rate: 85kW
  • Miles per kWh: 4.0

Tom Says

“The electric car market needs some daft choices and the Abarth 500e certainly fits that brief. The range is terrible, the price is eye-watering and the external sound system should never have left the ideas whiteboard, but somehow it still has appeal. Expect these to make great second-hand buys.  ”

Ginny Says

“Sporty small cars are my thing, but I'm not convinced that Fiat and Abarth have done their sums right here. An MG4 XPower is faster, bigger and cheaper and would get my vote if I was looking to buy in this sector. And if size was critical, I'd stick with the standard 500e, which is still a really good package. ”

Driven and reviewed by 

Mike Askew

11 Jan 2024

When is a Fiat 500e not a Fiat 500e? The answer, if you really want to show off your car knowledge to others, is when it’s an Abarth 500e. In an effort to drum up more excitement for its sporting models, Fiat uses its Abarth sub-brand in the same way that SEAT deploys its CUPRA nametag. It’s actually listed as a brand in its own right within the Stellantis empire and will play an increasingly important role as the group transforms its range to electric power over the next few years.

Introduction and model history

The Abarth 500e is the first all-electric model to wear the famous Abarth scorpion badge. Named after founder Carlo Abarth, the company made its name building Fiat’s giant-killing rally cars of the 1960 and 70s. The name lay dormant until 2007 when Fiat resurrected for what was then the new 500. 

Although Abarth (pronounced 'Abartt' if you really want to curry favour with Fiat fans) will continue to sell the petrol powered 595 version for the time being, all future models will be battery powered. The 500e is, unsurprisingly, based heavily on the standard Fiat 500e and is available in both hatch and cabrio forms.  Originally launched in Scorpionissima special edition form, the current range consists of a standard 500e model and a higher-spec 500e Turismo model.

Battery, range and charging

A quick look at the specification of the Abarth 500e suggests that it uses the same battery set up as its Fiat sibling. However, to help deliver the extra power demanded by the Abarth’s beefier electric motor, the Abarth version features a modified 42kWh battery pack that includes a different inverter and revised wiring.

The Abarth 500e comes with an official WLTP range figure of just 158 miles, which is one of the lowest figures of any new electric car on sale in the UK and 41 miles less than the standard 500e. During our loan period, during which we drove it on a mix of fast A-roads, towns and motorways, the Abarth 500e averaged around 3.9 miles per kWh and delivered a real world range of 140 miles. As with the standard 500e, the Abarth isn’t at its most efficient on the motorway, so expect that range figure to be nearer the 115 - 120 mile mark if you’re spending your time at 70mph. 

Like the 500e, the Abarth comes with 85kW rapid DC charging which delivers a 10-80% charge in around 25 minutes. Speeds drop off quite quickly after the battery reaches 30% capacity, but remain pretty constant at around 40-50kW until the pack reaches 80%. 

AC charging is capped at 11kW, which is the same as the Fiat version. On a home wallbox with an output of 7kW, expect an empty to full charge to take just under six hours.  

Practicality and boot space

It won’t come as a huge surprise to learn that the Abarth 500e isn’t the most practical car out there. If you have a budget of £34,000 and want something for the kids and the dog, look elsewhere (an MG5 estate will give you everything you want and £3,900 change).

Although the cabrio has the same quoted capacity as the hatch version at 185 litres, the former is limited by its tiny boot lid that is almost letterbox-like in its practicality. Tumbling the back seats flat extends the usable luggage area to a more reasonable 550 litres, but this is at the expense of rear passenger space. Another quirk of the cabrio is that you can’t open the boot with the roof folded down. Pull the release button on the lid and you have to wait for the roof to retract a few millimetres to allow the boot to open. 

In the cabin, the Abarth 500e follows the form of the Fiat version with a reasonable collection of cubbies and storage areas. There aren’t many elements that have you saying to yourself ‘ooh, that’s clever’, but there are enough bins and boxes to deal with the general nick-knackery of modern life. 

