If you drove this car exclusively for intense periods on super-smooth roads or small race tracks, you’d adore it.

However, if you never veered away from town roads or motorways, it would rapidly drive you potty. The 595 Competizione is that sort of car: a one-dimensional puppy dog that is forever pulling at its leash, desperate to chase a stick.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
Questionable on space, quality and value, but an amusingly big-hitting little 'un, even so

That’s great if you’re in the park on a Saturday morning but a nuisance if you’re on the sofa at the end of a long day.

And, being realistic, there are other cars, such as Ford’s exceptional Fiesta ST, that are better than the 595 at both ends of the scale: more engaging on a good road or circuit yet more comfortable when you’re not – and a good deal cheaper all the time, too. While the Mini Cooper S is far more soothing to drive than the 595, but lacks the aggression that the 595 displays on the track.

There's even the oft-overlooked option of Skoda's Fabia vRS; it's cheap and practical, although admittedly lacking in a little charm and allure.

Yet there’s something about the Competizione’s enthusiasm that is hard to dislike. It would be better were its springs and its price not quite so unyielding, but it’s a car with charm and a very raw, very real appeal.

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