Abarth 595 Competizione & Turismo, tiny hot hatch – EFTM

Abarth 595 Competizione & Turismo, tiny hot hatch

Love a hot hatch?  The Fiat 500 is an underwhelming and rather cramped space to be in, but when you add the Abarth performance and trim it transforms into...

Love a hot hatch?  The Fiat 500 is an underwhelming and rather cramped space to be in, but when you add the Abarth performance and trim it transforms into something that will put a smile on your dial and well worth a look.

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The 10 Minute test drive

IMG_1903If you haven’t yet driven the Fiat 500 and you’re planning to jump into the Abarth 595, be warned, this is a very small car.   It’s the first and most notable thing about the car, gives it the stunning looks and stance on the road, and also could be the make or break for you in terms of buying this little beast.

IMG_2133As a daily driver, you’re going to want to have some fun roads in front of you to get some joy from it, but as a weekend fun pack for the odd fang or mountain drive this is almost ideal.

You’ll feel most comfortable when the car is in motion with both hands on the wheel changing through the gears.  It’s then you can ignore the space restrictions and just enjoy this for what it is – a hot-hatch.

The Competizione comes with a dual-mode exhaust system which must be the thing which gives this a unique sound.  Not even the Turismo with the same engine has the bubbling sound of the Competizione and that really does add to the experience.

Be sure to include some roundabouts and decent stretches of road in your road-test to ensure you really know what this thing can do.

Ins and Outs

With 118kW of power, compared to the miserable 51 of the standard 500 this thing has a lot of get-up and go.  230Nm of torque and 0-100 in 7.4 and a top speed of 210km/h there’s a lot of fun to be had.  Fortunately that fun comes at almost all speeds, especially on the twisty roads.

It’s a complete pocket rocket, sitting low to the ground with a decent bit of power you’ve got go-kart like fun ahead of you.

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I drove it on the Galston Gorge Road this weekend just gone and was not disappointed.

IMG_1919Inside, despite the small size – the front cup-holders are placed out of easy reach and lack the depth to give an open bottle of drink any security, while the Bluetooth phone pairing system can only be operated by voice commands and lacks audio streaming support.  With what appears to a comprehensive system it seems somewhat cobbled together, but once you’re settled and have a cable for your iPhone instead of relying on Bluetooth you’ll be happy.

Out the back you’ve got a cute rear design, but sadly lacking in space.

I returned from overseas and was unable to fit my one bag in, and because it’s a three door – even tilting the passenger seat forward didn’t make life as easy as it should have been to throw the bag in the back seat.

Likewise putting a child seat in, I had to put the rear seats down (folded) and put the child seat in via the boot and then fold them back up.

All this means is that you have to know you’re getting into something that is made to be a fun driver not a practical run-about for annoying city traffic.

COMPETIZIONE STANDARD EQUIPMENT

  • 5 speed manual
  • Fabric Abarth Corsa by Sabelt® seats in Titanium Grey/li>
  • Abarth diamond-finish 5-spoke 17″ alloy wheels with anthracite background and 205/40 R17 tyres (late availability)
  • Halogen headlights
  • Dual Mode “Record Monza” exhaust system
  • Cross drilled and self-ventilating front brake discs with red brake calipers
  • Automatic climate control
  • Koni front suspension with FSD technology
  • 7-inch TFT colour display
  • Tinted rear window and rear door windows
  • CD+MP3 radio with steering wheel controls, 4 x 40 W speakers, 2 x 30 W tweeters
  • Blue&Me™ hands-free system with USB port, Bluetooth and steering wheel controls
  • Abarth grey titanium door sticker
  • Aluminium pedals, footrest and carbon fiber kick-plate
  • Aluminium gear knob
  • Aluminium fuel and oil cap
  • 595 carpet set with aluminium insert

TURISMO MAIN STANDARD EQUIPMENT

  • 5 speed manual
  • Abarth Leather seats
  • Abarth diamond-finish 10-spoke 17″ alloy wheels with 205/40 R17 tyres (late availability)
  • Halogen headlights
  • Cross drilled and self-ventilating front brake discs with red brake calipers
  • Koni front suspension with FSD technology
  • Air conditioning
  • 7-inch TFT colour display
  • Tinted rear window and rear door windows
  • CD+MP3 radio with steering wheel controls, 4 x 40 W speakers, 2 x 30 W tweeters
  • Blue&Me™ hands-free system with USB port, Bluetooth and steering wheel controls
  • Alutex pedals, footrest and kick-plate
  • Alutex gear knob (manual only)
  • Aluminium fuel and oil cap
  • 595 carpet set with aluminium insert

Hip Pocket

The standard Fiat 500 starts around the $17,000 mark, which puts it within consideration of Mazda 2 buyers and the like who are looking for something a bit more unique.

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If you’re a hot-hatch fan you’re going to want to compare it to the class-leading VW Golf GTI which will cost you a good $46k, and while the Abarth 595 comes in under that ($39,000 or $41,000 depending on variant plus any extras) the size alone is a huge compromise.

But perhaps the Golf is just not unique enough any more?  For that kind of money don’t you want something that stands out in the crowd?  The Abarth is for you.

Bragging Rights

IMG_2126This thing looks the part, its got a fantastic front and rear end design which hark back to the original 500’s, and the addition of the “crab” logo as my 3-year-old son Harri calls it gives the Abarth a nice unique touch, the Turismo features a two-tone paint scheme to really deliver on the need for something unique.

Fire it up and the sound is great, plus the simple and precise handling make it more than just a fun drive.

EFTM Rubber Stamp

It’s an interesting proposition really – the Abarth 595 alone is a great car, and probably a pass.  But when you compare this to the base model 500 you really start to see why the Abarth 595 is a Credit in every way.  Not many “performance variants” of any vehicle really stand alone from their base model counterpart, the 595 is a real jump up and that’s how it earns the EFTM Credit rubber stamp.

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Motoring

Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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