Abarth 500e Turismo review: a fun, four-wheeled firecracker

The Abarth 500e Turismo is a track-worthy small EV with luxury appointments and a noisy undercarriage

The Abarth 500e Turismo in Poison Blue, sat on a gravel driveway
(Image credit: Sam Cross)
T3 Verdict

The Abarth 500e Turismo is just about as much fun as you can have on four wheels. A nippy little car with track-worthy credentials, this is a speed loving city slicker's dream.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Feels lightning fast

  • +

    Gorgeous interior appointments

  • +

    Beautifully styled

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Range is limited

  • -

    Sound Generator won't be for everyone

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When you think of the Fiat 500, there are many descriptors which might come to mind. Historic, stylish, and maybe even cool. But a racing machine? Probably not.

Fortunately, that's where Abarth come in. The tuning house associated with the brand are steeped in track day pedigree, bringing some Italian firepower to the small Fiat.

Now, they've taken that know-how and poured it into their first EV. The Abarth 500e Turismo is instantly recognisable and yet almost entirely different to what you'll know from the brand.

Inside, a wealth of Alcantara leather makes for a lovely place to be. It's no slouch when it comes to performance, either – and it even has a surprise underneath in the form of the Sound Generator. Let's dive in and take a closer look.

The Abarth 500e Turismo in Poison Blue

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

How much is the Abarth 500e Turismo?

The Abarth 500e range comes in two levels. The base model Abarth 500e, and the top of the line 500e Turismo. The latter is the model I'm testing here, where you'll find a handful of upgrades like Alcantara interiors, 18-inch wheels and added safety features.

The base model kicks off at £34,195 OTR. For reference, that is about the same as a Mercedes-Benz A Class, or exactly the same price as the top spec Fiat 500e La Prima model.

My review unit is the Turismo, though. Those start at £38,195, with my review unit coming in a shade higher at £38,795. That's solely because of the Poison Blue finish – but it's worth every penny once you see it in the flesh.

The Abarth 500e Turismo in Poison Blue

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

How does the Abarth 500e Turismo look?

There's no other way to say it – this is an unquestionably sexy car. The sleek lines of the bodywork wear classic Italian heritage proudly, but simultaneously fuse it with an attitude-ridden display of youthfulness.

The front end is adorned by a black Abarth badge, with no grill. The bonnet packs on the iconic red and yellow scorpion badge, which looks especially good against the Posion Blue backdrop.

Still, if that's not your bag, there's a whole range of colors on offer. Acid Green, Antidote White, Venom Black and Adrenaline Red are all other options. 

Interestingly, the front end design was the aspect of this car which received the most comments while I was testing this. They say all cars look like faces, and this is no exception. The headlights are slim semicircles, with a band above resembling eyelashes.

The white splitter on the front and the slight spoiler on the rear really do lend a sporty vibe here. It's poised and energetic, with a youthful exuberance just oozing from every panel.

The Abarth 500e Turismo in Poison Blue

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

Inside the Abarth 500e Turismo

Jump inside, and things change. That mischievous, adolescent exterior is replaced with an inner setting of the utmost quality.

The Turismo model I have here has one big advantage over the standard 500e – Alcantara. If you've not come across it before, this synthetic material replicates the feel of suede. It's about as luxury as materials get, finding itself at home in automotive and fashion applications.

In the Abarth 500e Turismo, it's everywhere. Alcantara on the steering wheel. Alcantara on the dashboard. Alcantara on the seats. All of that leaves the cabin feeling absolutely exquisite. It feels more like a sitting room than a car at times, and is a genuinely lovely place to spend some time.

It's incredibly spacious, too. The centre console is almost non existent, thanks to the use of electronic driving mode selectors and parking brake. Instead of the usual gear stick and handbrake, you find a couple of large cubby holes and a few buttons.

The Abarth 500e Turismo in Poison Blue

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

In fact, there's even a little break between the console and the dashboard. That means that – at least in theory, with small enough legs – you could move between the driver and the passenger side without having to clamber over all of the gubbins in between. You wouldn't, of course, but you get the idea – there's a lot of room in here.

The seats are sporty looking, with an integrated headrest. You'll find that iconic Abarth scorpion lurking there, too. But of course, most importantly, they are incredibly comfortable. I've waxed on far too much about Alcantara already, but if you're going to sit down for a long time, it's a really pleasant material to do so on.

Look up, and you'll find the fixed glass roof. That gives an unobstructed view of the world around you, and is a really nice touch. The blind is effortlessly easy to use, too, with a simple, one-handed operation. 

The Abarth 500e Turismo in Poison Blue

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

The Tech

In the middle of the centre console, you'll find a 10.25-inch infotainment display. It's certainly not the largest in-car display, so if you're someone who likes having a massive tablet in the cabin, you might be disappointed. But it is a nice size, and makes keeping control of things like maps and music a doddle. 

All of that is built natively into the car. You'll find a navigation system, DAB radio, and more, all built into the display as standard. I didn't really use any of it, though, because – like most of you – I simply connected my phone to use Apple CarPlay. That worked flawlessly, though. 

