By on September 12, 2009

Ecco! Ferrari edition Fiat 500 prototype spotted in the wild. It’s preproduction, 180bhp, Ferrari authorized (with Ferrari shifter), for only 40,000€. It was supposed to be covered up, but being an American, I accidentally pulled the cover off trying to get a BMW CSL out. It was sighted at a racing company in Kelburg, next to the Nurburgring. The owner of the racing shop said it’s overpriced, but drives like a demon.

Last year, Fiat delivered 200 Fiat 500 Ferrari editions to Ferrari dealers for customers to use as courtesy cars while their F430 Scuderia (or whatever) was in for service. However, what was parked casually in the corner, is something completely different. Abarth, in conjunction with Ferrari (styling) tuned this little beast up from its original 100bhp to the screaming 180bhp claimed. A Renault Clio Cup, Megane R26.R, and similar creations all run low 8-minute Bridge-to-Gantry times with a good driver, so a sub-8 minute BTG time for the wickedest 500 yet should be possible… with slicks, and not the street tires fitted to this prototype.

The Ferrari/Fiat/Abarth 500 features quad exhausts, brake cooling ducts that lead to 4-piston brake calipers on front, slotted rotors, gigantic oil coolers, upgraded suspension, Abarth/Recaro racing seats, 5-point harnesses, and a partial body cage. Based on a cursory inspection, the interior looks lightened as well.

As Renault Sport has found tremendous success in the European market with its racecar for the road R26.R and Clio Cup, maybe Fiat thinks a properly sorted 500 with that special Corsa Red Ferrari paint, badge, and Abarth tuning will capture the market. At 40,000€, I highly, highly doubt it, unless the owner craves something completely different, and stylish. As an exercise in hot hatch theory, I absolutely love this little car. As something actually feasible in the real world, Renault gets to laugh at Ferrari for once.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

32 Comments on “Ferrari-edition Fiat 500 Prototype Spied in the Wild...”


  • avatar
    twotone

    Interesting car, but 40,000 euros? Hmm…

    Twotone

  • avatar
    gslippy

    The Fiat Dino is resurrected? Bring it on!

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Nice, but BLACK seats?

    For some reason I’ve always felt that if I ever owned something with a Ferrari badge (as if that’s ever gonna happen) it must be red (of course) with seats covered in that wonderful tan/saddle color that only Ferrari can pair with that special shade of red. And for similar reasons, the car in my fantasy has a black instrument panel.

  • avatar
    sixspeed

    When I first saw this on another website, I went like: “WTF where they thinking!?” Now I know: they hope that there are enough suckers out there who would dish out 40K euros for one of these. I mean, it’s like Hyundai would put out a Sonata “Mercedes E Class Edition”, or something like that. Of course, FIAT owns Ferrari, so…

  • avatar

    This sounds and looks wonderful!

    Bring back the hot hatch days!

  • avatar

    I’d only be interested in this if it had a twin turbo I4, all wheel drive and came with an Italian woman.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    Ludicrous. “Ferrari Edition”, eh? Just because you put in a Ferrari “shifter”, painted this toy red and slapped a few decals? And to add insult to injury, you sell this POS for $60,000? (40k euros)?

    Absolutely ludicrous. The POS was overpriced anyway in its regular trim. Too many retro-fools auto illiterate Britneys around, whose parents are willing to shell out the $ for one?

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    # Flashpoint :
    September 12th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I’d only be interested in this if it had a twin turbo I4, all wheel drive “and came with an Italian woman.”

    Since you are not at all particular about HER specs, 95 yr-old with a mustsche OK for you?

  • avatar

    @ autosavant,

    You are very right, $60K is waaayyyyy expensive. But make no mistake, its not a POS, but a properly sorted, full-on out of the box race car. This little thing outruns Porsches and BMW’s on the Nurburgring. It has a lot more than just the shifter, such as upgraded brakes, tires, suspension, racing seats, body cage, oil cooler and much much more.

    But I still think $60,000 is a bad idea. $25K? And you have a real winner.

