Test Drive : Abarth 595 Competizione
As most motor enthusiasts will agree, the roar of an engine stirs emotions and instills a feeling of power and the Abarth 595 Competizione certainly awakens those emotions. Upon the day of review, I could hear the bumble bee attired 595 (Modena body colour and black pack) arrive before I could see it and instantly I knew the exhilaration that would follow.
At first glance, the 595 looks like the big brother of the Fiat 500; holding its muscly, sport infused stature whilst retaining delicate Italian flair. However, you’d be a fool if you think that the Abarth 595 is just the ‘slightly more technical, more expensive Fiat 500’, it’s a lot more than that. The attention to detail throughout the aesthetics is an initial indication before you even put the key into the ignition. From the ‘hidden’ ABARTH detailing on the honeycomb front grill, to the branding of the door panel and the clutch and brake pedals, the design team have thought out subtle yet frequent reminders that this is far from a ‘city’ car.
The curvaceous lines of the 595 shell are enhanced with sporty features, with the interior no different. The fabric Corsa racing style seats provide a firm yet supportive and comfortable fit for short journeys as you prepare to enjoy the power from beneath the hood. One thing that did catch me out was the lack of space between the seat and door to adjust your seat once the door is shut, however once the chair is positioned correctly there’s little need to adjust again.
Sitting at your main focus is the steering wheel which combines leather, Alcantara and carbon fibre to provide a comfortable yet sturdy grip to accompany the stiff suspension and “rough” ride. With accents of black gloss and centered with the distinctive red and yellow Abarth badge, this steering wheel holds the promise of a punchy drive, and it definitely gave the expected results.
For a relatively compact and ‘city’ like model, the Abarth 595 Competizione adapted well to all of my journeys. From country lanes to motorways and inner city traffic, the 595 delivered but admittedly on an open road it performs at its best and displays its core racing behaviour. Unlike some of it’s competitors the 595 turns in smoothly, resisting understeer and results in a controlled motion but this isn’t the icing on the cake. That would be the acceleration. Racing from 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds (partially thanks to the 180bhp), the 1.4L four cylinder turbo-charged engine is breathtaking, especially considering the smooth drivability that the 595 provides. Gear shifting use the H-pattern manual gearbox was a pure thrill at speed and although an automatic gearbox is also an option, I feel it would take away from the fun of the 595.
The assertive noise element is one that cannot be missed from my review, when I said I could hear it before I saw it, it was no exaggeration, this compact powerhouse isn’t one that wishes to be ignored. If you’re looking for a discrete model, the Abarth is not for you. But for all of the rest of us who, whether it be openly or secretly, love the roar of an engine the 595 does not disappoint.
Combining its exuberant appearance and its racy demeanour, the Abarth shows its renewed sense of youth and spirit with its commitment to technology. Located in the centre console is the UConnect 5″ touchscreen with DAB radio (a must for all new models) and smartphone connectivity from the steering wheel ensuring that although the clear focus has been on the drive, that the other factors have not been forgotten.
It may not float like a butterfly, but it definitely stings like a bee. The Abarth 595 Competizione packs a punch or two, leaving you exhilarated waiting for the next drive. Bursting with racing infused passion and grit, this hot hatch is the one for you if you’re looking for something that adds a teasing bite to your drive.
The important bits
Model type – Abarth 595 Competizione , 1.4L Turbo
Cost – £20,290
Acceleration – 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds
Luxury Rating – 8/10