New Abarth 500C: Performance Version of the Fiat 500 Convertible Heading to Geneva

Fiat's official tuning brand, Abarth, has dropped the lid on its latest creation based on the 500C ahead of the convertible's world premiere at next week's Geneva Motor Show. Like its tin-topped counterpart, the Abarth 500C benefits from a more powerful turbocharged engine as well as chassis upgrades and a full suite of aero tweaks to reduce drag and improve high-speed stability over the standard Fiat 500C.

Motivation comes from a 1.4-liter turbocharged T-Jet engine delivering 140 horsepower and 206Nm of peak torque at 2,000 rpm. Power is transferred to the front wheels through a standard six-speed automated manual gearbox with paddle shifters.

The Abarth-ized 500C can sprint from zero to 100km/h (62mph) in 8.1 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 205km/h or 127mph, while returning an average fuel consumption in the combined cycle of 6.5lt/100km, or the U.S. equal of 36.2mpg.

The Italian company said that it is also working on a more powerful "Esseesse" model that will be available later this year.

Aside from the turbocharged engine, the firm's engineers have also tweaked the rag-top mini's suspension and brake components.

The "Scorpion treatment" adds a full body kit with beefed up front and rear bumpers, side skirts, a roof spoiler and a rear diffuser that integrates the twin tail pipes. The Abarth 500C rides on newly styled 17-inch alloy wheels.

The vehicle's electrically operated rollover canvas top comes in a choice of two colours (black or titanium grey), while Abarth also created three special two-tone color schemes, one in black and race white and the other in two different shades of grey.

As for the interior, the sporty 500C's features include a thick-rimmed sports steering wheel, unique decorative trim, a pair of body-hugging front sport seats and a modified instrument panel.

The Abarth 500C will reach European dealerships later this year with North American sales scheduled to start sometime in 2012.