The driver's display is neatly arranged too. In the top left hand corner, you'll find a couple of warning lights for features like the Active Lane Assist. Beneath that sits a bar showcasing the remaining range. That's listed with percentage on top and mileage on the bottom.

That setup is mirrored on the right hand side. There, the current driving mode is shown in the top right, with the power and battery bar shown beneath it. Think of that a little like your rev counter, showing you whether you're currently using power or regenerating it.

The Abarth 500e Turismo in Poison Blue

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

Aside from the displays, you'll find a seven-speaker JBL Premium Audio System in the vehicle. Two tweeters, two mid-range speakers, two full-range speaker and a single subwoofer are arranged around the car, to give a full, all encompassing sound. It worked brilliantly, too, offering an immersive sonic experience in the cabin – though I think it was slightly more weighted to the passenger positions than the driver.

But of course, we can't talk about tech on the Abarth 500e without talking about the big one – the Abarth Sound Generator. Made to mimic the sound of the Abarth petrol engine, this is effectively a speaker array which makes engine noises on the car.

If that sounds ridiculous to you... well, I'm probably not going to convince you otherwise. It's a divisive feature, with many claiming it's a little like stolen valour.

I will say this, though – it's very useful. I don't drive an EV everyday, so I'm very used to the sound of a petrol engine. That's a very handy tactile response and whether you realise it or not, you use it when you drive.

I know, for example, the rough pitch my engine makes when I'm doing common speeds. And while I wouldn't rely on it 100%, it's useful to have a rough idea of your speed without looking down. Feeling that replicated in the Abarth was very reassuring. The good news is that it an also be turned off if you're not a fan.

The Abarth 500e Turismo in Poison Blue

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

How does the Abarth 500e Turismo drive?

Okay, let's get into the good stuff. To sum it up succinctly, the Abarth 500e is an absolute dream to drive.

0-62mph in seven seconds may not sound like the quickest car in the world, but in a car with roughly the same footprint as a manhole cover, it really is. Put your foot down and you're in another postcode. It's simply exhilarating.

That performance isn't lost in the corners, either. Thanks to a well engineered design, the 500e boards a 57/43 weight distribution. You can feel that as you drive, with the car feeling hunkered down and poised on the road. It's nimble and agile, without succumbing to sluggishness.

There are three driving modes on the 500e. Standard is the Turismo mode. That's your everyday potter around town and nip to the shops mode. Don't worry though – it's still positively bonkers. 

Enter the Scorpion Street mode, though, and things step up a notch. What was bonkers in the Turismo mode is now absolutely ferocious. 235Nm of torque is laid out in front of you, instantly propelling you along the way.

Scorpion Track offers the same performance as Scorpion Street, but loses the One Pedal Drive. That means, when you take your foot off of the accelerator, it doesn't automatically break. It's a more traditional driving experience, though the benefits of One Pedal Drive meant I opted for the Street variant more often than not.

The Abarth 500e Turismo in Poison Blue

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

Okay, enough about the driving, let's talk range. The Abarth 500e uses a 42.2kWh battery, which gives the car a rated mileage of 164 miles. That's far from the biggest range you'll find on an EV, but you probably shouldn't have been expecting that. This is, after all, a small car with sporting credentials, so it was always bound to eat up power.

In practice, I found about 120 miles was the real-world range. Therein lies my biggest gripe with this car actually – it just wouldn't quite go far enough. Even an extra 50% on top – achieving 180 miles of real-world range – would have been enough to change my perception here.

It just leaves the car feeling slightly confused, with a range that says "drive around town and pop to the shops" but a performance which is begging to be taken on long, touring drives.

That being said, having such a small battery does mean it charges incredibly quickly.  With a maximum DC charging speed of 85kW, it will charge 0-80% in just over 30 mins. For home charging, it tops out at 11kW AC, which means you can get a full charge in just over 4.5 hours, or around 6 hours from a standard 7kW wall box. 

The Abarth 500e Turismo in Poison Blue

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

Should I buy and Abarth 500e Turismo?

All in all, this is a wonderful little car. It's hands down the most fun I've had driving in a long long time, and should be enough to satisfy all but the most hardcore of petrolheads.

Sure, it's not perfect. That Sound Generator will be a very hit or miss feature, and the range does limit the usability somewhat.

But it's a really fun car to drive, and features a cabin which is just lovely to be in. If you need a sensible car for going about town, but refuse to do it in a sensible way? The Abarth 500e Turismo is the car for you. 

Also consider

If you're in the market for something small, electric and fun, there are a couple of other things to consider. Chief among them is the Alpine A290. That's due to hit the market this year, and looks like a similarly sporty hot hatchback.

Another option would be the new Mini Cooper EV. That's also set to arrive this year, and while it forgoes the track-ready design, it should offer a stylish, small option with considerably more range.

Of course, the other option which makes a lot of sense is the standard Fiat 500e. That has a slightly larger projected range, but does also do away with some of the sportiness which makes the Abarth tick.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.