The fastest and most powerful of the extended Fiat 500 range comes in the shape of the feisty 695 Biposto.
Revealed at the Geneva motor in 2013, the pumped-up three-door hatchback is being pitched as an entry-level track day car. And with a raft of performance-enhancing developments taken from the Assetto Corse race car, it promises a truly hardcore driving experience.
Created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic Abarth 695, the stripped-out two-seat Biposto is available in right-hand-drive guise, with a starting price more than double that of the standard Abarth 500 at an eye-watering £33,055.
Power hails from a heavily reworked version of Fiat’s 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol engine found in the other Abarth 500s. Drawing on developments brought to competition versions of the Abarth 500, such as a new Garrett turbo, larger intercooler and Akrapovic exhaust system.
The Euro 6-compliant unit delivers 187bhp at 5000rpm, endowing the 695 Biposto with 54bhp more than the original remake of the Abarth 500, but only 45bhp more than the facelifted version. It drives the front wheels, with buyers able to choose between a standard six-speed manual, which operates in combination with an electronically controlled differential lock, or an optional race-bred five-speed dog ring gearbox from the Abarth 500 Assetto Corse racer, which is mated to a mechanical limited-slip differential.
Maximum torque varies according to the gearbox; with the standard six-speed manual there is a nominal 184lb ft, while the five-speed dog ring gearbox gets a stronger 199lb ft – both developed at 3000rpm in sport mode.
At just 997kg, the Abarth 695 Biposto is 233kg lighter than the DS 3 Racing. This endows it with a power-to-weight ratio of 188bhp per tonne, giving the Biposto a 25bhp-per-tonne advantage over the most powerful DS 3.
The standard Abarth’s MacPherson strut and torsion beam suspension has been comprehensively reworked to cope with the added reserves. Included are significantly firmer springs, adjustable front dampers and more resilient bushings. As well as being adjustable for ride height within a 20mm window, the suspension also allows the front rebound rates to be altered.
An additional 5mm of offset either side has also brought about a 10mm increase in track width, both front and rear. The 18-inch OZ wheels come shod with 215/35 Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres. The brakes have also been revised, with 305mm Brembo discs and four-pot calipers up front and 240mm discs with single-pot calipers at the rear. It is the same set-up used on the Tributo 695 Ferrari.