The 2016 Fiat 500 Abarth had an advantage as soon as it gurgled onto my driveway. I’m a sucker for a small Fiat, though as with so many of my flaws I blame my parents for my weakness. Growing up, my mom had a series of tiny city cars from the Italian automaker: a bright red original 500, a rattling 126 with a fiddly manual choke, a boxy Uno and a couple of comparatively sleek Puntos, among others. None would win any awards for refinement, but all had its own particular charm.
The 500 Abarth is very much of the same school. No, it doesn’t have the oversized, often-overheating engine of the original cars to wear the scorpion badge. Those, after all, required a permanently-propped engine cover at the rear in order to stay anywhere close to properly cooled. What it does have is personality, for better or worse.
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