Fiat 500 Abarth Tuning

"Thank you for reading my Fiat 500 Abarth tuning tips."

We love the look and feel of the 500 and must admit to getting excited about an Abarth version coming out.

The Abarth shows what can be done and makes this one of the most fun cars around, giving much inspiration to Fiat 500 owners everywhere. We have seen power figures on the Abarth approaching a positively silly 280bhp but we suggest you stick with a 200bhp ceiling or you sacrifice the handling and fun factor with the main challenge keeping that power down.

Thankfully the mods chosen are pretty well specified but they still leave a little scope for performance tuning, to get that little bit extra from your Abarth.

As many of our readers have asked questions about the 500 Abarth and recommendations on how to modify one, so we've created this web page to cover the primary areas which make for improvement and tuning success on this engine.

 

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

 

Abarth Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many 500 Abarth owners uprate the handling of their cars with fast road suspension kits as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

If you set the toe out to 0.8 to 1.3 degrees on the front, and add a bit of negative camber then cornering will radically improve.

We would go to a maximum drop of 23mm - 43 mm. on most models. You risk compromising your handling if you go lower than this.

For greatly enhanced stopping add better performance pads and match this with larger brake discs. Ferodo DS-2500 sports pads come recommended by TorqueCars Fiat 500 tuning members.

As a word of warning please note that some performance friction pads can grind and will have to be hot before they are effective.

On a road car the brakes are only used rarely, therefore will not stop you as well so choose pads which don't need to be really hot.

Top end bhp should be your overall aim with a nice fat wide peak torque band.

Keep the car looking standard but remove the badges for the ultimate sleeper!

To be completely frank and honest, on the more modest engine sizes you are wasting your time spending money on modifications, so if this applies to you get yourself an engine swap then apply the following mods.

Best Abarth Engine Tuning Mods.

This list of the stages and motorsport parts are usually fitted by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you begin.

Getting the right sports upgrades for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 motor sport mods just don't work well on the road and will make the car undrivable.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Mapping - remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Panel air filter, Alloy wheels, Suspension upgrade (drop 23mm - 43 mm.), Remap, Sports exhaust, Lighter flywheel.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam, high flow fuel injector, Power/Sport clutch.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Sports gearbox, Engine balancing, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Competition cam, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves).

You should keep as much low end torque as possible and aim to get a wide power band rather than a narrow top end power hike.

The whole point of our guides is to give a starting base of car tuning performance parts and point you in the right direction, our forum is the place to go for detailed advice and tips on your modified car project, the best motorsport kits and all aspects of modding cars.

Fast road cams offer one of the biggest torque gains for your money as far as a solitary performance parts goes on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine.

The intake and exhaust flow play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car difficult to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a camshaft upgrade with other mods and finish with a remap for the best performance gains.

Don't forget to increase the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Frequently power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after sports modifications are done can usually be traced to timing or fuelling issues. Uprating the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned 500 Abarth's uprated injectors.

Abarth Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up.  Air induction kits will only help to increase performance if your cars air intake is restricted! Adding an induction kit to most stock engines will see LITTLE LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

Maximum power gains come from a full induction kit with a cold air feed on heavily tuned engines, this can be sited within an air box but a panel filter should suffice for most applications.

TorqueCars suggest you use a panel air filter as these are easy to clean and maintain and generally perform better than paper ones.

Sports exhausts can usually air flow through the engine but do not go too big or you may end up will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional head porting and polishing.

These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods. When you heavily modify your 500 Abarth you will see that the standard clutch starts to complain so get an uprated clutch. The best mods that we recommend for your 500 Abarth are fast road camshaft, remap, induction and exhaust, suspension.

NA (naturally aspirated) engines do not achieve big power gains if you remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications.

With turbocharged engines this is another story. A remapped turbo will give significant power gains and fully release the potential power of the engine. Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will give large power gains. It is usually cheaper to bolt on a supercharger than it is to bolt on a turbo. With a turbo the boost curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it harder to map.

Superchargers, however will give a boost which is proportional to engine speed so is simpler. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the compression ratio of the engine .

Alloy wheel upgrades for the Abarth.

The benefits of alloy wheels include reducing your unsprung weight and better brake cooling via the extra air flow they allow.

We can't go into too much detail here about tires but they are how the car puts the power down on the road so are a critical choice.

Track legal slick tires work well on 500 Abarth, and make a big difference over budget tires. The drawback to large alloy wheels on your 500 Abarth is that you're changing your effective final drive ratio so this will have a negative effect on performance and acceleration.

Because of this aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the OEM setup. In all cases without going bigger than 16 inches.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss 500 Abarth options in more detail with our 500 Abarth owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Fiat tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which mods work best for them on each model of car. We use your comments and feedback to improve the accuracy of these tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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