Fiat 595 Competizione Drive Review: Hot Wheels
How does one make a regular curry taste better? The simple answer to that is by adding more chillies and spices. Doing so, brings a new flavour and adds more character to an otherwise bland preparation. And Fiat has done exactly that. Their in-house tuner division, Abarth, also known to transform ordinary cars to extraordinary beings has the 595 Competizione for someone looking for a performance based hot hatch.
With a legacy of manufacturing performance cars paired with a great deal of motorsports achievements, Abarth is one of the most respected racing brands in the world. Considering the recent popularity of racing and motorsports in India, Fiat finally made a right move in the correct direction. They launched the Abarth 595 Competizione in India, with an aim of striking the right chords with driving enthusiasts.
The spiced up 1.4L TJet motor makes 160PS of power and 230Nm of torque and can do 0 to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds. It indeed has an entire armory of technology laden features to support its maniac image; promises to be a race car for daily use. Such tall claims can be tested only on a race track and so we did. Read our first impression on the Fiat 595 Competizione to know more about this blasting red chilli pepper of a car.
It is a Fiat and till date they haven’t made a bad looking car with some exceptions for sure. If you find the looks of Fiat 595 Competizione nostalgic, it is because of the design inspiration drawn from the Fiat 500 Cinquecento; a car from yesteryears known for its small, beautiful and elegant presence.
While the Abarth 595 Competizione too carries the above mentioned traits, it has been injected with loads of drool worthy stuff outside. The cuteness of 500 has been tweaked with a wider and meaner stance to make it look aggressive. The lower section resembles a devilish smile with a contrasting grey grille. Retro styled fog lamps and headlights pay a tribute to the original design; still manage to look very chic and fresh. Sitting with a razor edge blade, bang on the centre, is the Abarth badge to not be mistaken as the standard model.
There are more racy bits like the small ridge line running on the hood, carved air scoops beside the front bumper and a wide lower air intake. Things get even more interesting on the side as here begins the showcase of its Italian flair in the design. As all would agree, cars drawn by them kinds don’t show desperation to look extremely modern and instead have a subtle way of elaboration. Now the Abarth 595 is essentially a hot hatch by description yet it carries a level of sophistication with great style.
And if that’s not convincing, the 17inch sport alloy wheels with road gripping Pirelli tyres complimented by almost glowing 4-piston self ventilated red brake disc callipers will surely do the remaining rounds of pulling you towards itself. The Abarth vinyl layered on the side just makes it feel even faster than it actually is. Large doors on the side provide an easy ingress and are also, somewhat, useful for the rear occupants to get inside.
It gets a chunky C-Pillar flowing from a uni-shaped roof, also sportified with a rear wing spoiler. Also, making an equally strong impression as the front is the rear with a more voluptuous scheme of arrangement. The petite little tail lights get bright surround and look much in place with other elements. Has a compact rear windscreen, which isn’t very friendly while reversing. Not that it is an obstacle as rear park assist comes as standard. The most impressive bits, other than the expressive derriere, are the twin exhaust pipes tucked under the front bumper with a brushed aluminium finish rear skid plate.
Inside, you aren’t greeted with the usual bits of luxury and premium finished trims as the Abarth 595 Competizione doesn’t want you to get distracted by any superficial treatment. Everything is finished in limited shades of red and black to give it a devil gone crazy theme. Comfort doesn’t feature anywhere yet one would love spending time in this small cave of a cabin and the list of reasons is mentioned below.
Firstly, it gets a flat bottom racing styled steering wheel with soft leather wrapping around it. To add an element of practicality, there are multi functions controls mounted on it. Look beyond the steering wheel and an almost computer game like 7 inch all digital instrumental cluster with TFT display is seen. The information shown on this screen focuses primarily on the speed highlighting its performance centric theme.
The central layout doesn’t look fit to be in an Rs 30 lakh car as the knobs, buttons and controls look dated making that in the Punto Evo feel better. Adding to that feel are the plastics seen on the door trims which lack finesse and surely aren’t any apt to be inside a car with such legacy and history. While the driver can have an ear to ear smile holding the steering wheel alone, the front passenger can amuse himself by fiddling with the entertainment system with a standard list of features like Blue&Me hands-free system with USB and Bluetooth.
The seats aren’t too great in terms of comfort and surely won’t be the right place to be in for a longer duration but then you can’t expect a sports car to have cushy mossy seats. The specially made for Abarth 595 seats are sourced from Sabelt Italy, one of the finest also seen inside Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo. The lateral support is phenomenal and will not make you go offset even while taking the sharpest of turns. Rear seats are purely functional and can be best suited for younger occupants like kids cause your adult friends will surely find it a tight squeeze, and will prefer seeing you drive away than to chop off their knees to get in the rear seat.
