What is it?
It marks the return of the Esseesse badge, which was previously the preserve of the Italian brand’s hottest models until it disappeared a few years ago when the Abarth 500 morphed into the 595.
So what’s new? Well, the most obvious change externally is the adoption of the neat 17in multi-spoke alloy wheels that are an Esseesse trademark, while elsewhere it gets the same recently reprofiled bumpers as the standard 595. Inside, there’s a pair of bespoke figure-hugging Sabelt high-backed seats with a carbonfibre shell and some natty red stitching, while carbonfibre trim also covers the pedals and the dashboard. It contrasts a little jarringly with the otherwise cheap-and-cheerful plastics, but most of what you see and touch feels of decent quality. Elsewhere there’s a TFT instrument pack and a turbo boost gauge sitting in a pod just to the left of the steering wheel. It’s not exactly tasteful, but it’s completely in keeping with the 595's fun-loving character.
Under the stubby bonnet is the familiar 178bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre engine, but here it breathes in through a BMC filter and exhales from a switchable carbonfibre-tipped Akrapovič twin exit exhaust. There’s no more power than the old Competizione, but the Esseesse gets that model's Brembo callipers for its 305mm front discs, plus a limited-slip differential. The suspension is largely carried over, including Koni’s frequency selective dampers. All very promising.