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Abarth 695 2012 Review

Tough little bambino looks brilliant, goes like a rocket.

This stunning little Italian hotshot, with a name that’s almost as long as the car – Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari – is something right out of the ordinary. A brand new Ferrari-badged car for under $70,000 - amazing isn’t it?

Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari is a tribute to two of the great Italian marques. Ferrari needs no explanation, but Carlo Abarth’s name probably does. In today’s lingo Carlo Abarth was a ‘tuner’, taking standard cars and improving them with high-performance engines and suspensions.

A reasonably successful racing car driver in the late 1940s and into the ‘50s Carlo Abarth worked chiefly on Fiats but also dabbled in Ferraris and Lancias. In time Abarth became the high-performance division of Fiat – in the manner of HSV for Holden, and AMG with Mercedes-Benz.

Fiat has controlled Abarth since 1971 and the name faded for a number of years, until it was revived in 2007 as part of a plan to lift the Italian marque’s image on the sporting front. Abarth builds several hot models these days, the best known being the Abarth Esseesse (try saying SS with an Italian accent and it suddenly makes sense!).

DESIGN

Now engineers from Abarth, Ferrari and Fiat have teamed up to build the stunning little Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari. The complete car has received a well engineered makeover and the stylists have had a field day in lifting the appearance of a car that started off as a Fiat 500.

The 17-inch alloy wheels look huge on a car of this size and the similarity in design to those on larger Ferraris add to the tough-as-big-brother look. Inside, is a pair of “Abarth Corsa by Sabelt” racing seats, finished in black leather and Alcantara, that we found held us nicely against lateral and longitudinal forces. The black leather steering wheel has red stitching.

The instrument panel is by Jaeger, and Abarth Australia tells us it’s inspired by typical Ferrari instrumentation. Carbon fibre is used across the dashboard and around the paddles for the MTA gearbox. On the floor are neat looking aluminium racing pedals with Abarth’s Scorpion logo. The special car even has a plate bearing the vehicle series number.

TECHNOLOGY

The 1.4-litre turbocharged engine has been taken out to a whopping 180 horsepower (132 kilowatts) and can top 225 km/h where conditions permit. More realistically it can get from a standstill to 100 km/h in under seven seconds. OK, so the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari’s big brothers can accelerate almost twice as fast, but they cost six to ten times as much - and may not put the same sort of grin on your face as this miniature pocket rocket.

DRIVING

The sound of the engine is magnificent, perhaps not as good as a V12 on full noise, but there’s a sporting note that will please lovers of real performance cars. Taking all that power to the front wheels is a five-speed automated manual gearbox controlled by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

Like all of its type this gearbox can be a bit harsh at low speeds, but somehow that adds charm to this little semi-race beastie. Suspension changes see the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari with a firmer ride than the standard car, but we have felt worse - and read again the remarks about the charm provided. This car is hugely enjoyable to drive, with the sort of personality only a small, Italian sportscar can provide.

VERDICT

Would I buy one? Only if I had a lot of money to spare for my automotive toys. In which case I would be hard pressed to decide whether to have ‘my’ Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari in Modena Red or Modena Yellow.

Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari

Price: $69,990
Warranty: 3 years roadside assist
Weight: 1077kg
Engine: 1.4-litre 4-cylinder, 132kW/230Nm
Transmission: 5-speed seq manual auto-single clutch, front wheel drive
Thirst: 6.5L/100Km, 151g/km C02

Pricing Guides

$35,939
Based on 2 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$35,888
Highest Price
$35,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Tributo Ferrari 1.4L, PULP, 5 SP AUTOMATED $35,888 – 35,990 2012 Abarth 695 2012 Tributo Ferrari Pricing and Specs