Abarth 500e Scorpionissima EV review: be green!

David Linklater
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Acid Green is one of two colours unique to limited-edition Scorpionissima. Can't miss it.


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  • It's just the cutest thing
  • Genuinely good fun to drive
  • So much more usable than the previous petrol Abarths
  • Reduced range compared to standard 500e
  • No adaptive cruise control
  • Not as wild as the previous petrol Abarths

Much of the Abarth legend is built on outrageous and sometimes quite silly performance-oriented versions of the minuscule Fiat 500. It’s a very different world today from 1958, when Carlo Abarth produced his first tweaked 500, but no reason why this tradition should not continue in the pure-electric automotive age, right?

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima.
Decals also part of the Scorpionissima package.

Enter the Abarth 500e Scorpionissima. It’s a reworked version of the latest 500e, and if you haven’t noticed that it looks outrageous, you might need eye surgery. You might also need eye surgery after you’ve looked at it sans-sunglasses.

Acid Green is one of two colour choices exclusive to the limited-edition 500e Scorpionissima; the other is Poison Blue. Just 1949 examples of the $76,990 Scorpionissima (that’s the last time we’re writing it out in full, just saying) are being produced worldwide and it kicks off the Abarth 500e lineup for NZ. Once that’s run out, we’ll still have the slightly less leery $74,990 Turismo model, in black, white or red.

This special Abarth is really not so different anyway: you get that brace of searing colours, some special decals and a “digital certificate of authenticity”. Just a PDF letter, really.

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima.
Nearly $77k doesn't get you a lot of car. But it does get you a lot of style.

The Abarth does get a thorough rework compared to the standard 500e shopping trolley, though. Power is up from 87kW to 113kW, which is still not a lot and definitely not double the regular version, which is what Carlo Abarth brought to that 1958 model (although that was still only a grand total of 19kW!). The gearing for the single-speed transmission has also been lowered to make the Abarth 500e a lot more perky.

If you haven’t noticed that it looks outrageous, you might need eye surgery. You might also need eye surgery after you’ve looked at it sans-sunglasses.

It all trims two seconds off the 0-100km/h time, which is brisk but not super-quick at 7.0 seconds. But that’s not really what “faster” 500s are about; refer back to that 19kW.

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima.
Standard 5000e is garnished with many touchy feely bits. Nice.

There are three drive modes (Turismo, Scorpion Street and Scorpion Track, ha ha), a sportier chassis of course, lots of Alcantara and lurid bits in the cabin, and a Sound Generator that mimics the noise of a petrol-powered Abarth - both inside and out. The digital audio was apparently created with input from Abarth devotees; got to keep the fans on side.

The overriding impression is that Fiat has tried to make this EV as much like its petrol equivalent to drive as possible.

One downside is that the battery is the same as the standard 500e, which is a modest 42kWh. While the 500e has a range of 320km, that number takes a big hit in Abarth-land: it’s reduced to just 253km under the same WLTP test. Peak charge rate is only 85kW, but let’s face it: it’s not going to take that long to juice up anyway. We got around 220km per charge during our time with the car, and that’s fine for a city attack vehicle.

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima.
Not super-fast, but Abarth 500e keeps you busy on the road. In a good way.

The overriding impression is that Fiat has tried to make this EV as much like its petrol equivalent to drive as possible. It’s not super-fast, but the front wheels tug at the steering with torque steer when you’re darting around town and yes, the Sound Generator really does sound like a petrol Abarth. It’s really loud, especially at idle, with a rumpty beat.

It’s still scrappy rather than smooth, but that’s the Abarth way. And quite deliberate we’d say.

It’s a nice novelty, but has a couple of major drawbacks. You can only activate or deactivate when the car is parked, and inexplicably you have to go into a menu labelled “Display” to find it. It’s fun when you’re on-and-off the throttle around town or even on a winding backroad, but at a constant speed it’s a constant drone and you really want to switch it off. So then you have to stop the car.

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima.
Note the lightning bolt through the scorpion for this electric Abarth. Cute.

We’d love a big button on the dash and the ability to switch it on or off on the move. As it is, you have to think very carefully whether you want it for your entire journey. And because it retains its setting when you switch off the car, you also have to think whether you want to annoy the neighbours when you’re leaving early the next morning.

One advantage of having a tiny battery is that it keeps kerb weight down. The Abarth is still 1400kg, but that’s not bad for an EV and it does contribute to a lively chassis feel on the road. It’s still scrappy rather than smooth, but that’s the Abarth way. And quite deliberate we’d say.

Abarth 500e Scorpionissima.
Yep, it even makes tedious parking buildings fun.

Rivals? Not many. There are small EVs with heritage and sporting aspiration like the Mini Electric and Peugeot e-208, but neither are as agile or cheeky as the Abarth. The closest thing is arguably the Cupra Born, which isn’t as strong on the history but does have some proper chassis chops.

Abarth says the 500e “turns sustainability into performance”, which is kind of silly but fun to say. Sums it up nicely.

BATTERY: 42kWh with single electric motor POWER: 113kW/235Nm GEARBOX: Single-speed, FWD 0-100KM/H: 7.0sec RANGE: 253km (WLTP) PRICE: $76,990

How much is the Abarth 500e Scorpionissima?

The limited-edition Scorpionissima is $76,990, which is a $2k premium over the "standard" (it's still pretty outrageous) Turismo.

What are the key statistics for the Abarth 500e Scorpionissima powertrain?

Same 42kWh battery as the standard Fiat 500e, but with more power (113kW/235Nm) and altered gearing. It's two seconds quicker to 100km/h.

Is the Abarth 500e Scorpionissima efficient?

It's a lot heavier on the electric juice than the standard 500e, losing nearly 70km range: the WLTP figure is just 253Km.

Is the Abarth 500e Scorpionissima good to drive?

It's a hoot and does a pretty decent job of replicating the scrappy, eager handling experience of a petrol-powered Abarth 500 - right down to a Sound Generator that's hilariously loud and works both inside and outside the car. 

Is the Abarth 500e Scorpionissima practical?

No less so than a standard Fiat 500e, but it's still tiny. The rear seats are for children only and the boot is a microscopic 185 litres. 

What do we like about the Abarth 500e Scorpionissima?

It's quite unique in EV world, undeniably cute-looking and incredible cheeky to drive. Turn the drive modes down and the sound off and it's also a pretty (not completely) relaxed city commuter.

What don’t we like about the Abarth 500e Scorpionissima?

You need to keep a close eye on the range and it doesn't charge that fast, you can't turn the Sound Generator on or off while you're the move and it's hard to accept that a $77k EV doesn't have adaptive cruise control.

What kind of person would the Abarth 500e Scorpionissima suit?

It's trying really hard to appeal to fans of the petrol Abarths. But it also makes EV driving a lot of fun and let's face it, it could sell on looks alone.


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