Though there is a lot going on under the hood of the Fiat 500 Abarth, it’s not always easy to see because it’s one of the most tightly packed engine bays you will find. But what’s here is a 1.4 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that comes with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed
automatic transmission.

It offers up 160 horsepower and 170 pound feet of torque with the manual or 157 horsepower and 183 pound feet of torque with the auto. Premium unleaded fuel is recommended but not required as it can run on both.

As our Stateside Fiat 500 is built in Mexico, this engine is built in Dundee, Michigan. It has an iron block with an aluminum base plate and head. Inside it has a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods to handle its high tune with some longevity.

Following the airflow, the intake charge starts up front behind the grille and goes into an integrated air filter on top of the engine see here with a bright red cover. It then travels down to the turbocharger which is mounted right up front in plain sight. You can not only see it but burn your hands on it.

The air then travels to a complex routing of tubes to two separate inter-coolers, one mounted behind an air inlet on either side of the front fascia. It seems a lot of hardware, but necessary for the tight packaging.

Multi-port fuel injection and a 9.8:1 compression ratio fire the cylinders while an innovative intake valve system called MultiAir allows for a variable intake charge. Solenoid controlled hydraulic pressure is used to vary the intake valve lift to allow for precise tuning throughout the rev range.

Servicing the Fiat 500 Abarth yourself will be a little bit more challenging than some vehicles. Because of the tightly packed engine bay, the oil filter for instance is down below and will require a special tool and some patience to get at.

The air filter on top of the engine is easy to access, but requires tools in removing the cover to replace it. The rest of the maintenance routine is straightforward however with fluids in plain sight and easy reach.

Engine coolant and windshield washer fluid are on the passenger side. The battery and the main fuse panel are ahead of the driver. The brake fluid reservoir will require a long narrow funnel to top off and checking will require some patience.