Interior, design and technology

To differentiate the Abarth 500e from the standard 500e, Fiat has added new sports seats that come with an integrated headrest and raised side bolsters. Clearly intended to give off a motorsport vibe, they’re comfortable and do the job of making the Abarth feel a sportier offering. Accessing the rear is a little more cumbersome and comes with the added disadvantage of having to reset your driving position every time. 

Other Abarth-specific elements include (on the pricier Turismo version) a lovely three-spoke steering wheel that comes complete with Alcantara trim and a rally-style coloured trim strip at the very top of the wheel. The dashboard also features Alcantara trim across its full width to reinforce its sporting chops. 

As with the standard 500e model, the cabrio roof is electrically operated and pays homage to the original 1957 model in its design. One long press of the roof-mounted button retracts the fabric to the end of the passenger area with a second jab releasing the rear window fabric to deliver a more open cabin.

In terms of exterior design, the Abarth features chunkier bespoke bumpers front and rear along with two new alloy wheel designs. The entry-level model comes with 17-inch rims while then Turismo adds 18-inch, diamond cut versions. Abarth models also enjoy a unique colour palette with five colour choices including Acid Green and Poison Blue. Black window trim and contrast door mirrors complete the exterior design makeover. 

Motors, performance and handling

Where the standard 500e makes do with a 117bhp motor driving the front wheels, the Abarth benefits from a more powerful 153bhp unit that sharpens performance considerably. According to Abarth’s official figures, the 500e can sprint from 0-62mph in 7.0 seconds – two seconds quicker than the standard Fiat model can manage. 

But those official figures don’t really tell the full story. With 235Nm of torque and a fairly lightweight 1,435kg frame, the Abarth 500e feels considerably quicker – especially at lower speeds. Drivers can choose one of three special Abarth driving modes: Turismo, Scorpion Street and Scorpion Track, with the latter delivering the sharpest throttle response. 

The steering carries over the same accurate, darty qualities of the standard 500 model and thanks to the chunkier tyre choice and stiffer springs, delivers a genuine kart-like feel. The slightly over-engineered braking system features rear discs (the standard 500 has drums) is perfectly capable of scrubbing off speed should you get a little too enthusiastic with the throttle.  

Like the petrol-powered version, the 500e is a scrappy little thing that loves a twisty section of road and always seems eager to please. It’s not particularly polished or refined, but in many ways, it’s all the better for it.

Modern era Abarth 500s (which have all been petrol powered to date) have earned a reputation for delivering lively performance, sporty looks and a fruity exhaust note. When developing the electric version, bosses were nervous that existing owners would hate the idea of a ‘silent’ Abarth. To address this concern, bosses designed an artificial sound system and spent a staggering 6,000 hours perfecting it. 

The end result is a large (and very loud) external speaker that plays a synthesised soundtrack supposedly sampled from exhaust note of the petrol car. Being kind, one would describe it as an acquired taste. The main problem is the volume. It can’t be adjusted and pumps out its racket at a Spinal Tap-like 11 at all times, whether you’re waiting at traffic lights or driving at 70mph on the motorway. It’s not sporty and does nothing to enhance the driving experience whatsoever. Thankfully, it can be deactivated through the infotainment system. 

Running costs and pricing 

The Abarth 500e starts at £34,195 for the entry-level hatch and stretches to an eye-watering £41,195 for the range-topping Turismo convertible version. Both versions are decently equipped with full smartphone connectivity and the dubious sound generator as standard, but you’ll need to specify the Turismo version if you want luxuries such as the Alcantara-trimmed seats and steering wheel, heated seats and parking camera.


If you’ve read the above before reaching this section, you may be expecting a damning verdict. On paper, the Abarth 500e is expensive, impractical, not especially fast and comes with a driving range that would be barely acceptable even five years ago. However, this isn’t a car you buy with your head. To concentrate on its (many) flaws is to misunderstand its main purpose - to entertain and put a smile on your face. The Abarth 500e injects a much-needed dose of fun into the small electric car market. Yes, the range is poor and the price ludicrously high for what you get, but it delivers more smiles per mile than anything else in the sector. And that, for some buyers, will be reason enough to choose it.

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