Abarth Turns Professional
- 01 April 2011
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Abarth are a tuning company that are known for making the humble Fiat 500 go like a scalded cat, they’ve worked on other Fiat’s too turning normal cars into deranged lunatics. Now they have gone completely round the bend deciding to turn a big Ducato into a performance van.
There have been a few fast vans in the past but they are usually stripped out or lacking in the one thing that makes them a van; space.
Not so with the Ducato inside there’s a Sabelt driver’s seat, an Abarth steering wheel, an Abarth gearknob and aluminium pedals, while rear also has a specially recessed floor to prevent loads moving about during high-performance manoeuvres. Options include Fast-Lane Assist, which warns the driver if they try to move the van from the overtaking lane, and Radar-Controlled Cruise Control which is re-calibrated to maintain a safe distance of 8cm from the car in front. A new “Red Light Assist” system is also being available, which will automatically applies maximum acceleration if it senses an unfavourable change of traffic lights is about to occur, while the new ‘Blind Spot Enhancement” system operates by making the side windows of the Abarth Ducato Maxi complete opaque, making it easier for drivers to completely tune out their surroundings.
Naturally, performance has also been tweaked. The Abarth Ducato Maxi uses a tweaked version of the Fiat Professional’s 2.3-litre turbo-diesel, which now produces 220hp and more than 400Nm of torque. The suspension has also been uprated to cope with the added performance and grip and while the payload is reduced slightly from the standard 1,485kg Abarth is confident that most operators will appreciate ability to offer swifter deliveries. The brakes have not been changed and they’re unlikely to be used much anyway.
The Abarth Ducato Maxi goes on sale across Europe shortly and will soon be followed by the Abarth Scudo, Abarth Doblo and Abarth Fiorino, creating a full Abarth Professional line-up.
We’ll be queueing up for a test drive of the tuned vans, laughing at the fools who bought an estate as we overtake them in a van!