Founded by Carlo Abarth in 1949, the Abarth is best recognised by its vibrant emblem—a shield with a stylised black scorpion set against a yellow and red background, with its name in bold white on top. In the Abarth’s case, the scorpion’s pincers are enough to deter its rivals (think MINI Cooper S). After driving it at Buddh International Circuit (BIC), Greater Noida, I couldn’t agree more with Kevin Flynn, president and managing director of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles India, who says, “This is a car that is a little bit mad... which, frankly, is nice.”
The Abarth 595 Competizione has a gorgeous design that is inspired by the Fiat 500 Cinquecento (which was also sold here as a complete built unit not too long ago), and it promises great performance on account of its solid track and racing capabilities. In Flynn’s words, it is a car that is a “unique piece of engineering”. Powered by a four-cylinder, 1.4-litre (1368cc) T-Jet engine, it comes equipped with the new Garret turbine that reduces turbo lag to a minimum. This car does 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds and its maximum power is 160 hp @5500rpm and maximum torque is 230 Nm @3000rpm in the mode we always enjoy driving in—sport mode.
Let me say right at the start that this car is made for tackling corners and if you enjoy cornering, you are going to have a field day, just like I did at those delicious corners at BIC. While the top speed of the Abarth 595 is 205km/h, I managed a decent 160km/h. But truly the best part was entering the corners slowly and exiting them fast to get a real taste of this track car. The seven-inch TFT colour display instrument panel shone elegantly. The car’s seats were undoubtedly one of the finest I have experienced so far in terms of both support and comfort.
It is available in four colours now—Iridato White, Scorpione Black, Cordolo Red and Campovolo Grey—and its makers are open to bringing in newer colours in the future. “The key thing is getting the combination of the decals right. We may drop one [colour] and bring another or do a limited edition in a certain colour. So we will play with it,” says Flynn.
Flynn says the Abarth is “one of those cars that is going to be bought by the connoisseur who can have a good giggle every time they get out. It is a bit like a pocket rocket. It has got all the engagement of a very high-level performance car and yet it is in this compact package. I think it is quite unique in that sense.” By all means, look out for more performance-based vehicles that will be coming out from the FIAT stables—Abarth Avventura and Abarth Punto. But meanwhile, if you have Rs29.85 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) to splurge on something small but with great performance and handling, you may really want to consider the Abarth 595. Rest assured, its sting will leave other 'competizione' miles behind.
ABARTH 595 COMPETIZIONE
Kerb weight: 1,155kg
Ground clearance: 105mm
Cost: Rs29.85 lakh