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Stop, my cheeks hurt – Abarth 500e Scorpionissima review

With the automotive world embracing a more sustainable future, Fiat’s performance arm Abarth has joined the party and released their own take on electrification. It’s called the 500e Scorpionissima, and it’s an absolute blast.

The 500e Scorpionissima is a limited edition gem, and with only 1949 units produced, (paying homage to the founding year of Abarth), and two vibrant colour options, it’s an unmissable little Italian that simply yells exclusivity.

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima review NZ

Although there is a poison blue option should you so desire, my review 500e Scorpionissima came in acid green, and it’s a colour that you could probably spot from Turin. Despite it offering a cty-friendly small footprint (it is a 500 after all) the distinctive side Scorpion and Abarth decals, and 18-inch diamond cut alloys, make it seem bigger than its siblings. Plus having the Abarth logo and name written on the nose, lets you know you’re driving something rather special. But wait, there’s more…

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima review NZ

The Scorpionissima’s tail boasts a prominent roof spoiler, LED lights, and, drum roll please, an ‘exhaust note’ sound generator. I can’t emphasise this enough, the artificial sound generator mimicking a traditional engine is a real showstopper. Not only does it add a touch of nostalgia to those that have moved from ICE to EV, but is ‘cheek-achingly’ funny.

On start up the 500e makes the sound of an Abarth in idle, and when you push down on the throttle, the little EV ‘revs’ like a champ. Sure it’s a bit of a gimmick, but this quirky feature injects real personality and charm.

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima review NZ

Step inside, and you’re greeted by a sporty yet kind of practical cabin. Racing-inspired seats feature a mix of Alcantara and leather, complete with Scorpionissima branding, while the dashboard comes with a slash of Alcantara too, with ‘body-coloured’ contrasting stitching giving it all a more premium feel.

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima review NZ

For those eagle-eyed amongst you, there are a number of Abarth easter eggs dotted around the compact cabin to discover, these include ‘Made in Torino’ inside the door handles and a classic Fiat 500 and Torino skyline underneath the phone tray – also I think that the dash is in the shape of the old lingotto factory rooftop test track but that could just be my imagination. 

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima review NZ

In front of the driver is a 7-inch TFT display that gives you most of what you need to know, while the infotainment screen is 10.25-inches and along with the brand’s suite of apps and driving assists, there is also a 6-speaker JBL sound system and some performance-specific menus to play with.

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima review NZ

While on the matter of performance, thanks to the electric motor producing 113 kW of power and 235 Nm of torque to the front wheels, this peppy hatchback delivers a spirited performance, ensuring a smile-inducing driving experience. 0-100km/h is achieved in around 7 seconds and its handling prowess shines through corners, combining agility with fun, especially on winding backroads. 

However, with a thumb-sized battery (42kWh), and a combined cycle consumption rate of 181Wh/km, the 253km (WLTP) range is difficult to achieve when venturing out of town. On the plus side, it only takes 35 mins to charge from 0-80%

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima review NZ

My time with the Abarth 500e Scorpionissima was mainly spent darting around the town and revelling in the EV’s sportiness and engine sounds. People waved from their cars (giving approving nods) and came to speak during my numerous recharges. 

There are three driving modes, with Turismo offering up an almost 1 pedal driving experience, while Scorpion Street and Scorpion Track let the wheels run more freely, no prizes for guessing where I spent most of my time, particularly as it doesn’t seem to alter the expected range.

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima review NZ

It was all smiles around town, however my grin did turn a bit frowny when I ventured to Hampton Downs on the motorway. Not only does the range decrease faster than me eating a bowl of pasta, but the artificial sound generator makes the Scorpionissima sound like it’s stuck in third gear. Thankfully you can turn the generator off, but not while on the move – a simple fix would be to have this work in Track mode or even an on/off button – but then it wouldn’t be a quirky Italian would it!

Then there’s the price. The Abarth 500e Scorpionissima will set you back just under $77k, yes it’s exclusive and even has a certificate to prove it, but still. 

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima review NZ

The Abarth 500e Scorpionissma shines as a distinctive and engaging electric vehicle that retains the brand’s heritage while embracing the future of motoring. And if you’re looking for a vehicle that not only turns heads but also promises a fun-filled journey, then the Abarth 500e Scorpionissima right up there (albeit with a price that might have you pondering the value of smiles per dollar). 

Just quietly, my top tip for this joyous little, noisy Italian hatch is the same as I’d give for a boat or a big van, and that is to get one of your close friends to buy it – and then share the fun!

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