Corners Like a MINI Cooper S and Stings Like a Scorpion: FIAT's 500 Abarth

Thursday, April 26, 2012 by Cy Chowattukunnel

When it comes to light, fast, compact European hatchbacks, the MINI Cooper S has been the only game in town. With the release of the FIAT 500 Abarth,  MINI finally has some serious competition. The 500 Abarth adds a whopping 59 hp and 72 ft. lbs. of torque compared to the FIAT 500 Sport. That's a lot of power for a 2,564 lb. car and some serious power for those front tires to handle. 
 

If you have an Abarth on order, then you'll be counting on 195/45-16 all-seasons or the optional 205/40-17s. The 195/45-16 Original Equipment options for the vehicle are either the Grand Touring All-Season Continental ContiProContact or the High Performance All-Season Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season. The optional 17x7 is equipped with the 205/40-17 Max Performance Summer Pirelli P Zero Nero tire.

Given the Abarth's sporty suspension and short wheelbase, factory choices may not be ideal. In my opinion, the 16" tire choices offer relatively subpar grip, while the vehicle's ride is compromised with the 17" wheels. If I had an Abarth on order, I'd select one of the 16" options and sell them to a FIAT 500 Sport owner and look at a 205/45-16 Tire & Wheel Package.
 

If you're looking for wheels for a 500 Abarth with a black exterior and red mirror caps and red side stripes, I'd take a look at the black painted O.Z. Racing Alleggerita HLT. For the red-colored vehicle with black mirror caps and black side stripes, the red painted Alleggerita HLT is a great choice. With a white or gray Abarth, there's a number of Alleggerita finishes that'll work.
  

When looking for a tire that offers great dry and wet grip, predictable handling, optimal balance between steering response and ride compliance and relatively low noise take a look at the 205/45-16 Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport.

 

16x7 4-100 37mm offset OZ Black Painted Allegerita $279*
O.Z. Racing Black Painted Alleggerita HLT $279*
16x7 4-100 37mm offset OZ Red Painted Allegerita $299*
O.Z. Racing Red Painted Alleggerita HLT $299*
205/45-16 Ultra High Performance Summer Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport $105*
Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport $105*

 

Mounted, balanced and ready to install, the Tire & Wheel Package including the Black Alleggerita is $1,712*, while the package with the red painted (special order color) Alleggerita is currently $1,792*.
 

E 'in poi, è su come Donkey Kong (It's on, it's on like Donkey Kong).
 

2012 FIAT 500 Abarth FAQ:

  1. Can I run 205/45-16 sized tires on my Original Equipment 16" wheels? Yes, the O.E. 16x6.5 wheels will accommodate the 205/45-16 tires.
     
  2. Would the Sparco Assetto Gara be a good fit for the vehicle? The wheel is a good  choice as well, however I personally like the Alleggerita design a little better. If you're open to either design, the Assetto Gara costs less and is priced at $1092* (the red painted Assetto Gara is estimated to be available in June).
     
  3. How do the above 4-100 wheels fit on 4-98 bolt pattern vehicle? You can install these wheels with the provided wobble bolts. Wobble bolts are bolts with floating seats. Each bolt seat moves slightly upward to accommodate the 4-100 bolt pattern.

*Price subject to change, excluding shipping

Comments on Corners Like a MINI Cooper S and Stings Like a Scorpion: FIAT's 500 Abarth

Saturday, August 18, 2012 by stevenwrichards:
Sorry for the late reply but totally agree on the wheel / tire sizing... If I'm not mistaken, the shorter overall height diameter and lower overall weight also make this 16x7 w/ 205/45R16 the best combo for the Abarth

Was wondering if you have seen this setup on any Abarths and which offset you recommend... is the +37 the best option or just the only offset available?
Monday, August 20, 2012 by cy:
Overall tire diameters and overall weights are very close.

The 205/45-16's are 23.3" and 205/40-17's are 23.5."

