One of our family cars for many years was a ‘Fiat 500 by Gucci’ convertible. It was a
brilliant little Italian machine to buzz around in traffic and park in tiny spots that others
simply could not fit into. It had the Gucci trademark green/red/green stripes and people
admired it whenever we stopped.

So, it was great to spend a week in the sporting cousin of our 500, the Abarth 595
Competizione. Abarth is the name used on the high-performance variants in the Fiat 500

Based on the Fiat 500, but with quite a few styling changes to give it a sporting look, the
Abarth 595 Competizione does have a very individual look. It has a standout front area
that’s body coloured in its upper area and black in the lower parts, large side sills and
black in the rear that follow the colouring of the front.

Our test car had matte blue paint, an extra cost option. Though it’s something out of the
ordinary it does look to the uninformed that the Abarth had been sitting out in strong
Aussie sunshine for too many years.

The cabin has a 7.0-inch multifunction display, leather upholstery, carbon-fibre trim and
sports pedals. It has an Abarth logo on the centre of the steering wheel. There’s black just
about everywhere including on the dash and the gear lever housing.

The hot Italian machine has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support and digital radio.
We enjoyed the sound output from the audio system, but turned it off most of the time to
listen to the excellent sounds produced by the engine.

Power comes from a turbo-petrol 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 132kW at
5500rpm, and 250newton metres of torque from 3000rpm.

Abarth 595 Competizione has a five-speed manual gearbox at a time when almost all
manuals are six-speed units. This is probably another throwback to its Fiat 500 origins and
there simply wasn’t a suitable six-speeder.

The Abarth 595 has ABS and stability control to help drivers to stay out of trouble. It has
seven airbags, two IsoFix child seat mount points, rear parking sensors and a tyre
pressure monitoring system. The latter particularly useful in a sports hatch when correct
pressures at all four corners as important if you want to fang the Abarth 595 hard.

Ahh! This is why you buy an Abarth 595 Competizione – to drive it hard and fast. It’s a
genuine Italian sports machine not simply a hot hatch. It sounds great, talks to you through
the steering wheel and holds the road at speeds that may not seem possible to those who
don’t understand well sorted Italian suspension.

Even around town, and in the suburbs, you can have fun listening to the sound of the
engine, banging it up and down through the gears and accelerating hard away from the

The engine is a little slow to pick up speed if it’s running below about 2000 revs, but once
you get it beyond that stage it really sings along with plenty of entertaining sporting

But to get the full enjoyment from it you have to take it to the country. We had a ball
thumping it around bends on the roads in the hinterland behind our base on the Gold
Coast. On the open roads on the far side of the hills its cruises well, but does get a bit
tiring if you’re doing a long trip. Frankly passengers may not appreciate it because the ride
is on the firm side.

You do sit rather high in the cabin as this is a stubby car and low front seats would steal
too much space from those sitting in the back seats. It’s not too bad for those sitting
behind a passenger in the front, but anyone behind a tall driver may find they are a bit
cramped for space.

The Abarth 595 Competizione is not a car for everyone, but for those who like to get the
best from a sports car it must sit very high on the list of machines to be considered. It looks
good, goes like a rocket if you are prepared to work it to its full potential you will go
everywhere with a smile on your face.

Looks: 9/10
Performance: 10/10
Safety: 8/10
Thirst: 7/10
Practicality: 6/10
Comfort: 6/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 8/10

595 coupe: $26,990
595 Scorpione Oro: $31,450
595 Competizione coupe: $34,250
595 convertible: $29,990
595 Competizione convertible: $37,250
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Abarth
dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Abarth 595 Competizione 1.4-litre turbo-petrol three-door hatchback)

Capacity: 1.368 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 132 kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 250 Nm @ 3000 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 134 g/km

DRIVELINE: Five-speed automatic

Length: 3657 mm
Wheelbase: 2300 mm
Width: 1627 mm
Height: 1485 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1045 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 35 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Three years / 100,000 kilometres

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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