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

Road test editor
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.

Top 5 Hot hatchbacks

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Maserati Levante S GranLusso 2019 road test review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    Car review
    Is this Ferrari-engined Levante the performance SUV it always should have...
  • Bentley Continental GT Convertible 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    First Drive
    New Conti Convertible has all the many advantages of a new platform, seen...
  • Audi SQ5 2019 first drive review - hero front
    22 May 2019
    First Drive
    High-performance soft-roader adopts new sporty V6 diesel mild-hybrid power,...

Just know what you’re letting yourself in for.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Maserati Levante S GranLusso 2019 road test review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    Car review
    Is this Ferrari-engined Levante the performance SUV it always should have...
  • Bentley Continental GT Convertible 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    First Drive
    New Conti Convertible has all the many advantages of a new platform, seen...
  • Audi SQ5 2019 first drive review - hero front
    22 May 2019
    First Drive
    High-performance soft-roader adopts new sporty V6 diesel mild-hybrid power,...