Abarth 500 Esseesse, Warsaw
Our friends at the Polish motoring blog Motore recently had the pleasure of testing a Fiat Abarth 500 Esseesse (pronounced “SS”), Europe’s version of the US Fiat 500 Abarth. Here are some of their impressions.
Warsaw holds the infamous “most congested city in Europe” 2012 record. Drivers struggle not only with heavy traffic but also with the recently started second metro line construction, which will paralyze the city centre until late 2014.
A sensible and reasonable logic would force the average Polish motorist to leave his Skoda Octavia or Volkswagen Passat in the garage and instead take public transportation: even though Warsaw boasts only one metro line, the network of above-ground tramways and suburban trains compensates well for the lack of underground solutions. On the other hand, a not-so-sensible and not-so-reasonable logic forces the Polish petrolhead to leave the Maserati Granturismo/Nissan GT-R/vintage 911 (choose one, or all) in the garage, and take… well, a small car with sufficient horsepower, the ability to seat four, and one that is very maneuverable and would be able to jump through traffic with the grace of a ballerina.
Enter the Abarth 500 Esseesse. This fantastic little car is actually manufactured in Poland (unlike its US-spec counterparts), so using it to brave Warsaw’s traffic makes even more sense for us from that standpoint. The premise of the Esseesse kit is to give the already sporty Abarth 500 more punch. The engine is remapped and boasts 160 horsepower, the exhaust is taken straight from the racing 500, and the suspension tuning lets you feel every imperfection in the road.
After a week behind the wheel, you tend to love this car for its Abarth everything – we didn’t mention yet how gorgeous the exhaust sound is above 3500 RPM, and hate it because it is still a 500 with its imprecise steering, and where you have to sit on a footstool— no bucket seat can help you. Still, the positive qualities of driving a small street hoonigan in Warsaw far outweigh those of any of its imperfections— qualities we’ll take each and every time.
With special thanks to Michał Wróbel, Antoni Walkowski, and Bartek Lichocki of Motore.
See the original full feature (in Polish) here.