Why Your Neighbors Will Hate the Fiat 500 Abarth

In the search for power and a nice exhaust sound, I’ve installed aftermarket exhausts on my cars that attracted unwanted attention. My neighbors tipped off the police, leaving me with a $75 noise violation ticket. Thanks again, jerks. Fiat’s turbocharged, 160-horsepower 500 Abarth may not be as rowdy as my Trans Am, but its loud exhaust has enough volume that I’m being extra nice to the neighbors this week.

A few of our editors noted the exhaust’s tone isn’t particularly pleasant sounding, either. Comparisons ranged from a rusty Honda Civic with an unnecessarily large chrome muffler, to a diesel truck because the turbocharger’s whistling howls through the exhaust.

The exhaust pops, spits and gargles. One extra-loud pop caught me off guard, and I ducked in the driver’s seat. I took a friend for a ride who previously owned a Dodge SRT4 – you know, the Neon – and he was super excited because the exhaust sounded almost identical his old car. The SRT4 came from the factory sans mufflers; the Fiat has a similar low-pitched rumble.

The Abarth’s muffler is designed for minimal exhaust gas restriction and maximum power — in other words, it’s loud. Even from the factory, loud exhausts aren’t uncommon for sports cars. Cars like the Audi TT RS and the Chevrolet Corvette have available exhaust systems that can change the tone and volume through mechanical valves and flaps triggered by a Sport mode or specified engine load. The result is quiet at low speeds and cruising, and loud when the skinny pedal goes down.

The difference here is the 500 Abarth is loud all the time. The exhaust does quiet down at highway speeds, however, and it doesn’t cause a lot of drone cruising at 60 mph, which is common of many aftermarket systems or straight pipes. It doesn’t sound nearly as offensive at wide open throttle as it does starting up or cruising through a parking lot.

Even so, you’ll be heard before you’re seen driving the 500 Abarth. Get the baked goods and casseroles ready for the neighbors.

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth Review
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By Joe Bruzek | May 18, 2012 | Comments (23)



"My neighbors tipped off the police, leaving me with a $75 noise violation ticket. Thanks again, jerks."

You're the jerk as based on your statement it's obvious it's not the first time they've had noise issues with you.

neon ftw

nope, you sir are the jerk, this is america and if he wants to have loud exhaust, than the old farts next door need to wear ear plugs and get over it. damn nimbys


Another issue I've seen is that the minute someone gets behind the wheel of one of these things they drive like they are Rome, no signals, hopping from lane to lane, cutting people off. Seems like this thing brings out the worst in people.

Really, we all have the right to be asshats and make excessive noise?

As a Libertarian I know that my rights to make noise only extend so far as to not impinge on others rights to a peaceful living environment.


Sounds good to me!

Anonymous Coward

You have noise restrictions where you live and the police actually enforce them? I wish I lived there.

I hear tons of motorcycles and diesel pickups with straight pipes--those people are jerks.


I love how the comments have pretty much NOTHING to do with the main idea of the article...

I hear the diesel truck sound in the video. Definitely not my cup of tea!

The video doesn't even do it justice. I'd write myself a ticket.

Mles Beckert

Woah... Cars.com really really has something against the 500 Abarth.. I mean, it is about the only site that keeps on bashing on it. Wake up, this is a a niche car that is affordable and the most fun since the 2002 Mini Cooper S or 83 GTI. Why not say thank you FIAT and please give us more fun stuff. Why this consistant wining about this and that. All this wining and complaining is louder than the wonderful Abarth's exhaust. Thank you Fiat. Thank you Chrysler. I love the sound everytime I see one.

@Mles Beckert,

You read my mind. As someone who has ordered an Abarth and is anxiously waiting for it to arrive, I have read and watched nearly every review. All of them from Cars.com have been negative, when everyone else seems to really enjoy it.

I get that the car isn't for everyone, but consider the target market and try to understand what may push you away may draw them in.

Ste (The Original S.G.)

I'm with Mles Beckert and HundredYardHero on this one.

You say the SRT4 came sans mufflers stock. Well the Abarth does also, it's basically a straight pipe. I personally like the noise this little monster makes and it's what this car is about. Being brash. Then again, I'm from Virginia Beach and there are jets literally flying over right now. So I may just be acustomed to the wonderful sounds of powerful engines.


"nope, you sir are the jerk, this is america and if he wants to have loud exhaust, than the old farts next door need to wear ear plugs and get over it..."

Ok kitten whatever you say.

Mr. Social Stauss

OK, this is the most classless car ever made. At least the Geo Metro knew not to take its- self seriously. This is a perfect mix between a lawn mower and baby stroller. In other words this car is a glorified riding mower and this exhaust note heard in the article supra confirms my feelings.

I was born in a tenement

umm, i assume the video didn't capture the true essence of sound.

that sounded great to me, and i hate honda civic aftermarket shztz.

this car sounds beautiful, and yes good on them for sculpting the american concept of fast cars.

I don't understand the love affair with noise: it's obnoxious, stress-inducing and says you don't give a damn about who's around you.


After hearing the exhaust on the video...not impressed. That could get annoying real quick!


Don't worry too much about the noise, people. It's a Fiat. It won't be on the road much.

Brutus Maximus

Sounds heavenly to me--the needed antidote to the current crop of bland transportation appliances.


"My neighbors tipped off the police, leaving me with a $75 noise violation ticket. Thanks again, jerks."

Pfft - that's nothing. I tipped off the cops about my noisy neighbor and he got a $600 ticket. Jerk used to wake the entire street at 2am.


It's an automobile, not a $23,000 Groan Tube. It's suited for taking you places. It has wheels and a transmission. If all you want is something expensive with a hole that makes a lot of noise then have a kid. Then, maybe one day when you teach her/him to drive, you might remember what a car's purpose is and start using it responsibly again.


One of the reasons I love the Abarth. You either get it or you don't. Let the haters hate if it makes them feel better, the angry little Cinquecento isn't for everyone. For those who understand the essence of the Abarth, it's truly a sublime car.

A blast to drive yet offers good fuel economy (when your foot's not in it of course), a small footprint but more roomy inside than you would think.

@fred: Not all of us drive like hoons in a car like this...easy on the stereotypes. ( ;


Seriously? Since when does hearing a turbo through an exhaust not sound good? Cars.com get off your high car (bad pun? too soon?) and grow a pair. This thing sounds pretty awesome considering that it comes like this from the factory without requiring any modifications or tuning in order to sound like this.

Good thing my neighbors are good sports about my A-barth. I always feel bad at 6am when she fires up all cold and loud with the turbo whistle. At least I roll out slow. All the neighborhood kids know when I'm home. I got the loud Fiat, one kid even got a hotwheels car to match.

So, to each his/her own. But at the end of the day, I have had more complements on the Abarth in 6 months then all my other cars I've owned.

Some people are just haters.



There's nothing wrong with a car having a nice sounding exhaust. Take the current Mustang GT. That exhaust sounds fantastic. Ford did a wonderful job tuning it.

BUT. That doesn't mean you should hop on it early in the morning or very late at night. It's common courtesy to your neighbors.

AND. Maybe I'm getting old but burbling 4 cylinder econo-sports with fart cans, factory or aftermarket, do not sound good. PERIOD.

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