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Is the Electric Fiat Abarth 500e Fake ‘60s’ Exhaust Sound Really That Bad?

The electric Fiat might just be a silly enough car to pull it off.

I like the Fiat Abarth 500e fake ’60s exhaust sound. I said it. I’m fully aware that fake engine sounds in electric vehicles are lame and I can get kicked out of the car enthusiast club for admitting to liking one but I don’t care. OK, I’ll admit that it’s silly and completely ridiculous and, in most cars, I’d normally agree that it’s lame. However, in a car as silly and lighthearted as the Fiat Abarth 500e, it actually makes sense.

When Fiat first unveiled the Abarth 500e—the performance version of the normal electric 500e—the Italians stirred the enthusiast pot by claiming that an external sound generator would recreate the exhaust noise of a classic Abarth engine. So despite being entirely electric, you can “rev” it up while at a standstill and make some ’60s Italian four-cylinder noises. Admittedly, that sounds dumb at first. Who is it supposed to be fooling? However, after hearing it in this clip from jim on Twitter, not only does it not sound bad but it actually matches the inherent silliness of the car itself.

The Fiat Abarth 500e is not a car you’re supposed to take too seriously. It’s a sporty electric hatchback the size of a shoe with adorably retro Italian styling. No one drives one because they want to look cool, they drive it because they want a bit of a laugh from their eco-friendly daily driver. And fake-revving your electric Fiat’s non-engine at your fellow Italians while you’re off to get your morning espresso seems fun. I don’t make the rules.

There could be customizable options later down the line, too. Since it’s just a speaker that makes the noise, new exhaust notes could be added in the future, potentially via over-the-air updates.

In more serious sports cars, this doesn’t work. BMW’s Hans Zimmer-tuned spaceship noises are fun for a few minutes but the novelty wears off quickly. Maserati’s trick combination of old-school V8 soundtrack and electric motor whine is technically interesting in theory but doesn’t work all that well in practice. And Dodge’s extra-loud fake muscle car sound is eye-roll-inducing. Almost all such systems are lame. But because the Fiat Abarth 500e is such an inherently fun, lighthearted car to begin with, it actually kind of works.

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