The smallest hot hatches in Australia, the Abarth 595 and the full-on Abarth 595 Competizione have received extra power, a facelift, improved infotainment and added equipment. Prices have been trimmed as part of the revision of the Italian marque’s plan to lift its slowish sales downunder.
Both models are powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, the Abarth 595 delivers 107 kW, in the Competizione is re-tuned to give 132 kW. Note that a Competizione with a 118 kW engine is no longer being imported to Australia. Smart move, it’s surely all or nothing in this arena?
Power is taken to the front wheels by either a five-speed manual or a robotised self-changing version of the same gearbox. The latter is a rather crude piece of gear that really needs replacing by a full-on automatic transmission. Perhaps we will see one in the next generation. In any case, who wants an automatic Italian hot hatch?
Infotainment is the biggest winner in the latest Abarth 595 range. Controlled through a new Uconnect 5.0-inch colour touchscreen and integrated voice control, there’s satellite navigation Bluetooth audio streaming, AM/FM/DAB radio and UConnect Live services.
The restyle is more than a just a pretty facelift, the Abarth 595 has significantly improved aerodynamics and added cooling efficiency, the latter enabling the engine to work hard even if conditions are harsh, such as during track days. Zero to 100 km/h is listed as 6.7 seconds.
Abarth 595 Competizione aimed at the serious driver. It has 17-inch Corsa alloy wheels, Koni shock absorbers, four-piston front Brembo brakes, red painted calipers front and rear and a dual-mode quad-tip ‘Record Monza’ exhaust.
The Abarth 595 Competizione can be ordered in a conventional colours, but we suspect most will be in two-tone paint; Scorpione Black/Gara White with red liner, Scorpione Black/Podio Blue with white liner, Scorpione Black/Record Grey with white liner, Pista Grey/Abarth Red with white liner and Pista Grey/Campovolo Grey with white liner.
Abarth 595 is offered as three-door hatch and a cabriolet, the latter having a very large fabric sunroof, not a conventional soft top. We have a much loved cabriolet, a Fiat 500 by Gucci in our family and it’s a perfect cruising machine for the Gold Coast.
Abarth models based on Fiats date back to In the late 1950s, Karl Abarth who had been building full-on racing cars for 10 years. He also believed that race cars with excellent performance could be derived from small, light, low cost road cars, including the now iconic Fiat 500 Cinquecento.
Abarth 595 hatch: $26,990
Abarth 595 cabriolet: $29,990
Abarth 595 Competizione hatch: $31,990
Abarth 595 Competizione cabriolet: $35,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Abarth dealer for drive-away prices.