If we look at the overall weights of 205/45-16 & 205/40-17 Bridgestone Potenza RE760's on OZ Allegerita's, we have overall weights of 34.8 lbs per corner for the 16" combination and 34.4" for the 17" combination.

The primary advantages of the 16" are: 1) smoother ride on rough roads & 2)better handling on rough roads because the car isn't bouncing around. If you're always on pristine roads there's no benefit.


16" Set-Up on other Abarths: We don't have a Fiat dealer here so 500's and Abarths are rare. In addition to our website I also recommend visiting some of the 500 forums such as:

http://www.fiat500usaforum.com/forum.php

you'll probably find other Abarth driver's running this set-up.


Offset: OZ makes the 16" 4 Lug OZ Allegerita in 37 mm & 42 mm offsets but with the factory 16's being 6.5" wide 35mm ET, 37mm less of a deviation from factory.

What's the "best" offset? It depends on what you're trying to achieve. For functionality in a front-wheel-drive performance car, we generally want stay close to the factory offset because lower offsets add torque steer.

Also fender clearance is very limited so lower offsets & wider wheels (EG 205/40-17 7.5" wide & 30mm ET) will rub on the fender.
Saturday, September 8, 2012 by stevenwrichards:
Weight: I'm surprised that there are no weight savings with the 16" setup. Is there that much more tire with the 5mm extra sidewall? Any idea what the stock weights are? Makes me want to just pick based on style (in which case I'd grab a set of 5-spoke Compomotives).

16" setup on other Abarths: I've seen the 16" Alleggeritas on a few 500s and they look a bit undersized. Tires make a big difference in the look too. Wonder if 215 width rubber might help...

Offset: Which direction is the deviation from factory with the +37 offset on 7" wide rims? Should extend out a half a centimeter or so, right? Prefer a wider look so this is a good thing...
Monday, September 10, 2012 by Cy:
Since 45 and the 50 in the tire size is a ratio and not a fixed measurement, 205/45-16 actually ends up having .4" more sidewall (looking at top&bottom sidewall separately) compared to 205/40-17 so that's why they weigh 1 pound more.

We don't have a Original Equipment wheel weight so the forum is probably the best resource for finding the OE wheel weight.

As for a 215 width 23" overall diameter 16" tire, there aren't many choices - Yokohama makes the 215/40-16 Yokohama Sdrive, see:

www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Yokohama&tireModel=S.drive&partnum=14WR6SXL&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes&affiliate=HK8

but that's only option and fender clearance is tight.

Offset: Higher offset, lower offset more out. So when we go from OE 6.5" width & 35mm offset to 7" 37ET, the outside edge of the wheel will move 2mm out of because of offset and 6.35 mm out because of width difference (the 1/2" rim width difference divided by 2).
Monday, January 21, 2013 by 5h4g:
What's the widest high perfomance summer tire you can put on the stock 17" Abarth wheels? What tire(s) would you recommend? Also do you sell spacers? If so, what mm spacer would you recommend for stock abarth body trim and stock abarth 17" wheels?
Monday, January 21, 2013 by 5h4g:
Last question: What is the part number for the Bilstien shocks that fit the US-Spec Fiat 500 Abarth (2013)? I know they have a rear shock application (not a coilover kit, just the shocks), but having a hard time finding the right part number. Do you stock them?
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 by cy:
Tire size: Keep in mind that we take a very conservative outlook at the risk of rubbing since we ship 99% of what we sell. 215/35-17 is biggest size that we've test fit on the 2012-2013 Abarth. So that size will work with your 7" wide 34mm offset Original Equipment 17's. Lower offset wheels, for example the 17x7.5 ET 30 BBS CS4, require the narrower, smaller diameter 205/40-17's because clearance is extremely between the back of tire and the fender liner.

We don't sell spacers. I woudn't recommend them because of the limited clearance.

Bilstein: We checked with Bilstein US. Bilstein doesn't have any struts, shocks or coil-overs they offer for the US spec 2012-2013 Abarth.

Thanks.

Cy

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