★★★★☆ | Abarth 595 Competizione 1.4 T-Jet 180HP
Bad Boy Abarth.
What Have We Got?
We have here something we shouldn’t have. The Fiat 500 I had booked wasn’t ready, so Tom at FCA offered me the Abarth 595 Competizione. I pondered if I could find more words for another brutal 500 Abarth. We’ve had the 695 Biposto and the 595 Rivale and they don’t get any better than those two.
It just so happens that I was able to find some words for this model. A model that left me in a bit of a predicament.
From turning the key and switching it on, to arriving at your destination and switching it off, both you and the surrounding area will know of your departure and arrival. The exhaust note from the Monza quad tailpipes of this 1.4 180 hp turbo engine bark and growl their intention.
And driving is what this car is all about. As for driving aids, you get reverses parking sensors. No frontal crash mitigation, no radar, no auto dip/full beam headlights, no cruise control. You are in total control. What you do is down to you. You literally are at one with the machine.
The interior of the Competizione is taken over by supportive cloth and suede covered Sabelt seats. You can tell they were not designed for the 595. The backrest adjuster is so close to the door that you have to open it to adjust.
The suede on steering wheel and binnacle was a nice touch. Shame then about the rather drab grey plastic of the dashboard and door cards. You feel a bit of body colour would add to a stripped out racy interior.
Living With It
Let us forget about practicalities here. The rear seat is no more than a padded parcel shelf and the boot is OK for a car of this size. You do however get climate control and a rather good thumping Beats Hi-Fi.
So let’s look at living with it as a driving machine. Here is where it excels. The ride is hard, leading to even harder, depending on the road surface. And this is a fun element because with the wide 205/40 tyres on 17” alloys, it tends to tramline quite a lot and this is exaggerated on hard acceleration where the steering wheel fights with torque steer. Hit the TTC button (Torque Transfer Control) and it will put the power to either front wheel with the most grip, and it makes it quite riotous.
Add that to the power of the engine and the lightning speed it responds to inputs from the loud pedal, and you soon find yourself behind the wheel of a car that you can exploit its high levels of adhesion. It will understeer momentarily until the TTC kicks in and then you find you are flicking it around with gusto.
You have to LOVE this car a lot to want one. As an everyday proposition, I can’t really recommend it. It’s not a bad car, quite the contrary, it’s just that it is ‘on the go’ all the time, sport mode on or off. As a weekend toy, you won’t find much better.
In many ways, the 595 Competizione is the bad boy of the Abarth range. The adrenaline-fuelled addiction borders on lustful cravings and coercion. It’ll lead you into a secluded carpark, shove its hands down your pants, make you do things you didn’t want to do and then leave you wanting more.
We’re off for a cigarette now. I don’t smoke but I need to gather my senses. I’m flustered and wasted!
Snap happy handling
Intoxicating at its limits
Ability to drink fuel
Lousy self-control to drive it normally
Car –Abarth 595 Competizione 1.4 T-Jet 180HP
Price – £ 22,535 (as tested)
MPG – 47.1 mpg (combined)
Power – 180HP
0-62mph – 6.8 seconds
Top Speed – 140 mph
Co2 – 139 (g/km)