Fiat considering 500X Abarth

The Abarth-tuned 500X could go on sale in early 2017.

Fiat is debating whether to introduce a performance-focused version of the 500X crossover tuned by Abarth.

Currently, the 500X's most powerful engine is a Chrysler-sourced 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder that makes 180 horsepower and 174 lb-ft. of torque. Rumors indicate the Abarth-tuned model will use an evolution of the base 500X's turbocharged 1.4-liter four-banger tuned to make at least 200 horsepower. The extra grunt will be complemented by a lowered suspension and a more aggressive-looking body kit.

The 500X is on Abarth's wish list, but sources close to the company stress that it hasn't been approved for production yet. What's certain is that the company's next model will be a hot-rodded version of the Mazda Miata-based 124 Spider that made its public debut last month at the Los Angeles Motor Show. Tentatively scheduled to bow in Geneva next March, the Abarth 124 Spider will use the same 200-horsepower 1.4-liter four that's being considered for the 500X.

Interestingly, trade journal Automotive News believes the 124 Spider will spearhead Abarth's return to World Rally Championship (WRC) racing after a decades-long hiatus.

Abarth is on track to sell approximately 10,000 cars this year, a surprising figure considering its lineup is made up exclusively of 500 off-shoots. The car maker hopes that launching new models and opening up 450 dealerships worldwide will allow it to keep growing.

Note: Fiat 500X Chicane concept pictured.

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