Well, quite simply, I’d had enough of this stupid BMW breaking down. It seems everytime I fixed something (at a usually stratophic cost), something else would break. This car has been more unreliable than my DSM!
The final straw was when I got rear-ended at the beguining of March. It initially didn’t look too bad, and no one was hurt…but after getting it into the body shop, the ugly truth came out – there was 5.5 grand of damnage, and the body shop took 2.5 weeks to repair the car fully. Knowing there was frame damnage, and that there would surly be more unreliablily in the near future, I decided it was best to dump this POS and get something new. 3 days before I had the Bimmer back from the body shop, I took a trip to the local Fiat dealer and placed a custom-order 🙂
Now for why I picked this car, rewind back to last fall, and my friend Alex picked up a ’13 Abarth to replace his rotted-to-shit mk3 gti. After hooning around my town for a bit in Alex’s car, I knew it was what I wanted one day…never did I expect that day would be so soon!
Anyhow, the day I got the Bimmer back from the body shop, it was posted to CL. It sold within a week, and I got what I was asking for it. I also (with sadness and minor regrets) said goodbye to my beloved Talon drag car to help finance the Fiat…(err, Fiat Mods*)
After 9 weeks (to the day!) of waiting, tracking, hoping, getting pissed at rail companies over delays, and having several nervous breakdowns, my baby finally arrived!
So…What do I think of this little cute mouse with 160HP? It’s nuts!
Wait, did I say 160HP? Oh yeah, I have Madness Autoworks’s Stage I Package…meaning 185HP and 195ft-lbs of torque AT THE WHEELS! In a car the size of a shoe, it’s fucking mental! I mean, it’s not like the Talon was, which could blow all 4 drag slicks loose if you punch it in any gear; but for a daily driver with AC, confortable seats, etc., plus 30+mpg? It can’t be beat AFAIK.
Now for the nit-pick stuff other people have, and my thoughts on those things.
The seating position takes some getting used to – even for a guy who’d been daily-driving a 10 second drag car for several weeks, it took getting used to. It’s not a bad position, but it takes getting used to.
The clutch bite point is in the middle of no where…like the clutch traval is about an inch…off the TOP of the pedal stroke! lol. This is REALLY awkward for me as I was used to the Talon’s (and my long-gone Volvo S70 T5 for that matter) which both engaged an inch off the floor. It’s especially weird with hill-start assist on. If anyone reading this buys an Abarth (or manual-transmission Fiat 500 in-general), I recommend the first thing you do is go into the EVIC and kill HSA until you can practice hill starts with it enabled in a safe/closed environment. I lost count of how many times I rolled back because I failed to realize I was on a slight hill. The wonky clutch bite point makes this even worse since i often find myself revving up the engine with the clutch in no-where-land, only to have HSA drop out and me roll back I’ve so-far found it much easier to put the clutch half-way for anything past 1st instead of all the way. No grinding that I can sense, and the shifts are much smoother.
The shifter throw is nice, but could definitely use a short shifter.
The audio system is quite decent for a factory setup. The Beats (Kenwood OEM AFAIK) speakers & amps are reasonably pleasant for my mix of glitchstep and the like. It read my 32GB flash drive without any issues.
The engine is…well, nuts. 185WHP in a car this small, with FWD is just bonkers.
Throttle lag is pretty much non-existent…I mean, there’s a TINY bit, but compared to my E46, which I’m quite sure was transmitting the throttle commands using a Bell 101 dial-up modem; the Abarth has no noticeable lag that I can tell. I do have a Madness GoPedal ETC Remapper, but it’s almost always off since it feels too jumpy on. Perhaps if I did more highway driving or track days it’d be good…it’s useless for city driving though.
In sport mode, the steering feels less tight as my E46, which is nice (always hated the rock-hard steering in that car). Normal mode is a bit softer, but still fine. I wish I could get the crisp throttle response and added power of sport mode without the added steering weight, but unless someone hacks the shit out of the CAN bus, it’s not happening….(hint hint… 🙂
The ride comfort is great – much better than the E46. Still not as great as the Volvo wagon; but not far off! Even with an uprated torsion bar, Koni suspension, tons of chassis braces, and lowering springs, it’s still reasonable…much better than the Talon.
Now for my complaints.
WTF is up with no HID headlights on US models? wtf year is this? 2014, or 1914? srsly lol. The Euro models get them, why don’t we? Oh well, $300 to 500Madness.com fixes that, plus my 8000K HID fogs jacked from the E46 do just fine.
Lack of a rear-view camera is a bitch…luckily, cheap aftermarket ones are a plenty on Chinabay. I’ll get around to installing this at some point…maybe lol
The back seats…why bother? First thing I did interior-wise was ditch them with a delete kit. Anyone bigger than a quadradplegic midget won’t fit. Trust me on this one – just get rid of them and gain some cargo space.
The RC car antenna also need to hit the bin. I got the CravenSpeed stubby antenna in black. It looks good and still allows the radio to work, which is nice since I’ll sometimes throw it on to hear traffic reports in the morning.
So yeah, that’s about it for now. I kinda missed posting this right away – I ordered the car April 5th and took delivery June 5th. It’s now July 26th…oops. Still, better late than never!