Davenport Run - Saturday July 13, 2024

Join the Norcal Minis club for an epic drive from San Jose through the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains! Enjoy stunning vistas and wine tasting a...

MotoringFile Pits Fiat 500 Abarth Against MINI JCW Coupe

MotoringFile concludes the vehicles compare rather well:
The Fiat 500 Abarth is a car that charms and disappoints, all while it plasters a ridiculous smile across your face. Every day I had the Abarth that smile grew. How does it compare with a week in the JCW Coupe? Quite well, actually. The Abarth is a lesser car in every way. Yet its driving experience feels both irreverent (isn’t that MINI’s word?) and undeniably fun. It’s a car that is dripping with character, so you can’t help but forgive a few of its more glaring faults.

The JCW Coupe, on the other hand, can do smooth, fast and/or ragged on the edge in the blink of an eye. It runs rings around the Abarth without breaking a sweat. But sometimes breaking a sweat just to keep is just the experience we need. The Abarth is about throwing out any notions of being serious behind the wheel and just finding a corner to bend into or a straight to open up on — if only to hear that exhaust note again.

What would I have given my choice? With $9,000 price difference, the Abarth makes a good case for itself. However, the reality is that the standard Cooper S Hardtop could run similar rings around the Abarth. The JCW just widens the gap even further in performance, quality, and all while being just about as fuel-efficient.

The JCW Coupe will always be the better car, but it’s the smartly-optioned Cooper S that remains the sweet spot of the MINI range. It not only stacks up well against the Abarth, but it trounces it all the same ways the JCW does. It also manages to do so while keeping the extra $10k in your pocket.

In the end, the Abarth is everything we hoped it would be and is certainly worth a look. It’s just not quite the car the MINI Cooper S, or JCW is.