One thing is for sure, it might lack the senses teasing upmarket feel of a typically expensive car nor does it have justified levels of practicability with few cubby holes and a compact boot yet at the same time, the level of detailing with Scorpion badges and Abarth branding makes it totally drool worthy. Secondly, the occupants inside will be distracted by something else. Read performance to know about it.
Fiat is otherwise known to make well behaved, elegant and premium cars, often owned by them who enjoy being gentle and sophisticated. This well mannered perception of the brand changes as soon as you enter the power cocoon of Abarth 595 Competizione and get that pint of a motor revving to glory.
The flat bottom steering wheel, tight gripping seats and the racing steel pedals with engraved Scorpion logo gets you in the right mood. One might try to underestimate the fun factor as it doesn’t get a large displacement motor nor does it have a multiple cylinder layout like a clichéd sports car however what it gets is a spruced up 1.4L T-Jet motor which makes a peak power of 160PS and a max torque of 230 Nm. The one launched in India doesn’t get a manual shift option like the one sold abroad but has a robotised manual shift also known as AMT transmission.
This one is a small little car for sure as its quirky shape is a clear away of the same but this shouldn’t be mistaken for an everyday hatchback to shop groceries. It has enough potential to make omelettes from eggs while in motion and that too without making the seconds hand on a clock travel any far from the starting point.
The AMT unit isn’t the best in the business and can also cut down on enthusiasm especially while holding on to the throttle in corners but then there is a small solution to it. A ‘Sport’ button placed on the dashboard helps change everything. To begin with, the exhaust note gets coarser than before, the throttle response is tweaked, steering gets more weight, suspension feel firmer to handle corners and finally a massive amount of torque is unleashed as in normal mode there is only 206Nm but in Sports mode, there is 230Nm of torque to play with.
It is a front wheel drive car with lots of torque and that makes it understeer but then worry not as there is a way to control that as well. Engage the TTC - Torque Transfer Control mode to channelize excess amount of torque to the right wheel without making it lose its stance. The traction control in this mode also eases its hold not letting any wheel slip off tarmac.
Stability at high speeds is something to vouch for as the Abarth 595 Competizione feels super confident and is eager to rake in more speeds gasping more and more kms with great ease. It is like a rabbit on steroids, eager to hop around the entire garden with super enthusiasm. While driving this small monster on grass is strictly not advisable, a racing track seemed a better option.
It is fun on straight sections and there is no doubting that but to get it on its toes, literally, throw it around corners and the fun quotient rises to insane levels. It handles corners like a light weight motorcycle. Once inside the corner and with the Sport mode on, it doesn’t misbehave even a little bit and instead expresses great confidence. The PZero tyres are so sticky that even at great triple digit speeds; there is no scare of loosing track. What makes it so agile around corners? It is the amazing 4-piston all wheel disc brakes which chew off the discs to make sure this stinging Scorpion comes to control as soon as the pedal is pushed.
|Power in PS/RPM||160 / 5500|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||230 / 3000|
|Gears||5 - AMT|
|Wheel base mm||2300|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1155|
|Ground clearance mm||105|
|Fuel tank capacity L||35|
|Tyre Spec||205 / 40 R17|
|Features||Abarth 595 Competizione|
|TTC(Torque Transfer Control)||Yes|
|Copaf front suspensions with FSD (Frequency Selective Damping) technology||Yes|
|Koni rear suspensions with FSD (Frequency Selective Damping) technology||Yes|
|Four-piston aluminium fixed brake callipers||Yes|
|Self-ventilated oversized 305x28 mm perforated front brake disks.||Yes|
|Self-ventilated 240x11 mm perforated rear brake disks.||Yes|
|17inch Sport alloy rims with 205/40 R!& tyres||Yes|
|Abarth Corsa fabric racing seats by Sabelt||Yes|
|7inch TFT colour diaplay instrument panel||Yes|
|Manual climate control||Yes|
|Leather steering wheel with integrated controls||Yes|
|Blue&MeTM hands-free system with USB port.||Yes|
|Bluetooth® and MP3 radio||Yes|
|split rear seats with head restraint||Yes|
|Rear parking sensors||Yes|
|Lateral Abarth sticker||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Power in PS/RPM||160 / 5500||192 / 4700 - 6000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||230 / 3000||280 / 1250|
|Gears||5 - AMT||6 - AT|
|Wheel base mm||2300||2495|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1155||1220|
|Ground clearance mm||105||NA|
|Fuel tank capacity L||35||44|
|Tyre Spec||205 / 40 R17||195 / 55 R16|
The reason to get this cute sporty little fast going hatchback is simple; it is a party tool that you always wanted to buy. Priced at Rs 29.85 lakhs, there won’t be many seen on the road but then that’s the same thing which makes it unique and special. Also, this is just the beginning as there are many more ‘realistic’ Abarths coming to India with the 145PS Punto Evo Abarth all set to launch in the next few weeks. Till then, let’s just keep ogling at this Italian delicacy.