The Italian Scorpion
Abarth got increasingly popular since the release of their first car back in 2007 as an re-established independent unit. Launching the Grande Punto under their “we need no introduction” badge.
It was a year after the rebirth of Abarth, things turned into an incredible course. Showcasing one of the best cars ever produced by the Italian brand up to this date.
Cinque Nove Cinque Competizione
We’ve preferred the matured Abarth 595 Competizione over the previous trims. For that reason, not only this trim offers the most comparable specifications against the top of its class competition. It delivers the full Abarth experience.
Abarth 595 models previous to 2017 seem to have an identity crisis. At glance it can be hard to distinguish from the original Fiat 500 (look at pictures on top). A let down for the owner if someone pops the question. “Do you drive a Fiat?”
Apart the resemblance issue, at close-up the details are clear. The Abarth badge is revealed in almost every part of the car. Together you’ll get a lowered ride, bigger and sportier wheels, drilled disks with brembo pistons, air ducts to cool down the braking system, a rear spoiler, and of course without forgetting the cornerstone of this trim. The quad tipped Record Monza exhaust.
On the bright side, despite the blind similarity with the original Fiat and hard attempt to be visually accepted as an Abarth. The fact is, people love the Fiat 500. More thrilling though, it’s the added grunt from the Record Monza exhaust. This car is ultimately a head turner.
The capable Abarth 595 shares most features from its cousin Fiat 500. Therefore you’ll see mostly covered in cheap plastic and the annoyingly printed “500” on the dashboard. For the price tag, you’d expect a superior upgrade. The extra feature you’ll get it’s the boost gauge which is available in all trims. Shame on Abarth? Not really.
You can remove by replacing the dashboard line with carbon for about 400£ for the 3 series or 500£ for the 4 series. Without knowing why, we can only assume it was a way to cut costs for the already expensive conversion.
Abarth 595’s interior has been particularly under heavy criticism. It’s worthy to note though, the money was well spent on where it should be. Competizione is, in its form, an entry class for a race car. More on that later.
With the Competizione trim, you’ll get exclusively 2 seats from Sabelt to hold you on to the hardcore 180hp version (160hp for older models). Sadly, adjustments are very limited according to Abarth owners.
The Infotainment is optional. You can either have one or nothing at all, depending on your needs. Interestingly they offer four different systems. Regardless of what choice, you can still connect your phone to the car by Bluetooth.
Even more common in small-sized cars, it’s the parking aid. All 595 trims come with parking aid as standard. Since the rear view is heavily obstructed by the pillars, this will be proven very useful.
Regarding the backseats, this pleasure ride can be turned into hell. It’s almost impossible to carry adult passengers in the Competizione trim. Given the addition, Sabelt seats take a considerable amount of leg room compared to its original seats. Long journeys can be excruciating.
Record Monza is Abarth 595’s signature
Abarth’s gold achievement after the Grande Punto, was its firepower. Fitting a 1.4 litre turbo with 180hp into Fiat 500’s engine bay was, what it could be, every kids wet dream. And then they thought, “Let’s add even more bang!”. You get Record Monza.
Together with uprated suspension and braking system, they’ve also added a limited slip differential to help distribute the power between wheels during hard cornering. Delivering smooth and balanced control as you exit.
Under demanding circumstances, putting power where it’s needed is crucial for performance and driving experience. Adding LSD was the cherry on the top of the cake.
Located in centre of the dash, there is the option to turn off the boiling sports mode. Instantly reducing the engine’s response, thus improving fuel economy. Notably the steering wheel will feel heavier but easier on the suspension.
Interesting to highlight. The steering wheel feels much better to drive around in sport mode. Some owners admit to leave it on for this reason.
Remember, Fiat 500’s base is originally a comfortable car to drive around. Therefore, you’d expect Abarth’s conversion to deliver somewhat an amazing ride. Rather, owners report a feeling of being detached from the driving experience.
Part to blame is notably the steering by wire. It just doesn’t give the feedback you’d expect. Bit sad for a car with such amazing performance kit. Guaranteed, it gets forgotten by the driving experience.
Best part is when you get to know the car. Fiat 500 chassis on itself is notable for behaving extremely well on the corners along with the stability system. On Abarth’s Competizione version, things get explosive. Hence the nickname “Pocket Rocket”, it’s not just the crazy acceleration. It’s the package. Mind the speed bumps though.
Abarths 595’s proportions delivers confidence to be in total control of any situation. Kicking torque at lower revs, it’s not fragile and neither too sophisticated. The 5 speed gearbox is well-distributed for its size and power. Smooth in the transition but not unnecessarily fast. Owners will spend more time working the gears to listen Abarth’s art. It’s very involving. Automatic gearbox may sound a good idea for city driving. Owning one would kill the involvement. Specially in a sports car.
Choosing an Abarth is an irrational choice
Abarth 595 has the essence of what a proper sports hatch back should be. It’s not high tech, in fact, it lacks miles in comparison with other cars of its class. The package invites you to push hard around the bends and have fun.
It was built for hard sprints. Competizione kicks hard all the way up to 4th gear. From there, top speed seems unreachable. Putting the 5th gear for cruise rather than continuous battle gear.
Abarth 595 Competizione is incomparable to any other car. It’s an irrational choice. Because despite the heavy criticism, everybody wants one.
If you want to go home with a smile, Abarth is the choice. Also good news is, the Abarth 595 Competizione is not that expensive to insure.
The price tag
In UK, choosing the Competizione trim brand new will shoot up to 20k pounds. Or, for half of the price, you can get a used one with less than a 30k miles.
They can be expensive new but it’s worthy to tell, these cars after couple years still hold good value. A 2013 model can still cost up to this day around 13k pounds. Not bad.
I’ve added the car full specifications and servicing parts in the next page.
What are your thoughts about this car?