  • avatar
    th009

    The sub-eight-minute comment must surely have been a joke. Nissan Skyline GT-R, Audi RS4 and Porsche 911 GT3 are all just above eight minutes.

    Maybe sub-nine minutes could be possible? That would be in the same territory with the Lupo GTI and the Focus RS.

    165 hp, FWD and a Ferrari shifter do not turn a little hatchback into a sports car. But maybe we’ll soon see a Dodge Caliber Maserati Edition, too, for $30K or so?

  • avatar

    @th009,

    A Renault Megane R26.R runs about 8’06″ as driven by RSR Nurburg Racing. A BMW M3 CSL, about 7’36″ driven by Andrew Mulholland (average Joe). A properly driven GT-R, RS4, GT3, are all sub-8 minute cars easily. I drive my own 911 with street tires and not much skill at 8’56″ (or so). They are all Bridge-to-Gantry times.

    So the owner claiming sub-8 minutes… I will have to believe it to see it (hence the sarcastic exclamation point), but a properly driven, properly sorted hatchback like this, the Megane R26.R, Clio Cup, and the new Focus RS, with sticky tires, are seriously quick indeed.

    P.S. Nigel Pinder, in a 1984 VW Golf with a 165bhp motor drives 8’30″ or so, with passengers.

  • avatar
    th009

    @Mike Solowiow, I based my observations primarily on Sport Auto’s times, as listed on the Wikipedia page:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%BCrburgring_lap_times

    Their best times for a production M3 are above eight minutes — but of course it’s possible that their driver wasn’t very good. (My bad on the GT3, that was a 1999 model so not really relevant.)

    The best lap time for the new Focus RS (driven by Horst von Saurma) is 8:26 … and that’s with a car that has 300 hp, compared to the Fiat’s 165 hp.

  • avatar

    @th009,

    What you are looking at are FULL lap times… something not possible during Touristfahrten (Public Drive) days. A sub-8 minute full lap time is impossible for this car. a Bridge-to-Gantry time, entirely feasible… if done correctly.

    As a full lap is impossible unless you rent the ‘Ring, most regular people quote the BTG times, as those are what are actually possible on a regular, non-track day basis.

  • avatar
    CyCarConsulting

    I think I’d rather be seen in Thomas Magnum’s old car.

  • avatar
    the duke

    I’ll take the track-prepped (based on the visible roll cage) E30 peeking in from the corner over that overpriced wrong-wheel-drive hatch any day.

  • avatar
    th009

    @Mike,

    The wikipedia page claims Bridge-to-Gantry is about 30 seconds shorter. That would mean Focus RS with an experienced driver would be about eight minutes Bridge-to-Gantry.

    Do you really feel that the lightly modified Fiat 500 (admittedly with a Ferrari shift knob!) would be as fast as the 300 hp Focus RS around the ‘ring?

  • avatar

    @ th009,

    It will get close, but no. I have seen the Renault Clio Cups (same in power-weight-size ratio) pull in awesome times, as they are so stiff and corner so very well. It all depends on the driver.

    And remember, they “claim” a sub-8 minute lap… something I have my doubts on.

    And it isn’t lightly modified, the Frankfurt Press Release now claims 180bhp out of the car (they turbo-ed it), which is quite a boost over the stock 100bhp.

    On the ‘Ring, power helps in a few places, but cornering remains king, as 300bhp doesn’t help you through Aremburg, but sticky tires, a stiff suspension, and great steering do. Hence why some of my friend’s VW Golfs from the 1980′s easily keep up with my 911 (that, and they have over 500 laps, while to date, I have 135).

    And the prototype I saw had the shift knob that was polished by Unicorns, the Press Release says it will have paddle shifts….

    After the official Frankfurt debut, I expect to see this thing on the track. I’m out at the ‘Ring nearly every weekend, so stay tuned to see if Fiat’s claims are substantiated.

