Abarth 500e Review & Prices
The Abarth 500e is as shouty and fun as you’d expect from the brand, but it does come with the caveat of a notably reduced range
Find out more about the Abarth 500e
This is the Abarth 500e, the shouty Italian brand’s much-anticipated interpretation of the electric hot hatch.
As with any Abarth 500 before it, there are appropriately mad changes to the looks. Mainly a sportier body kit, including an extended rear spoiler, plus a fresh set of alloy wheels and some properly bright colours (take the Acid Green car pictured as an example). Don’t forget the scorpion badging, too.
You’ll find some not-so-subtle tweaks inside as well. There’s a new part-Alcantara steering wheel with a yellow centre strip and another huge scorpion logo, which you’ll also find on the headrests of the seats. They too have been treated to some Alcantara as well as green and blue stitching, while Abarth-badged pedals complete the package.
Carried over from the base 500e is the 10.3-inch infotainment system and a digital driver’s display. A few tweaks have been made, including a new performance tab that displays real-time power and torque information as well as some racier instrument cluster graphics, but the software is largely the same. That’s to say quite basic but intuitive to use, with support for wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
As with the Fiat, the Abarth 500e’s rear seats are incredibly tight. Headroom is poor if you’re an adult, and legroom is tight for anyone, with your knees pressing right into the front seats. Access to the rear of this three-door hatchback is tricky as well, with only a small space to hop through.
Similarly, there’s not much of a boot either. It’s big enough to carry the weekly shop, but not a lot else. The Mini Electric offers more space, and even the tiny Honda e almost matches the Abarth here.
It may not have a petrol engine but, like any good Abarth, the 500e shouts loud and proud about its hot hatch credentials
Powering the Abarth 500e is a front-mounted electric motor producing 152hp (34hp up on the Fiat), with a 0-60mph sprint of seven seconds flat. It doesn’t sound all that quick for an electric car, and in truth, it isn’t, but using a small battery to keep weight down limits the amount of energy the motor can draw.
Retaining the pack from the Fiat 500e comes at the cost of range though. Official figures have it at 157 miles in combined driving, though the best part of a week with the car for this suggests around 135 miles of real-world range is more likely. Expect that to drop even further if you’re covering lots of motorway miles.
The smaller battery is the right call to make though, with the Abarth’s relatively light weight contributing to a rare EV that’s genuinely fun to drive.
Steering is quick and the chassis feels playful on the limit – although boot the throttle down too soon out of slow corners and it's easy to make the front tyres lose grip. A firm-set suspension setup keeps the car composed through corners, yet doesn’t translate to an uncomfortable ride at town or motorway speeds.
Ok, it’s not typical pinpoint hot hatch precise, but it does carry the Abarth charm of making you giggle along the way. It’s certainly more enjoyable than the Mini Electric, which is no mean feat.
It remains pretty good around town, too. Visibility is decent, it’s easily manoeuvrable the stubby stature of the 500e makes it a breeze to park.
It’s impossible to talk about the Abarth 500e without mentioning its ‘sound generator’ as well. This is effectively a set of speakers fitted underneath the car that will mimic the exhaust note of a petrol Abarth. Interesting in theory, but the execution is odd. It does a good job of making an idle warble, but it’s a strange sensation under acceleration.
Ultimately, the Abarth 500e is a dinky barrel of laughs – as any Abarth model should be. More performance and some chassis tweaks turn it into something properly fun, if not quite a true hot hatch. However, with the extra cost and dip in range, you’re better off sticking with the base Fiat 500e unless you’re dead-set on the extra performance and looks.
Want to make the switch to a new electric hot hatch? Check out the latest Abarth 500e deals available through carwow, and you can see how much you can get towards it when you sell your current car too. Alternatively, check out the latest used Abarth 500es in stock as well as other used Abarth models.
The Abarth 500e has a RRP range of £34,195 to £38,695. However, with carwow you can save on average £1,085. Prices start at £33,195 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £519. The price of a used Abarth 500e on carwow starts at £29,810.
Our most popular versions of the Abarth 500e are:
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|114kW 42.2kWh 3dr Auto
You can pick between two trims for the Abarth 500e – a self-titled base trim and range-topping Turismo. Highlights of the latter include 18-inch alloy wheels, Alcantara inserts for the dashboard and a wireless charging pad for your phone. It does add around £4,000 to the starting price of the car, though.
There’s a choice of a hardtop hatchback or a convertible model with a canvas roof. Going for the drop-top will add around £3,000 to the price of the car.
The closest competitor to the Abarth 500e, the Mini Electric, does undercut the Italian hatch on price a smidge, but it is a significantly older car.
The Abarth 500e is a rare EV that’s genuinely fun to drive on a back road, though an attempt at adding some noise could be better executed
Despite more of a performance focus, the Abarth 500e retains the base Fiat version’s town-friendly characteristics.
Visibility is really good all-round (in part due to the high-set driving position), which is aided further by a rear-view camera on Turismo models. It's also quite a stubby car, so parking and manoeuvring it is a breeze.
Sporty suspension usually comes at the cost of low-speed comfort, but that’s not the case with the Abarth. You do get the odd knock over harsh potholes, but generally, the car remains pretty stable over bumps and undulations.
In the Turismo and Scorpion Street driving modes, true one-pedal driving is possible. This means lifting off the throttle will gradually bring the car to a total stop and recuperate some energy in the process – ideal in stop-start traffic.
