We drove it on the racetrack and…
The other Friday, I happened to be instructing at the Dubai Autodrome in a brand new Fiat 595 Abarth Competizione, during an event hosted by FCA Group. I was immediately fascinated when I saw it parked in the pitlane. Her flamboyant look, her aggressive stance, her Brembo red calipers, and her aerodynamic set up quickly communicated some typical Italian arrogance. Abarth is to Fiat what AMG is for Mercedes. Founded in 1949, this “Scorpio” brand soon became the motorsport branch of the popular FIAT. Today Abarth signs the track-oriented cars produced in Torino, and they nail it.
I took my time to learn the car before hosting some drivers and lapped the Club configuration of the racetrack. There is nothing better than a whole race track for yourself and a brand new car to get familiar to. The first impression of the sitting position wasn’t great, but the model I was driving had the standard comfort seats. Surely the optional sports seats are better for a racetrack environment in terms of lateral containment. The steering wheel is well positioned, as well as are the pedals.
Since the manual gearbox is not available in the UAE (why?), I drove the semi-automatic version, which requires a small lift off the gas to have a quick up or down-shift. I find no issues at all, but it needs a little time to get used to it. Gears fall into place very well both while cruising and when you are close to the red zone of the rev counter.
What I immediately appreciated is the way this little monster enters corners. The front end is very svelt. A simple input on the steering wheel and the front end aims at the apex with go-kart-like speed. It soon feels like the brain-hands-wheels are connected as one, and this gives confidence and immense pleasure. Surely the stiff sport suspensions and the extremely short wheelbase contribute to this experience. The body is very reactive and asks you to push more and more. There is minimal understeer when you go over the limits.
Furthermore, the back end is not as scary as I expected. Once mid-corner, even if you come off the gas, there is no excessive pivoting around its barycentre. The car stays balanced and neutral. The rear wheels always follow the front with dedication and precision. This is a remarkable aspect of the dynamic of this mini hot hatch, which positions her to a much higher class level. The ultimate level of grip is outstanding indeed. 205/40 on 17 inches tiers help the Competizione to go through corners at an unimaginable speed. Especially mid-corner, it always feels you could ask for even more.
The engine is a 1,4 Lt turbocharged, four cylinders, capable of 180 bhp. Its a lot of power for only 1070 kg, and this allows a 0-100 km/h acceleration in less than 7 seconds, which is a remarkable result for a front-wheel drive. On the racetrack, the power is never enough, hence I wish I had more pull since the chassis clearly could handle another few dozens of horses. However, the performance of this mini hot hatch on the road is undoubtedly outstanding. I could only imagine how much fun this Abarth would be on twisty mountain roads.
FIAT claims fuel consumption of more than 20 km per liter of fuel in mix use, which is better than some motorbikes. Is this car cheaper to run than an electric vehicle?
This 595 is a breath of fresh air. In a motoring world where political correctness seems to be the king, she breaks the rules and speaks out loud. She is arrogant, young, and very peppery. It reminds me of my more youthful times when the likes of the Peugeot 205 GTi and the FIAT Uno Turbo came along and made the youngsters feel like race drivers on the road. Audi S1, Mini Cooper S, be careful, this Skorpio stings. Bring it!
- Engine: 4 Cylinder, 1,4 Lt Turbocharged
- Power: 180 Bhp
- Torque: 206 Nm
- Weight: 1070 Kg
- Price in the UAE: 29,750 USD (approx)