Abarth 600e to arrive in 2025 as brand's most powerful model ever

1 month, 1 week ago - 12 January 2024, autocar
Abarth 600e to arrive in 2025 as brand's most powerful model ever
Italian firm has worked with motorsport engineers to develop "unique" chassis that focusses on driving dynamics

Abarth’s second electric hot hatch will arrive next year as the brand’s most powerful model to date and will use a bespoke chassis set-up developed by motorsport engineers.

Highly expected to be called the 600e, following the naming strategy started by the Abarth 500e and its Fiat 500e sibling, the new hot hatch will be equipped with a 237bhp powertrain, eclipsing the smaller model by 85bhp.

The brand’s current most powerful model, the Abarth 695 Biposto Record, produces 187bhp from a 1.4-litre four-pot.

This jump in power over the 500e is expected to give the 600e a big jump in straight line speed over its sibling’s 6.8sec 0-60mph sprint, although Abarth has previously said blistering acceleration from rest – a hallmark of electric cars – isn’t the outright aim of its new-era line-up and it’s instead focusing on better mid-range performance.

Like its 500e sibling, the 600e will also look to retain the brand’s fun-to-drive mantra. This is shown by Abarth’s partnership with parent group Stellantis’ motorsport division, which has tweaked the Fiat 600e’s eCMP platform – which it doesn’t share with the 500e that sits on a PSA architecture – to make it more driver-oriented.

Renamed the Perfo-eCMP, it gets a sportier suspension set-up, unique EV-focused limited slip differential, an advanced braking system (with bigger brakes) and bespoke Formula E-derived tyres. These changes give the Abarth better handling and driving dynamics, the brand says.

The outcome is a jewel, a new shining star”, the brand said, with “the most effective trajectories and guarantee excellent racing dynamics in all kinds of conditions” to “create the best package that ensures fun, performance”.

These changes will be best felt in the 600e’s Scorpion Track driving mode, which like it’s smaller sibling, it is expected to offer like its despite its crossover proportions.

As well as changes underneath compared to its Fiat 600e sibling, new images captured of an Abarth prototype reveal a predictably more aggressive suspension set-up, with a stance more befitting of a traditional hot hatch, rather than a crossover.

It is also fitted with a set of much larger wheels, shod in sticky Michelin Pilot Sport rubber.

A new diffuser is tucked under the rear bumper, although the images do not show whether this extends into a larger section of under-body cladding.

The front end gains a chin splitter, giving a more chiselled appearance.

Speaking to Autocar in August 2023, Fiat and Abarth CEO Olivier François revealed no details of the sporting crossover, but said the appearance of an Abarth-fettled 600e was “logical”.

Expected to land in early 2025 (mirroring the gap between the arrivals of the Fiat 500 and its Abarth sibling), the 600e will draw power from the same battery as in the regular 600: a 54kWh (51kWh usable) pack. It offers 249 miles of range in the 600, but given the added grunt of the 600e, a real-world range closer to 200 miles is more likely.

The Abarth 600e (right) next to the Fiat 600e

What remains to be seen is whether Abarth will add a second motor on the rear axle for improved traction and potency.

Fellow Stellantis brand Jeep showed a dual-motor concept version of its closely related Avenger crossover at last year’s Paris motor show, suggesting the e-CMP platform can easily accommodate a four-wheel-drive powertrain, but has yet to reveal the performance implications.

Otherwise, the 600e will be marked out by a suite of sporty touches, such as bucket seats, an Alcantara-clad steering wheel, distinctive paint options and bespoke wheel designs.

It is even possible that the 600e will follow its smaller sibling by having a speaker underneath it, producing a faux engine note to accompany acceleration and make it more appealing to petrolheads.

What's next from Fiat?
There will be no more Fiat sports cars and nor will the brand target large or luxury car segments, boss Olivier François has confirmed.

That is the beauty of [parent firm] Stellantis: we are a house of [14] brands,” he said. That means each brand must have a clear purpose and make money.

“For Fiat, we make money. We are simplicity. We are smaller cars. We are not sports cars. We are not luxury. We are not big cars.”

He added that Fiat won’t launch any cars longer than 4.5 metres – around the size of a Volvo XC40 – or shorter than 3.6 metres (excluding the new Topolino electric quadricycle).

These comments close the door on a successor to the Mazda MX-5-derived Fiat 124 Spider. However, when asked if Abarth could make its own bespoke sports car, François replied: “It may have a space.

The performance brand, originally a Fiat tuning outfit, hasn’t launched an entirely bespoke model since coming under Fiat ownership in 1971.

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