  • avatar
    th009

    @Mike,

    One more note — though not on lap times this time — the 180 hp from a 1.4L turbo engine isn’t really anything really amazing. VW Golf’s standard TSI twincharger engines produce 170 hp from 1.4L, and the Audi S3′s 265 hp 2.0L engine achieves the same hp/L figure. (The Focus RS is somewhat lower hp/L as it uses 2.5L engine.)

    On the whole, I suspect it’s still more glam than go … at least until I’m proven wrong.

  • avatar
    pista

    I’ll take the Clio Cup. This thing’s a bit twee.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    I never thought “cute” and “Ferrari” would be synonymous. Just goes to show…

  • avatar
    qfrog

    I’m with the duke on this one. Lets talk about that E30 please.

  • avatar

    It’s cool as all getout. But at 40E, it ain’t gonna roll. They need a good economist on their staff to help them price the thing.

  • avatar
    dejal

    “It’s preproduction, 165bhp, Ferrari authorized (with Ferrari shifter),”

    Authorized? Like Ferrari has much choice.

  • avatar

    A Ferrari-tweaked Fiat 500 makes more sense than an Aston Martin-pimped Toyota iQ.

  • avatar

    You can buy a Z06 Corvette for not much more.

    Ferrari’s been whoring out its logo and paint scheme for a while, and the Fiat 500 is a decent car, but selling any kind of Ferrari edition car that isn’t a Ferrari is lame. Even GM isn’t stupid enough to sell a Corvette edition Malibu. As a matter of fact, it’s corporate policy at GM that when the LS family engines are installed in cars, they’ll have less power than the same engine in the Vette. The LS9 in the CTS-V has a smaller blower than in the ZR1.

    As I understand it, Ferrari enthusiasts turned their noses up at the Fiat Dino, and Ferrari’s own midengine Dino was a hard sell due to the stigma from Fiat.

    It was Luigi Chinetti who convinced Enzo Ferrari to sell road cars as a way of financing his race team. Now, Ferrari goes racing so they can sell gym shoes. How the mighty have fallen.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    Just a couple of points. The base is an Abarth 500, not the base Fiat 500, so it has a turbo and 135hp (or 155 with the Essesse dealer fitted kit), so the 180 hp is not so dramatic (it is the same engine effectively as the Essesse version of the Abarth Punto). Now I personally also do not think it will be faster than the Focus RS. On the other hand, the Megane R.26.R is, in spite of having only 230PS (70 short compared to the Focus). So who knows.

    The price is mildly ludicrous but for a very limited series they might pull it off. It is, after all, primarily there to add a bit of glamour to the range. Plus while there has never been a Corvette edition Malibu, there has been an Abarth Ferrari before ;)

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    The Focus RS is a very big compact, nearly a midsize. The 500 is a microcar. Two size and weight classes smaller. 180 hp should be plenty.
    The 500 looks like it has a high center of gravity though…

  • avatar
    pista

    According to Autoblog Spain, there’s also now an Abarth 500 Monza by Romeo Ferraris: 260hp from a new turbo, intercooler, suspension, exhaust, etc. Don’t know what it costs, though.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    But maybe we’ll soon see a Dodge Caliber Maserati Edition, too, for $30K or so?

    OOH!!! With circle rear windows…The Caliber TC

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    GUYS:

    I have not read the posts after 1 PM Saturday, and it did not dawn on me until now, but,

    do you realize you can buy an excellent condition, REAL, 1997 or so Ferrari 355 Spyder with very low miles with this kind of dough? ($60,000.00 US!) FIat is asking for this little cutsie worthless POS????

    This is LUDICROUS.

    (PS if you are more practical and even want some kind of a back seat in a car that will UTTERLY OBLITERATE this Joke, go get a Porsche 911 Turbo, also in excellent condition and low miles, and you can drive that one to work as well! (while the Ferrari Spyder is more of a Sunday afternoon drive)

    The clowns at FIAT really think the consumers are a bunch of morons???

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    40 k euros.

    sigh

    i guess i STILL cant afford to get a Ferrari.

    Even if it’s a Fiat.

    sigh,

  • avatar
    Areitu

    So, when’s Top Gear going to put one head-to-head with an Aston Cygnet?


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India