Offered in three trims the Competizione is the closest competitor to the cars that dominate this sector - the Mini Cooper S, Ford Fiesta ST and the Renault Clio RS. The Abarth 595 is ostensibly an Fiat 500 treated a peppy, turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine, an aggressively styled bodykit, dual-exhaust system and a race-inspired interior.
Like all Abarth 595s other than the limited-run specials such as the Tributo Maserati and 50th Anniversary Edition, the 595 is built entirely on the standard Fiat 500 production line at Tychy, Poland. Abarth’s stylists design, equip and specify it and the firm’s development team does the component selection and special engineering.
There are no dedicated production facilities or techniques involved here other than in very special cases. Whether that’s enough of a difference to make Abarth a distinct and valid brand in its own right is open to debate. It seems to us much more like a performance sub-brand, like Volkswagen’s R or BMW M division. But be that as it may, the car is undeniably striking and exudes fashionista pocket-rocket charm in cynic-disarming abundance.
Powering the 595 is a 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol engine with an IHI RHF3-P turbocharger, producing 143bhp and a healthy 151lb ft of torque in standard form, the Turismo gets 162bhp at its disposal, while the Competizione punches out 177bhp. Transmission options include a five-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed robotised manual. The 695 Biposto has 190bhp to play with and is driven through a dog-ringed five-speed box.