It’s only been a few short months since Abarth released the Abarth 124 Spider, and now Abarth is releasing its next, entry-level model – the 595. Much like how the 124 Spider is essentially a cooler Mazda MX-5 Miata, the 595 is basically a Fiat 500 on steroids. As Abarth put it, the new Abarth 595 is the “natural heir of the model launched in 2008 and present worldwide.” It is available as a hatchback or convertible and will be available in three different trim levels. The entry level model is, of course, the base 595, which is followed by the 595 Turismo, and the range-topping 595 Competizione. Each trim level has its own power specification, and is influenced by the knowledge Abarth gained with the development of the 695 Biposto, AKA “The Smallest Supercar.”
Abarth models typically take a little bit of criticism – I don’t know how many times I saw people talk bad about the 124 spider because it’s so similar to the MX-5 Miata – but Abarth models are typically more than badge-engineered replicas. So, as you read the review that follows, keep that in mind, because there is a real difference. So, let’s take a look at the 595 and what each trim level brings to the table. It’s not a model you want to pass up if you’re looking for a small car with some performance DNA.
DESIGN AND STYLE ;
You can’t get away with the kind of attention the Abarth 595 gets on Indian roads. The exquisite Italian styling makes it stand out of the crowd while the tiny size further grabs eyeballs. I personally like the Cordolo Red colour on this hot hatch that we drove at the BIC race track. This greyish white paint job doesn’t go well with the funky character of this machine. The Abarthified sporty additions over the regular Fiat 500 include extended bumpers with wider airdams, low side skirts, rear diffuser, dual exhaust, massive 17-inch alloys and of course the Scorpion badges all around.
CABIN AND COMFORT ;
Cabin styling has been done elegantly, a raft of comfort features have been equipped inside for the convenience of the occupants. Among various comfort features inset inside, an audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, steering mounted controls, music system with six-speakers, automatic climate control and Sport seats are included. The instrument cluster is an all digital entity. A boost pressure gauge and shift indicator have been positioned slightly high on the dashboard. The dark colour theme embraced inside highlighted by contrast colour hand stitching and 595 embossed on front seats looks sporty. All chrome inside door handles appears plush. Steering wheel features hint of chrome along with the signature scorpion badge.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;
There is some substance behind all the show of course – the Competizione packs a 1,368cc T-Jet motor with a meaty 158bhp on tap. This in a 1,155kg car means a power-to-weight ratio of 136.79bhp per tonne. To put that in perspective, it is not too far off from the Mini Cooper S’s 145.96bhp per tonne. But that’s all on paper. From behind the wheel, I can’t help but smile at the engine’s mushy earnestness. This turbocharged motor has some lag, but it is driveable even at low RPMs. It really gets down to business when you cross the 2,500rpm mark, and from there on, it will rev to its 6,500rpm limiter with a steely resolve. The engine even makes a tinny, race car-like rattle as it nears the rev limiter. The exhaust note, although throaty at low speeds, is drowned out by road and wind noise at higher speeds. Sharper response to throttle inputs and more ratios to choose from would have made the 595 delightfully frisky, but even as is, it is entertaining. The 595 has a Sport button that, among other things, increases the boost available from the fixed-geometry turbo to increase the torque from 21.01kgm to 23.45kgm. On an open road, you’ll be impressed with the engine’s willingness and ability to scoot forward. On a sweeping road, its ready supply of torque provides for some entertaining corner exits too. The TFT display for the driver shows you the percentage of throttle being used and g-forces too!
The 595 will be offered in India with a five-speed automated manual or AMT, and this is perhaps its weakest link. At city speeds, in Auto mode, the gearbox shifts up early and leaves you wanting for response, put your foot down to pass a car and there’s a nervous pause as it swaps cogs. Thankfully, this can be overcome by using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. There’s a pause during upshifts too, and that is largely to blame for the Abarth trailing the Mini Cooper S in the 0-120kph run by over four seconds. Rolling acceleration figures are similarly unimpressive. The suspension setup too, despite its sporting ambition, isn’t punishing. There is a low-speed stiffness that lets you feel rumble strips and it does feel a bit too bumpy at higher speeds on the highway, but it manages to soak up larger bumps with surprising generosity. However, some care is required over rough patches as the low ground clearance could cause damage to the body work. From behind the wheel, there’s no dismissing the Abarth’s dynamic ability. The 595 has tremendous grip and excellent body control, which makes it incredibly chuckable. Fiat’s Torque Transfer Control, activated by a switch on the dashboard, transfers torque from a spinning wheel by braking it. It also makes the traction control a bit more lenient, allowing for more wheel spin. However, changing directions at high speeds requires some getting used to as the rear suspension feels a touch soft and makes the rear feel a bit slower to follow through. However, what the Abarth lacks sorely is a talkative and frisky steering. The electric steering’s 2.5 turns, lock to lock is hefty in Sport mode and feedback could be better.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
The ride of the 595 Competizione is exactly what I expected from a hot hatch like this. The suspension setup is quite stiff featuring Copaf suspension components at the front and Koni dual valve shock absorbers at the rear with selective dampening.The straight line stability is commendable and so is the cornering ability. Throw some curves and bends and the 595 darts in and out of them with minimal body roll. The torque transfer control technology comes as a boon in disguise and moderates the output between the front wheen at bends in a bid to ensure optimum power is sent to each wheel while cornering. The EPS(electronic power steering) unit is not what you would have expected in a car like this, but it’s not bad either and feels quite direct. Overall, the 595 is one of the most composed track performers I’ve driven till date.
SAFETY FEATURES ;
The Abarth 595 Competizione, that received 5-star ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) rating, ensures a confidence-inspiring and safe drive. The hatchback offers seven airbags protection, including front airbags, front seat side airbags, driver’s knee airbag and side curtain airbags. It also comes equipped with anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), electronic slip differential (ESD), torque transfer control, etc.
The Abarth 500 Essesss is one of the few cars that is damn near perfect even with all its little niggles. It redefines cute while still managing to accelerate fast enough to make you fizzy inside. The interior exudes quality and although it is not as highly speced as its competitors, the Abarth 595 Competizione feels just as desirable. The combination of a turbocharged 4-pot engine and a manual or automatic gearbox, depending on the model you choose, too is as tempting as reaching out and touching the Mona Lisa. So the verdict is pretty clear cut on this one then.
Fiat Abarth 595 Competizione Ex-showroom Price is 29,83,171/- and On Road Price is 34,21,371/- in New Delhi. Fiat Abarth 595 Competizione comes in 14 colours, namely Bossa Nova White,Breakbeat Grey,Calypso Orange,Campovolo Grey,Cha Cha Cha Azure,Cordolo Red,Crossover Black,Iridato White,Jive Blue,Mod Blue,Pasodoble Red,Scorpione Black,Tropicalia Yellow,Ye Ye Green.Exchange your car for Fiat Abarth 595.