The new 2017 Abarth 595 last week crept quietly into South Africa. These are the five most important things you need to know about it.
1: It comes in three flavours of tune
One engine. Three models. Three different power sheets. The standard Abarth 595 makes do with 106kW and 206Nm. Not good enough? Then you might be more interested in the mid-range 595 Turismo that muscles out 121kW and 230Nm. Still not enough?! Then you’d better break the bank and blow it all on the 595 Competizione: the fiery range-topper equipped with 132kW and 250Nm. Although whether this is actually worth the R443 950 price tag is highly debatable – a similarly ballsy Ford Fiesta ST is R118 050 cheaper. Sure, it might catch fire but until it does you’ll be smirking at the thought of all the money you’ve saved.
2: It will allow you to use all those great Italian car words without sounding like a tool
When you buy an Abarth 595 you are finally free to don your Ferrari-branded Puma kicks and pepper your driving day with all those great Italian car descriptors. “Man, this car has so much soul!” Or, “What I get in this car that I never got in my old Golf was a real sense of passion!” Or, “When I’m having a bad day I climb into my Abarth and, belissimo, I’m suddenly living la dolce vita!” A 595 is a license to talk foreign. Okay, so we lied about the last bit.
3: You can really go to town in the customization department
As we all know the soulful Italians have a passion for fashion, for standing out for the crowd. Which is why your Abarth 595 can be customised with no less than 15 different shades of paint, 11 different wheel designs (16 and 17-inch) and seven different trim levels. There are also some racy decal sets available. Because warpaint. Shipping as standard equipment in both Turismo and Competizione models is a seven-speaker Beats Audio sound system, so you can really pump that Eros Ramazzotti en route to Panarottis. Or Montecasino – whatever tickles your fancy.
4: You can spec a proper mechanical limited-slip differential…
…but only on the 595 Competizione. This piece of grip-enhancing kit forms part of the optional Performance Pack that also give you 17-inch Supersport wheels, carbon fibre Sabelt leather/alcantara seats and, according to the press release, a ‘595 carved aluminium badge on the roof.’ Why? So nobody can see it? Weird.
5: It’s available as a cabriolet
Yes it is. Parkhurst residents rejoice. The Abarth 595 is also available with Fiat’s sequential robotised automatic transmission. But unless you’re physically impaired – or American – we’d recommend staying well away from it. – Thomas Falkiner
2017 Abarth 595 Pricing:
Abarth 595: R299 950
Abarth 595 Cabrio: R339 950
Abarth 595 Turismo: R369 950
Abarth 595 Turismo Cabrio: R409 950
Abarth 595 Competizione: R443 950
Abarth 595 Competizione Cabrio: R483 950