Abarth 695 Biposto Review
February 26, 2016 by Perrys Content Team in Reviews
The word ‘Biposto’ conjures up the image of an old Italian craftsman, perched on a wooden stool in his workshop, steadily hewing the new Abarth 695 out of a gnarled chunk of carbon fibre. Unfortunately, it actually translates to something far less exciting – ‘two-seater’. But, true to form, this mirrors Abarth’s tendency to keep things ruthlessly minimal and focused solely on the driving experience.
Built from the stripped-back chassis of a Fiat 500, the 695 is billed by Abarth as ‘The Smallest Supercar’. And, it certainly delivers, with a beast under the bonnet that makes it the fastest road-worthy model that the company has yet produced. Released in 2015 and one of the latest Perrys models on offer, the car was integral to the growing popularity that Abarth enjoyed last year, witnessing a sales increase of 67% and making it into the top 5 ‘fastest growing car brands in the UK’.
Abarth have removed almost everything that’s not essential to drivability in order to reduce weight. Complex headlights, fog lights and other regular exterior additions are casualties of this cull, but just wait until you hear what they’ve done to the cabin. And, (in a move that might just re-awaken the legendary Henry Ford) you can get it in any colour, so long as it’s futuristic charcoal-grey.
The remaining bodywork has been lovingly re-worked to include a wider wheel-base, carbon fibre front apron, a larger rear diffuser and snarling new exhaust system. The Abarth 695 Biposto runs on 18-inch OZ alloy racing wheels and bespoke 215/35 Goodyear tyres (which look massive compared to the miniature frame), while the radio antenna has made way for an elegant etched badge.
As promised, the interior is practically unrecognisable from that of the Fiat 500.
- Rear seats = gone
- Air conditioning = gone
- Stereo system = gone
- Door cards = gone
- Old front seats and seatbelts = gone
But, what’s replaced it has far more value to the seasoned petrol head. The Abarth 695 Biposto is hunched in the starting blocks and ready to race.
Racing additions include a Poggipolini tubular titanium rollcage and cargo net where the rear seats used to be, as well as specially made Sabelt seats that keep you tightly bound when on the road. Up-front, Abarth have built on Fiat’s tried and tested design, adding only minor details such as the secondary ‘sport’ controls and a red strip that slices the door in two.
While Abarth have toughened up the gearbox since it was first introduced by Fiat, the central console looks more-or-less the same as the 500, and the steering positioning controls haven’t changed at all. The seating position would generally be lower in your average sports car, however a raised vantage point in a car the size of the Abarth 695 Biposto affords a little more stability and a lot more visibility.
Four packs can be added to tailor the 695 to your desired specifications. These include:
|Interior carbon pack||Carbon fibre interior fittings|
|Race pack||Abarth helmet, four system and gear-change indicator|
|124 pack||Aluminium bonnet and titanium fittings|
|Polycarbonate windows||Polycarbonate windows with reduced weight|
|Gearbox upgrade||Dog-ring gearbox with exposed linkage allied to mechanical locking front differential|
On the road
In terms of design, Abarth have basically done things backwards, but somehow still come out facing the right way. The brief was simple; design a small race car with real bite and find a way to make it roadworthy. No one could sum up the 695 better than founder Carlo Abarth, who simply said: “Sunday on the track and Monday in the office”.
This effectively means that Abarth have been working towards two key goals:
- Reduce overall body weight
- Massively boost engine performance
And, they’ve succeeded. While a Fiat 500C weighs in at a hefty 1,020kg, Abarth have been able to shave off more than 20kg overall, at the same as adding extra equipment under the bonnet. The 1.4-litre turbo engine matches up to what you’d expect to see in a Formula 4 single-seat racer; generating 187bhp at 5,500 rpm, accelerating 0 – 60mph in 5.9 seconds and maxing out at 143mph.
Brembo brakes and Extreme Shox adjustable shock absorbers add to the responsiveness of the 695 on the road, while the wider chassis helps to keep control when the engine goes all-or-nothing. You might have been hoping for more from the steering, but that’s more than made up for by the dog-ring gear shift, which can be thrown around with free abandon (but only on the track, of course…).
As a new addition to the Perrys range, we’ve been looking forward to getting our hands on the 695. We’re glad to say that it didn’t disappoint, and truly puts a marker down for miniature high-performance thoroughbreds. The price tag is obviously more than the standard Fiat 500, but the changes made are worth every penny. An ideal option for motoring enthusiasts and young drivers with miles to burn, isn’t it time you found out what happens when you combine Italian passion with advanced mechanics?