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Abarth 500e review

2023 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 53.5
” Abarth's first EV hot hatch is fun but compromised “

At a glance

Price new £34,195 - £38,695
Used prices £19,548 - £27,610
Road tax cost £0
Insurance group 23
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Fuel economy 3.4 - 3.6 miles/kWh
Range 157 - 164 miles
Miles per pound 5.4 - 10.6
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types

Fully electric

Pros & cons

  • Exciting looks
  • Compact and agile
  • Premium interior
  • Not as fun as petrol models
  • Sound generator is flawed
  • Not especially fast

Written by Tom Wiltshire Published: 21 August 2023 Updated: 21 August 2023


The Abarth 500e is this sporty Italian brand’s first electric car, and it follows the same template as most of its previous models: take a Fiat and make it a bit faster and a bit more interesting. This is a trick Abarth has been pulling off since 1959, but these days it’s best known for enhancing the Fiat 500.

It’s therefore not hard to guess that the Abarth 500e is an uprated version of the very good Fiat 500 Electric. Already our favourite small electric car, the Abarth version takes the classy Fiat and turns it from a sophisticated piano lounge into a nightclub. It’s louder, both aurally and visually, and has increased performance thanks to a new 154hp electric motor. This is a substantial increase over the standard car’s 118hp best.

Abarth pitches the 500e as an electric hot hatchback, a class which hasn’t really existed until now. Rivals include the much larger MG 4 XPower, which has almost three times the brake horsepower but doesn’t really thrill in the corners. We also rate the Honda e if you’re looking for a small electric car that’s fun to drive. You could also consider a conventional other small hot hatch such as the Hyundai i20 N, though this is fuelled by petrol rather than a plug.

What’s it like inside?

It’s very much like a regular Fiat 500 Electric in here. This means you get a 10.25-inch infotainment system that’s responsive to use with a very high-quality display, especially when running Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – which it can do wirelessly.

You also get a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, which is high-resolution and easy to read. You can see the edges of the square display shoehorned into a round enclosure, though, which seems a bit cheap.

Abarth 500e - interior
Plenty of Alcantara in the dark, moody interior.

The uplift over the Fiat comes in the form of sports seats and absolute lashings of Alcantara upholstery, including a wide swathe across the dash. This does make the cabin feel appreciably premium, and means it’s easy to overlook some of the cheaper plastic evident on the door cards and dash top.

To avoid it becoming overwhelmingly dark inside, Abarth has added bright blue and green stitching, which is a fun touch – as is the garish scorpion logo on the steering wheel.

Space in the rear seats is very tight, and best suited to small people and short journeys. Headroom is limited by the curving roof. The boot is small too, at just 185 litres – but that’s not far behind the Mini Electric.


The front seats are bolstered and more sculpted than those in the equivalent Fiat, and that combined with the grippy Alcantara upholstery means you do tend to stay put more in tight corners. They’re not quite up to full hot hatchback levels of support, though, and they don’t hug you as tightly as something like the Recaro seats in a Ford Fiesta ST.

Abarth 500e - interior
The Abarth’s front seats are comfortable, but the passenger sits too high.

The driver’s seat adjusts for height, but the passenger seat doesn’t – tall passengers may find their head brushing the roof.


As it’s fundamentally the same car as the Fiat 500 Electric, the Abarth 500e shares the same safety rating. That means a four-star score from Euro NCAP.

Abarth’s fitted the top-spec 500’s safety features as standard, which means you get drowsy driver detection, traffic sign monitoring, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and intelligent speed assistance. Not a bad roster for a city car.

What’s it like to drive?

As electric cars go, it’s good fun. The Abarth 500e’s steering is light, and the car feels keen to change direction. The short wheelbase and relatively low weight (for an EV – it’s still 1,440kg) helping it to seem fleet-footed and agile. Compared with the MG 4 XPower, for instance, it’s much more incisive in the corners.

The steering may still be light, but it has more feel to it than the Fiat 500 Electric’s, and gives a better sensation of what the front tyres are doing. Grip is good, though it’s usually the front that gives up first, washing wide if you carry too much speed into tighter turns. There’s a little of Abarth’s trademark scrappiness, but not much – you will still have more fun driving a petrol-powered Abarth.

There are three driving modes: Turismo, Scorpion Street and Scorpion Track.

Turismo turns the power down to 136hp, helping extend the driving range for longer journeys (though you still shouldn’t expect miracles here – see below).

Scorpion Street gives you the full 154hp. Both of these modes have regenerative braking turned up to its full one-pedal mode which, as the name suggests, will bring you down to a full stop without touching the brake. It’s well-judged, if a little annoying during slow manoeuvres when you’d like the car to creep.

Abarth 500e - rear tracking
The Abarth’s one-pedal driving mode is well judged.

Scorpion Track turns the regen off, allowing you to control braking yourself. The 500e has disc brakes all round and a surprisingly natural pedal feel, so this is a pleasure.

We should also mention the controversial sound generator. Abarth is famous for loud, obnoxious exhausts and the firm wanted to carry this on with its electric car. It works via a rear-mounted subwoofer and on start-up it sounds parpy enough. But it soon fizzes out as the speed increases. It becomes a bit of a drone at motorway speed too.

Confusingly you’ll have to wade through eight different sub menus on the driver’s binnacle to access it and you can’t make changes once you’re moving. Which is unfortunate as we can imagine a scenario where you might like to do the slow part of your commute with a bit of enhanced noise but turn it off for the motorway slog.

In raw performance terms, the 500e is quick but not sensationally so, with 0-62mph taking 7.0 seconds. But being an electric car, it delivers full torque – 235Nm – straight away, making it feel faster than those figures suggest. It’s especially nippy around town.

The short wheelbase, chunky (for a small car) weight and fun-to-drive ambitions mean stiff suspension. This isn’t too bad on the motorway, but on some country roads things can become rather choppy. It doesn’t ruin the car completely, but it is worth keeping in mind, depending on where you do most of your driving.

Range and charging

The Abarth 500e uses the same 42kWh battery as the Fiat 500 Electric. The extra power means that the official line is a WLTP range of 157 miles per charge, versus the standard car’s best of 199 miles.

Abarth 500e - front tracking
Fun while it lasts. Driving range is limited.

We’ve found the Abarth capable of around 140 miles in the real world over mixed roads, and around 120 miles at a motorway cruise – both figures dropping sharply if you drive more quickly. The range calculator is nice and accurate, helping to assuage range anxiety, but there’s no denying this is a limited car that probably won’t suit anyone who has to regularly travel long distances.

Maximum charging speed on the public EV network is a relatively slow 85kW, but because of the small battery it will still charge from 10% to 80% in around 35 minutes. On an 11kW charger it’ll top up to 100% in 4 hours 15 minutes, while the more common 7kW speed of most UK home chargers will need around 6 hours to complete a full charge.

What models and trims are available?

As well as the hatch there is also a Abarth 500e convertible. Both variants come in a choice of two trim levels.

The entry-level model is simply called 500e. This is well equipped, including Apple CarPlay/Android Auto in addition to the built-in sat-nav, JBL hi-fi system, climate control, keyless go, rear parking sensors, 17-inch alloy wheels and the sound generator.

Upgrading to the more expensive Turismo spec nets you larger 18-inch alloys, wireless charging for your phone, 360-degree parking sensors, rear parking camera, blindspot monitors, heated seats, windscreen and mirrors, and that Alcantara interior finish.

Click through to our verdict page to see whether we recommend buying the Abarth 500e.

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