Fiat wants an ‘Abarth MX-5′

Fiat’s plans for reviving the Abarth name could include models unique to the brand, Autocar has learned, and specifically a new, small two-seater roadster designed to rival the Mazda MX-5.

According to highly placed Fiat officials, plans are in motion within the firm to resurrect Abarth as a fully fledged sports car brand in its own right, and to develop a compact sporting roadster with which to launch it. In conversation with Autocar journalists, Abarth boss Luca De Meo and ex-Fiat marketing chief Steven Norman have both mentioned the possibility of stand alone Abarth cars, and a small roadster in particular.

Potentially based on the 500 platform, such a car would fit perfectly with Fiat’s aspirations for the brand and with Abarth’s history. It would also dovetail with the brand’s intention not to produce a Punto cabrio, as various Fiat officials have mentioned to Autocar, as that decision leaves room for an affordable roadster in the group’s model range – a successor for the Barchetta, which we also know won’t be directly replaced.

The likeliest engine for the Abarth Roadster would be the turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol motor that will serve under the bonnet of the forthcoming 500 Abarth. That offers potential for up to 150bhp.