Target model year for a used Abarth 500?

JimD

Waiting for Godot...
Moderator
I have never driven a 500 Abarth, but I have heard lots of positive things about them. The used Abarth prices are coming down to the point I am considering getting one. Is there a "best model" year or group of years? Any year to avoid? Any advice on what to look for regarding condition? Any thoughts on the Cabrio models?

Thanks in advance for any and all input. :)
 

Eastep

True Classic
Hi Jim, Imo you should concentrate your searches to the '13 model year. Earlier the better. The '14s have a locked ECU with proprietary coding. Basically you cant "flash" or tune the ecu which then forces you to have to buy an aftermarket ecu (not even sure if they exist) or go stand alone. Neither of which are favorable. Thats not to say that you cant do some bolt ons or suspension stuff; but things like big turbo, better down pipe, larger injectors, etc... are going to be a bit of a waste.
 

JimD

Waiting for Godot...
Moderator
Thanks Mike

I was thinking more along the lines of reliability, recalls, etc. I wasn't planning to try to play with the engine. I know 500madness.com has some modules that could be plugged in to reprogram various aspects of the electronics, but I would probably just leave mine stock.

This is the ad that got me thinking about getting an Abarth. This car is about 10 miles from home, if the weather didn't suck I would go look at it. I notice the red Abarth engine cover is in the hatchback area... interesting... not in a good way though. :)
 

Dave80GTSi

Original Owner 1978 X1/9 (now sold)
Go for it.

My 2013 Cabrio has been my daily driver (4 seasons) since I bought it new almost 4 years ago. ZERO reliability issues, I have only done oil and filter changes and a new set of tires when the originals wore out.

Definitely get the Cabrio. It is the most endearing part of the car; everybody loves it. When closed you have extra head room over the closed roof cars.

If you wish to have a chat about it, send me your number and I can ring you.

DM
 

Afretired

Daily Driver
I've got a 2013 with about 17000 mi on it. Running a EuroDrive ECU flash, oil chg every 5000 and plugs at 10000, no problems. Makes me grin every time I drive it
 

JimD

Waiting for Godot...
Moderator
Thanks Dave and Mike,

I was hoping to find a Cabrio so that I could have the open air feel like in the X. It seems like 2103 is the consensus model year here in our small sample size poll. ;)
 

Afretired

Daily Driver
I would be careful about getting a sunroof model, cuts out a lot of headroom if you are over about 5'10".
Pic of Luigi
 

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JimD

Waiting for Godot...
Moderator
Thanks Mike, I am just under 5' 10". I sat in a sunroofed 500 and did notice the claustrophobic feeling, but my head wasn't touching the roof.
 

Dave80GTSi

Original Owner 1978 X1/9 (now sold)
Just for clarity, you have three (3) roof options with the new Abarth: A solid roof, a solid roof with a movable hard sunroof, and the cloth top Cabrio.

I originally wanted one with a hard sunroof, but the mechanism to operate the sunroof eats into the available head room. I am not especially tall either, but sitting in the (closed) sunroof model in the show room, the top of my head hit the roof.

So instead I checked out the Cabrio. When closed, that model's cloth top is much thinner than either the solid roof or the hard sunroof models, so I have a good couple of inches of head room to spare. And as I noted earlier, I am very glad now that I got the Cabrio (aside from the head room issues) as that's a very unique and distinctive feature of this car which impresses everyone who sees it for the first time. This Cabrio top is one of the best attributes of the car, in my opinion. At any temperature over about 50 degrees F I have the top open, with or without the heater blowing hot air into the footwell as needed which washes over you as it exits out the top. Same idea as my old X.

And with the roof open the exhaust noise sounds really cool, especially when backing off the throttle as you get the occasional characteristic turbo pop and bang. For those who might not know, the car has no OEM mufflers, just the catalytic converter acting alone at the discharge of the turbo. It's a bit loud when your foot is deep into the throttle, but at a sedate cruising speed it's not at all noisy within the car.

DM
 

JimD

Waiting for Godot...
Moderator
Thanks Dave,

I have been shopping for a Cabrio for the reasons you mention. I want to be able to open the top in nice weather. BTW. Is there also a fixed glass roof? Or is the sunroof just really large? I sat in one on a CarMax lot that seemed like it was fixed, but not really knowing what the sunroof looks like, I bet I was mistaken.

I rode in a 500C with one of the "FIat Girls" at the Nashville FFO a few years ago. I really liked the car, but didn't get a chance to ride with the top down. The young lady who was driving asked if she could leave the top up during the drive, so she could cool off with the AC. What was an old guy going to say to a nice young lady... who was obviously hot? ;)
 

myronx19

True Classic
I just bought a 2013 Abarth! It was first registered in 11/13, one owner - older guy, accident free. 120K kms (75K miles), but all highway. Got it at a Toyota dealer.

I pick it up next weekend :) Woo hooo!! looking forward to it.

Loaded, has a sunroof, leather, GPS, new tires, good shape one owner car - no mods, except dealer installed Abarth fuel door. Please excuse the dirt - they're going to detail it for me before I pick it up.


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willrace4beer

True Classic
Congrats Myron! You will absolutely love the car.

One more comment about the sunroof: For those of you that have sat in a car with the sunroof, the driver's seat has a height adjustment. Make sure the seat is all of the way down when you try the car out.
 

myronx19

True Classic
Congrats Myron! You will absolutely love the car.

One more comment about the sunroof: For those of you that have sat in a car with the sunroof, the driver's seat has a height adjustment. Make sure the seat is all of the way down when you try the car out.

Thanks Steven!

I'm 5'9", so I fit OK. I kinda like sitting up high, and it works out nicely. Turns out my car does not have heated seats, no biggie..

So far it's been great, although I've only driven it about 5 times! I need to sort out a few things on it (door handle hinge broke!, but I ordered a new hinge on ebay). Can't wait for spring!!!
 
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