New Fiat 500 Abarth Priced from $22,000* in the U.S., or about as Much as a 305HP Ford Mustang…

Just because it’s tiny and made from Europe’s equivalent of Chevrolet, doesn’t mean that the new 160-horsepower 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth comes in cheap.

In fact, it’s US$22,000 price tag (*not including destination and handling charges) is sure to raise some eyebrows.

And this not only because it costs $6,500 more than the standard 101-horsepower 500, but also because it brings it in the same price range as sports cars like the 210HP 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe ($22,250) and even the 305HP 2012 Ford Mustang V6 ($22,310)!

Naturally, Fiat’s American representatives believe otherwise and point towards 500 Abarth’s Italian heritage, though someone should tell them that while Fiat and Ferrari belong to the same group, they are not the same…

“The Fiat 500 Abarth feels like a double shot of espresso straight to your veins,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand for North America, Chrysler Group LLC. “With its wicked attitude, it will reward adrenaline fans who no longer need to pay six figures to feel the rush of true Italian performance.”

On the other hand, the 181HP MINI Cooper S has an MSRP of $23,800, so Fiat may have a chance of snagging some buyers that are into small GTIs.

The fastest 500 in the States is powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine pushing out 160-horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 170 lb-ft (230Nm) of peak torque between 2,500 and 4,000 rpm. A five speed manual gearbox along with an Abarth-tuned Torque Transfer Control (TTC) system drive the front wheels.

Fiat has not yet published performance numbers f or the U.S. model.

PHOTO GALLERY

2012 Fiat 500 AbarthThe digital spot transforms the unique characteristics of the Fiat 500 Abarth into a sensual and strikingly stunning model and “imagines” the scenario behind a first time encounter of the all-new vehicle. 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 Abarth's 1.4-liter MultiAir® Turbo engine2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 AbarthThe spot ends with a new tagline, “The Fiat 500 Abarth. You’ll never forget the first time you see one.”2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 AbarthLos Angeles -- Nov. 16, 2011 --  Olivier Francois, Head of FIAT Brand Worldwide and Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler Group LLC, unveiled the all-new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth at the Los Angeles Auto Show today.  In staying faithful to the racing credentials that made the Abarth name a success in Europe, the new Fiat 500 Abarth brings Italian high-performance to the American market. For more information contact Jiyan Cadiz at 248-512-4903.  Los Angeles -- Nov. 16, 2011 --  FIAT unveiled the all-new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth at the Los Angeles Auto Show today.  In staying faithful to the racing credentials that made the Abarth name a success in Europe, the new Fiat 500 Abarth brings Italian high-performance to the American market. For more information contact Jiyan Cadiz at 248-512-4903.  Los Angeles -- Nov. 16, 2011 --  Olivier Francois, Head of FIAT Brand Worldwide and Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler Group LLC, unveiled the all-new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth at the Los Angeles Auto Show today.  In staying faithful to the racing credentials that made the Abarth name a success in Europe, the new Fiat 500 Abarth brings Italian high-performance to the American market. For more information contact Jiyan Cadiz at 248-512-4903.  2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 Abarth2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

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