“Good things come in small packages” they say and with the vast majority of cars being so much bigger then their predecessors, you have to argue how accurate that quote is. I mean just look at the new Mini… It’s not exactly very, well, Mini is it? Todays Fiat 500 may be bigger than the original pint sized peoples car of the 50’s, but it is still one of the few machines that takes its supermini title to heart. In 2007 the Abarth brand was reborn and it wasn’t long before Fiat set it to work on the little 500. The model was a big success, but today we haven’t got the keys to any old 500 Abarth, this is the Fiat 500 Abarth 595 Competizione.
Looking like a 500 hellbent on some form of revenge, its swollen bumpers an two-tone paint scheme is the automotive equivalent of a dog showing its teeth as a warning. Except this dog is a tiny Jack Russell. The question is, is this a case of this cars bark being worse than its bight or can the Abarth punch above its weight?
The 595 Competizione packs a potent 158BHP produced by its 1.4 litre turbocharged engine. Thanks to that turbo, 230Nm of torque is also on offer from 3,000rpm. The 0-62MPH dash is done and dusted in just 7.4 seconds and this little fighter will keep going to 130MPH.
Inside, the Fiat 500 Abarth 595 Competizione is dominated by two huge black and red Sabelt racing seats. They consume occupants with huge bolsters supporting your chest and thighs. Its thick steering wheel displays the scorpion that has donated its venom to this car. A prominent turbo boost gauge is joined by a fantastic ball bearing gearstick to complete the race inspired look. Space for rear passengers is limited, but who wants to sit in the back when the fuse to this pocket rocket is about to be lit?
Turn the key and a brilliantly childish exhaust note crescendos before levelling out into a deep burble. The first time you hear it you question weather such a fantastically dirty noise came from a car that started life as a Fiat. In motion the Fiat 500 Abarth 595 Competizione proves to be a very performance focused product. Some comfort is sacrificed in order to have a stiffer suspension setup. On a bumpy surface you do find yourself being jiggled around like something that has been left on top of the tumble dryer. However, what you loose in refinement you gain in handling. Spitting and popping as you heel and toe down through the gears, this little monster charges into corners with a joyful amount of enthusiasm. There is very little body roll. In sport mode the TTC (Torque Transfer Control) brakes the inside wheel effectively enabling the car to rotate around the corner in a much sharper manner. Its so small and agile that it really does feel like a go-kart on steroids. The steering is quick but feels a bit inconsistent in weight at times. Straighten the car up and put the pedal to the metal and the 500 leaps back into action upon corner exit with all of the excitement it entered. Keep the revs high and the turbo will always be there for you adding a healthy dose of power as well as a dramatic amount of induction noise.
This Fiat 500 Abarth 595 Competizionecame to £21,345 with its options. We loved the eagerness of this little car and can’t wait to get back into the drivers seat to bring you a full review.