On the motorway
At motorway speeds, you’ll either notice quite a lot of wind noise coming into the car or a constant drone from the sound generator if you’ve got it switched on. It’s not much of a problem getting that fast though – there’s enough punch from the electric motor to merge pretty quickly.
Cruise control is standard on all models, though there’s no option for an adaptive system (which manages the car’s speed to maintain a set distance to a vehicle ahead).
On a twisty road
Any true Abarth has to be fun to drive on a back road, and the 500e delivers. A well-judged suspension setup and sharp steering make the most of the dinky chassis, with the hatchback proving responsive and playful. Boot the throttle out of corners though, and it’s easy for the front tyres to lose grip – something a limited-slip differential or torque vectoring system on a potential hardcore model could help resolve.
It’s not as precise and hard-edged through turns as the supermini hot hatch benchmark Ford Fiesta ST, but it provides promise for the future of the hot hatch in the EV age.
There’s no denying it’s not the fastest thing in the world, though. It feels quick up to around 50mph, but acceleration quickly tapers off beyond then.
In a bid to add to the fun, the Abarth 500e comes equipped with a ‘sound generator’. This aims to mimic the sound of a petrol-powered model, with a set of speakers placed underneath the car at the rear.
In theory, it’s a noble inclusion - but the execution needs some work. The idle warble makes a convincing enough sound, but it doesn’t change pitch at lower speeds - and when you are accelerating, you get more of a buzzing sound than a true simulation of a car hammering through the revs.
You can turn this off, but it’s a fiddly process - requiring the car to be parked up and going through sub menus in the instrument cluster. A physical button, or even a shortcut on the central display, would be a welcome inclusion.
There are a decent number of places to store things in the Abarth, but not much in terms of actual capacity
Despite being such a small car, the Abarth 500e does offer a reasonable amount of places to store stuff. You’ll be able to get a meal deal into the door bins, and there’s an extra bit of storage space under the armrest.
A drop-down cupholder is integrated into the centre console, though it sits pretty low and can be annoying to use on the go. There’s a tray just below the infotainment system too, which houses a wireless phone charger on top-spec Turismo models.
Space in the back seats
It’s the back seats that are the weakest area of the Abarth 500e. Getting into them is a pain to start with; you can’t move the front seats very far out of the way which makes accessing the rear quite tricky, especially with child seats.
Once you have managed to squeeze in, your next issue will be getting comfortable. Adults will mostly struggle for headroom, and anyone will find legroom an issue – expect your knees to be pressing into the front seats regardless of how they’re positioned.
As is usual for a car of this size, the Abarth 500e can only seat two in the back. Both seats have ISOFIX mounting points though. It’s also worth noting there are no USB ports, cupholders or extra storage areas for rear passengers.
There’s no change to the capacity of the 500e’s boot in its Abarth transformation. You’ve got 185 litres to work with, putting it below the Mini Electric’s 211 litres but a little above the Honda e’s 171 litres.
It’s worth keeping in mind some of that will be taken up by lugging around the charging cables if you want to keep them on hand, as there’s no extra space under the boot for them as with some other electric cars. It’s a similar story for the parcel shelf, though this is tiny and is designed to be placed behind the front seats.
You can drop the rear seats down too, but you’ll need to push the front ones quite far forward to make it work. There’s also a hefty load lip which can make getting heavier items in and out tricky.
There are no additional hooks or tether points in the boot, though you’ll find a 12v socket to the left.
Stylish upgrades are made to the Abarth 500e’s interior, though the infotainment system remains a little basic
A handful of tweaks are made to spice up the Abarth 500e’s interior over the standard Fiat. At your fingertips is a sports steering wheel that’s wrapped partly in Alcantara and features a huge scorpion badge, along with a centre marker.
Sports seats with more scorpion badging are added and are wrapped in Alcantara on the range-topping Turismo model (which also gets them heated). Other details include blue and green stitching, Abarth-branded pedals and some more Alcantara on the dash if you go for the range-topper.
Build quality feels good, as with the base car, and you’ll only find scratchy materials if you go hunting for them. All your key touch points are well-made.
Carried over from the regular 500e is the 10.3-inch infotainment system. The software itself is fairly basic, covering key car settings, media and sat nav, though it’s intuitive to use. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported wirelessly as well.
There is a new ‘Performance’ tab for the screen, though, which as the name suggests gives you real-time access to power and torque data.
Providing energy to the 152hp motor is a battery pack with 37.8kWh of usable capacity. Official tests have a range figure of 157 miles in combined driving, though the best part of a week with the car for this test returned 3.6mi/kWh - which equates to around 135 miles of real-world range.
If you’re covering long motorway journeys, expect that to dip further as motors run less efficiently at a constant high speed compared with lower-speed town driving.
If you’re using DC charging, the Abarth 500e supports up to 85kW, which will replenish the battery from 10% to 80% in 35 minutes. AC charging tops out at 11kW, though most UK home networks will only allow up to 7kW, which will charge the car fully in around 4 ½ hours.
Though the Abarth 500e hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, the base Fiat 500e has. Its near-identical chassis and crash structures make that car’s four out of five-star rating apply here, too.
Standard-fit safety features include autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, drowsy driver detection and traffic sign recognition.
With the Abarth 500e so fresh to the market, there are no reports of consistent problems with the model. It’s worth noting that as an electric car though, there are fewer moving parts than a traditional combustion engine and therefore theoretically less chance of things going wrong.
For peace of mind, Abarth offers a three-year warranty for the 500e.
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.