Two turbocharged retro-mobiles duke it out in our standing mile test to see which is faster: the 2014 Mini Cooper S or the 2014 Fiat 500 Abarth. Although both of these cute hatchbacks have relatively humble roots as maneuverable city cars, the S and Abarth versions of the modern MINI Cooper and the Fiat 500, respectively, have respectable performance pedigrees of their own.
Going into the race, the 2014 MINI Cooper S has a power advantage over the spunky Fiat 500 Abarth. The Mini’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is new for the 2014 model and pumps out 189 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels, routed through a six-speed manual transmission. That’s 29 hp more than the Fiat 500 Abarth’s diminuitive 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder can muster, but the Fiat does weigh roughly 200 lbs less than the Mini.
The Fiat also carries a party piece: the snortiest, raspiest, and most distinctive exhaust note on any car short of a Ferrari. This soundtrack may not directly affect its straight-line performance, but it certainly gives the little Fiat 500 Abarth a unique Italian character. The Mini Cooper S has plenty of character on its own, though, with its black racing stripes and quirky interior design that give off a distinct British charm.
Which car will come out on top? Check out the video below to find out, and visit our YouTube channel for more standing-mile videos.