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Abarth 500e parked

2024 Abarth 500e Review: Flawed But Fun Mini EV

I’ve never had so many people give me a thumbs up while driving a car as I did in my week with the Abarth 500e. That includes cars from McLaren to Bentley, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and the rest. It’s the most loveable electric vehicle on the road, clearly. However, it’s also one of the most smile-inducing vehicles I’ve driven this year, with a sound generator (yep), sharp steering and a real puppy-dog character that just wants to impress you every time you get in the car.

Priced from $58,900 plus on-roads, it’s an expensive price to pay for a car that barely offers 200km of real-world range (up to 252km WLTP). It’s also not that powerful, not that quick in a straight line, doesn’t have much space, and charges slowly. However, now we’ve got all of that negativity out of the way, we can have a look at what makes this electric nugget so fun. If you’re reading this article, your heart is already in it.

RELATED: Check out my Fiat 500e review right here.

ModelAbarth 500e
DrivetrainSingle-motor electric
Battery42kWh li-ion
Driven WheelsFront
Weight1335kg (tare)
0-100km/h (claimed)7.0 seconds
Top speed (claimed)150km/h
Energy consumption (claimed)18.1kWh/100km
Claimed range253km
Max AC charge rate11kW
Max DC charge rate85kW
Charge time (AC) 11kW 0-100 per cent4 hr 15 min
Charge time (DC) 85kW 0-80 per cent35 min

By the numbers, it’s clear that you buy this car with your heart, not your head. However, you’ll still have to stomach the $58,900 plus on-roads dollars it costs to get behind the wheel of the standard Turismo trim no matter how many laughs you get out of it. If you’re after exclusivity, there’s a 219-unit limited edition Scorpionissima in Australia that comes with special side stripes and a digital certificate of authenticity.

2024 Abarth 500e price:

  • 2024 Abarth 500e Turismo – $58,900*
  • 2024 Abarth 500e Scorpionissima – $60,500*

*Price excludes on-road costs

Strictly speaking, there’s no real competition for the Abarth 500e in Australia. Not until the new electric Mini Cooper arrives, and even then, it’s likely to be heavier and larger than the Abarth. Still, it will more than likely be a better purchase for those who need a little added space and range. There’s also the MG4 X Power, but that car suffers from a lack of character and struggles in the looks department. It is, however, a very well-rounded and quick vehicle in a straight line with a 0-100km/h time of 3.8 Seconds.

If you’ve spent any time in petrol Abarths, you’ll notice the extra space that comes with the 60mm wider track and 24mm longer wheelbase over the 695. Most importantly, as an average-to-large-size Australian male, I can actually fit inside this car quite comfortably. I don’t need to remove my head to fit, and my legs can operate the pedals, albeit with a slight skew thanks to the location of the pedal box.

Being an electric vehicle based on bespoke architecture, there’s an opportunity for added storage and practicality over the petrol-powered option. Abarth has added a wireless charging pad for your phone inside a dashboard cubby—with a bonus Torino skyline graphic. They’ve also added one USB-A port and one USB-C port inside the generous centre console alongside a flip-down single cupholder.

Technology-wise, the Fiat 500e has an updated version of the 7.0-inch TFT cluster. It comes with Abarth-specific graphics and a couple of different layouts. In the middle of the dashboard, there’s a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Uconnect 5 software, boasting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, backed up by a 6-speaker JBL audio system which sounds rather tasty in a vehicle this small.

Abarth 500e front wheel
Abarth 500e | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

You would assume that, as an EV, the Abarth 500e is significantly faster than the petrol-powered variant in a straight line. Well, it’s not. It’s powered by a front-mounted electric motor that outputs 113.7kW of power and 235Nm of torque, good for a 0-100km/h time of 7.0 seconds. That compares to the standard Abarth 695, which pumps out 132kW/250Nm, good for a 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds.

That being said, it feels quite a bit quicker in real-world situations and accelerates you from city to highway speeds at a hilarious rate of knots for such a small vehicle. When you’re punching it out of alleyways and intersections and merging into traffic, it’s an absolute hoot to drive.

Then you add in the sound generator which, for better or worse, is the heart and soul of the Abarth 500e. It sounds absolutely ridiculous and is properly loud at idle speeds. The trouble is that, unlike the Hyundai IONIQ 5 N, it only gets louder as you accelerate to the speed limit. The result is the loudest drone in all of automotive right now… from an EV. The only equivalent is driving a 4-cylinder hot hatch with an open downpipe, it’s unbearable. Thankfully, you can turn it off while the car isn’t moving.

Abarth 500e next to daihatsu cuore
Abarth 500e size comparison. Yeah, it’s small. | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

We’re quick to judge an electric vehicle as we would a piece of technology. We add up the numbers and compare the range, power, straight-line speed, size of the infotainment screen, and price. However, there’s something about the Abarth 500e that makes you reconsider all of these things because it’s so loveable and fun to drive. Is it enough to convince you to go against all the numbers in the name of character? That entirely depends on your charging situation.

Owning an EV with 200km of real-world range can cause frustration during ownership. Unless you’re able to charge the electric Abarth at home on a wall box, it’s not easy to live with and isn’t a vehicle we can recommend to most buyers. I can’t charge at home, and in my week with the car, I spent more money charging the Abarth 500e than I would’ve on a tank of petrol in the petrol-powered Abarth 695.

Package that with a steep price tag of $58,900 plus on-roads, and we can only recommend the Abarth 500e to a select group of people. With its looks, giggle factor, character, and more, it is undoubtedly the best third-car solution for supercar owners, but there are smarter buys on the market for everyone else who doesn’t simply want to have a laugh on their way to get an espresso in Double Bay.

Abarth 500e logos
Abarth 500e | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many
Abarth 500e at charger
You’ll spend plenty of time at chargers in the Abarth 500e | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

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