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Fiat already planning 500X Abarth performance crossover

Wed, 15 Oct 2014 08:01:00 EST

Fiat may treat Abarth as a trim level on the 500 in the United States, but overseas it's a bona fide performance brand. The thing is that, since the demise of the Punto Abarth (and with performance versions of the Panda and 500L ruled out), the Scorpion marque has been reduced to tuning only versions of the standard Cinquecento. But that could be about to change.

The latest reports indicate that Fiat is leaning heavily towards an Abarth version of the new 500X crossover: "The 500X is a good body for Abarth," Fiat designer Roberto Giolti said to "It's absolutely perfect in terms of drivability, control. The driving seat is perfectly measured to control the car. So the Abarth would be perfect." That may fall short of an out-and-out confirmation, but strikes us as a warm endorsement from a company insider if we've ever seen one.

Revealed less than two weeks ago at the Paris Motor Show, the new 500X will be available with engines ranging from 110 horsepower all the way up to 184 with the 2.4-liter Tigershark four. Given that the 500 Abarth hatchback already offers 160 hp and that the 500X is considerably larger, it would require a bit more punch, along with a tighter suspension, beefed-up brakes and more aggressive styling inside and out.

If approved, the 500X Abarth could serve as a suitable foil for the likes of the Mini Countryman JCW and Nissan Juke Nismo – and potentially more affordable than the Mercedes GLA45 AMG and the Audi RS Q3 that isn't currently offered in North America. One could even hope that some of those changes could be ported over into a Trackhawk version of the Jeep Renegade as well, but we'll have to hold on to see how the Abarth prospect materializes.

By Noah Joseph

See also: This Fiat 500 covered in human hair is a world record holder, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles gets officially official this Sunday, Marchionne to take his sweater and go home after 2018.