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2011 Abarth 500 1.4 16V T-Jet 3Dr £11,995

If you like your cars to be small but fiery, you shouldn’t let this one pass you by. Our friends at Fiat Cheltenham, who are part of the Bristol Street Motors chain of dealers, offer it for sale in our classifieds.

Abarth has a proud past concerned with taking ordinary Fiats and making them special. After years where it pretty much disappeared, the marque’s benefited from something of a rebirth. Fiat has made it a standalone-brand: the keen-eyed among you will notice that its cars now bear no Fiat badges – anywhere.

Instead, Abarth ‘Scorpion’ badges pop up everywhere (‘Scorpio’ was founder Carlo Abarth’s Zodiac sign). You’d never term it as ‘subtle’, but some of the add-ons over a standard 500 have a purpose, at least. Its wider, lower front is to accommodate the turbo-charged 1.4 motor, while the two-branched exhaust is fully functional: on some other, even quite upscale, performance cars, the extra exit pipes are fakes.

Abarth 500 dash

This one musters 140bhp, which is more than enough to propel such a small car quickly. But it’s possible with a change of air filter and tweaks to the car’s engine management to summon 160bhp or more from within.

As it is, it’ll take you to 60mph while still in second gear and reel in the horizon so long as you keep the throttle pushed down hard. The ride is firm to the point of being crashy, worse than that of other cars save the most focused of performance hatchbacks. Steering is pinpoint accurate, while pushing the ‘Sport’ button on the dash adds more weight to it (while also sharpening the throttle’s response).

Inside, it’s all very boy/girl racer: big one-piece front seats that’ll pinch you around the middle if you’re at all fat, and a dash with rubberised highlights offset by a bold red stripe that also crossed the seat upholstery. The rear seats are small and getting past the front pair and to them is possible only for the skinny and agile. They do, at least drop their backs to add more luggage space.

This one is fairly priced, given that it has covered just 8000 miles and is from a main dealer. We’re sorely tempted.

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