Abarth 500e Convertible Review & Prices
The Abarth 500e Convertible brings the cute-but-savage styling from the old petrol turbo models into the electric car era. It's fast-car thrills without the guilty conscience, but its range is disappointing
Find out more about the Abarth 500e Convertible
Abarth, in spite of being a name once only remembered by misty-eyed classic car fans, has become something of a cult hit in the past decade. Its lineup of more powerful tweaked Fiat 500s — some of which have been eye-wateringly expensive — has enticed buyers with sharp handling and rorty exhaust notes. Can all of that appeal be translated to an electric car, though?
Well, that’s certainly what Abarth is trying to do, taking the cute-and-cuddly Fiat 500 Electric and trying to turn it into a hairy-chested hot hatch. It’s a bit like taking your teddy bear and kitting it out in army gear.
As part of the transformation, the 500e Convertible keeps the Fiat’s 42kWh battery — mounted nice and low between the front and rear wheels, to help keep the centre of gravity down — which gives the standard model a potential range of 199 miles, but gives the Abarth just 164 miles.
That’s because the Abarth 500e Convertible (there’s a conventional hatchback version you can read about here, too) gets a more powerful electric motor, driving the front wheels. It gains 35bhp over the Fiat-badged version, arriving with 152bhp and 220Nm of torque. Not particularly big numbers in the grand scheme of things – a basic Volkswagen ID3 can match or beat those figures – but then the whole car weighs 1,400kg. That’s hefty for a 500, but light by electric car standards.
Performance, then, is of the milder sort — more korma than vindaloo — with 62mph coming up from a standing start in 7.0 seconds, and a top speed limited to 96mph in the interests of not killing the battery.
Thankfully, the battery can be topped up at a decent rate, which is just as well given the truncated range. The Abarth 500e Convertible will charge at up to 85kW from a public rapid charger, and that allows you to add 100 miles of range in about 25 minutes, if all is working well.
The thrill, then, will have to come from the handling and in that respect the Abarth largely delivers. The steering feels sharp, and it scuttles through corners with some of the same enthusiasm of the petrol cars, but with greater refinement and a much nicer cabin.
The Abarth 500e looks great in convertible form, and makes it even easier to hear that odd, fake exhaust rumble!
Then there’s the noise. Abarths are famed for their crackling, noisy exhaust but an electric car is all about silent humming, right? Wrong — the 500e Convertible gets an external speaker which simulates a grumbling engine sound. It’s a bit cheesy — some people absolutely hate it — but as a first try at making EVs a bit more aurally engaging, it’s at least an interesting effort. (And you can turn it off if it’s not for you.)
Inside, there are high-backed bucket seats, wrapped in Alcantara and stitched with the famous Abarth scorpion logo. These are wonderful, and you sit much lower down, and much more comfortably, than you ever did in the petrol models. It’s also much more comfortable, and the Abarth even gets unique Bridgestone tyres, made especially for the car.
As with the old petrol-powered 500, the Convertible part of this Abarth is really more of a full-length fabric sunroof. It does fold a long way back — all the way to the top of the boot — but the framed doors and roof rails stay in place, so it’s not fully open. That said, it’s enough to be getting on with, and the bonus is that you can put it up or down at speed, allowing you to take advantage of the sunny spells between the showers.
It’s not the most practical thing, but then no Fiat 500 ever was. The boot, at 185 litres, is tiny and there’s no extra frunk in the nose. The back seats are only for putting people you don’t like into, although space up front is fine. The boot opening on this Convertible model is tiny, so only bring small bags if you’re trying to head off for the weekend. The standard model gets a much more practical hatchback.
Prices for the Abarth 500e start at nearly £35,000, and the Convertible adds about £3,000 to that price. That sure isn’t cheap, but then again no EV is, really. You could get a petrol Abarth 595 for a good £10,000 less, but then again, it wouldn’t take long to spec a petrol-powered version up close to the 500e Convertible’s price tag…
Want to get the best price? Check out the latest Abarth 500e Convertible deals available through carwow. You can also browse our extensive stock of used Abarth models, and when it's time to sell your current car, carwow can help with that, too.
The Abarth 500e Convertible has a RRP range of £37,195 to £41,695. However, with carwow you can save on average £1,175. Prices start at £36,105 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £511.
Our most popular versions of the Abarth 500e Convertible are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|114kW 42.2kWh 2dr Auto||£36,105||Compare offers|
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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.