Although at first glance the Abarth 500 we drove was a bit better equipped than your average small Fiat, the actual test drive proved us wrong. Apart from the single-zone automatic climate control and the two automatic electrical windows, there weren't many gadgets in our test car. This is not to say that the Abarth 500 is completely devoid of gizmos, but it certainly wasn't excelling at this chapter.
The car had xenon HID headlights with auto-leveling and a washer function, but there was no light sensor to complement them. The front seats were manually adjustable and were not heated (nor cooled), but at least they had a pretty decent way of letting [very short] people get in the back seat.
The Esseesse version we first got to drive was equipped with a panoramic glass roof, but sadly, the regular Abarth 500 didn't have this otherwise pretty cool option. The optional Interscope audio system was above average, while the easily accessible "Sport" and "TTC" buttons can really come in handy when driving in a... livelier manner.
The USB "Blue&Me" system developed in collaboration with Microsoft was also present in our car, as was the three-spoke steering wheel with helpful controls on it. The only major difference was the fact that the Abarth steering wheel is a bit smaller and has a different shape than the Fiat 500 one.
Just like the normal Fiat 500, the Abarth variant has fixed rear side windows, with most of the optional gadgets being shared between the two. The only exception resides in the optional GPS navigation system, which we only got to experiment during our Essesse drive.
The coolest thing about it, apart from being completely portable, was the fact that it can record virtual tracks and your times achieved on those portions of the road. It was helpful by reminding us we are not on a real circuit, but on a public road, while recording the times. All in all, there are a lot of optional extras to make techno-geeks happy, but our test car wasn't exactly filled with them.Continue reading