Abarth 595C review
What better way to explore the postcard perfect Italian Riviera than in a feisty local motor, with the roof down and the promise of olive oil drenched seafood in a Genoese coastal retreat? It might not quite feel the same on a dreary Berkshire ring-road, but with the Abarth 595C, at least you can take a little slice of Italy with you.
Based on the seemingly evergreen chassis of the Fiat 500, all cars in the pocket-sized Abarth range (which also features the 595 and souped-up 695) come with a smorgasbord of racing accessories that can add almost unparalleled excitement to your daily commute. Sure to be a favourite with young drivers and true petrol-heads alike, read on to find out whether the Abarth 595C could have that little extra spark you’ve been looking for.
Of course, the little kid in all of us will be most excited about the electrically operated soft-top roof, but we’ll get on to that later.
While the Abarth 595C would be immediately recognisable to long-term fans of the 500, the racing car manufacturer has subtly tweaked the bodywork to give it a sturdier, more dynamic feel. The slim sides of the Fiat have been exercised into muscular haunches, and the debatably po-faced front-end has been improved by the addition of a racing-style grille and Xenon headlights. As you walk around the car, you’ll notice features like the perforated rear brake discs, 17-inch Formula alloy wheels and tinted rear windows – all of which highlight the model’s racing pedigree.
Buyers can choose from titanium grey and black for the soft top roof, to keep things in line with Abarth’s distinctive styling. And, it’s no ordinary soft top roof, as Abarth has cleverly integrated a glass rear-window pane and shifted the third brake light on to the spoiler. That’s the technical stuff, but what you really want to know is that you can maintain all conventional performance elements with the roof up, but with the roof down the car becomes an absolute animal. When you’re exposed to the elements and the wind’s rushing past you, you really start to appreciate the full force of what Abarth has been able to achieve with the 595C.
There’s a host of other advantages to choosing the convertible over the regular model too, such as the elimination of the blind-spot, optimisation of headroom and chance to soak up a few rays on the way to work.
In line with the car’s sporty credentials, the interior of the Abarth 595C might come across as somewhat stripped-back on initial inspection. The aim, clearly, has been to limit overall weight in order to improve performance, so all of Fiat’s frivolities have been scrapped. However, Abarth has been clever in keeping all the right features in all the right places.
The Abarth Corsa fabric racing seats (made by Sabelt) will keep you securely in place as you nimbly navigate around sharp turns, while the aluminium racing-style pedals give you a highly-responsive and integrated driving experience. The leather-clad steering wheel centralises most of the tech controls within easy reach, enabling you to control the Blue&Me audio and hands-free system, which includes both Bluetooth and USB connections. You’ll also get a 7-inch TFT colour display instrument panel, and automatic climate control to keep the temperature just so.
Space is generous throughout both the front and rear portions of the car, and split rear seats with head restraints ensure that your passengers will have the same racing feel, even from the back. The boot, while far from palatial, can stow 185-litres of kit, which is relatively standard for a car of this size.
On the road
The performance of this pocket-rocket is what really defines the Abarth 595C. Based around a 4-cylinder in-line 1.4-litre, the 595C can crank out 180bhp and reach a top speed of 140mph. In a car with this slimmed-down waistline, that adds up to an acceleration rate of 0 – 62mph in just 6.7 seconds.
The 595C also comes with a whole stack of other finely-tuned engineering accessories that make this feel legitimately like a mini-supercar, such as:
- Torque Transfer Control
- Copaf front suspension with Frequency Selective Damping technology
- Koni rear suspension with Frequency Selective Damping technology
- Brembo four-piston aluminium fixed brake calipers
- Self-ventilated oversized 305×28 mm perforated front brake discs
- BMC high-performance intake system
- Abarth ‘Record Monza’ exhaust system
You also get rear parking sensors for when you inevitably arrive earlier than scheduled, and can choose between a sequential automated gearbox and wheel-mounted gear shift paddles.
Since their cars first graced our roads back in 1949, Abarth has shown absolute care and dedication to making their vehicles as fun and expressive as possible. The 595C is certainly no different, in fact the soft-top version just feels like it’s meant to be. With the roof down, you get a feel for the elements, as well as a front-row seat for the orchestra of engineering that’s stored under the bonnet. So, whether you consider yourself a motoring purist or just get an occasional need for speed, the 595C is well worth a look.