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Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

Big side skirts and bumpers, tasty rear spoiler and what looks like a venturi at the back? Fiat has ticked all the boxes of the modern performance car cliche to give the Fiat 500 a bit of aggression - although, like watching an angry guinea pig, it is hard to take the 595 Abarth totally seriously as it slips deeper into hot-hatchback caricature.

But there is purpose behind the bodywork changes. Much of the 500's front end has been redesigned to accommodate a 1.4-litre engine with its turbocharger, and then find a way of cooling it; hence the deeper, vividly scooped front bumper.

There is purpose behind the bodywork changes

Moreover the vertical slashes on the front and rear bumpers provide the brakes with (or relinquish them of) cooling air. And the two exhausts are both functional - it isn't unknown for one side to be totally false on some performance cars.

Despite Fiat's claims the 595 Abarth has spent hours being wind tunnel honed, it's hard to imagine the diffuser achieving anything other than getting itself slightly grubby but, conversely, the roof mounted spoiler does seem to reduce dirt build-up on the rear window. 

Thrown out at the time of the body addenda's introduction are all the Fiat badges. Fiat would have you believe that this is an Abarth 595, harking back to the days when Abarth was considered a manufacturer in its own right. Instead there are Abarth's Scorpion logos aplenty (Scorpio being company founder Carlo Abarth's zodiac sign), some of them standard, some optional.

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Over the standard 595 Abarth, which itself gets 16-inch alloy wheels and new springs and dampers for its MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension, the Turismo pack brings with it Koni shock absorbers at the rear; and 17-inch alloy wheels, while the Competizione gets Koni shocks all round and larger Brembo brake discs. The 695 Biposto gets height adjustable racing springs and 18in lightweight O.Z alloys.

Opt for the Performance Pack, available on the 595 Competizione and you'll find it adorns the Abarth with lighter 17in alloy wheels and a front locking differential.