It's been a poorly-kept secret for quite some time, but Chrysler is once again confirming there's a forced-induction Fiat 500 in our future. The U.S.-spec 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth will officially debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show on November 16.
Developed by Fiat's long-time in-house tuning brand, the Abarth 500 injects the little Cinquecinto with additional power and some sporting flair. Abarth models receive a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch wheels, and a muscular stance courtesy of flared wheel wells and a blistered front clip. Apart from new reflectors placed on the edges of the wheel wells, American models appear to be almost visually identical to their European cousins.
Beneath the skin, the 500's 1.4-liter I-4 remains in place, although it's blessed with a turbocharger in Abarth guise. In Europe, this turbocharged four is able to produce 135 hp and 152 lb-ft of torque - small figures, perhaps, but perfect for hustling the 500's lithe frame around. European customers desiring additional power can always spring for the Esseesse package, which cranks output up to a crazy 160 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque.
As for the U.S. cars? Chrysler confirmed Abarths destined for our market will continue to employ the turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir engine, but the automaker has yet to disclose specifications for the U.S.-spec vehicle (representatives do, however, tell us the North American Abarth will "remain very true to the spirit of the original European car"). Likewise, the Esseesse package is also unconfirmed for our market at this time.
Expect further details on the Americanized Abarth to roll out closer to the 2012 500 Abarth's debut in Los Angeles.