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There is just something very special about Italian cars and especially for the driver who appreciates performance. Yes, cars from other nations can produce some of the fastest cars in the world, but think of Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and there is just that something very very special.

Now from Italy one of the most desirable small car ranges, the Abarth 595 has been updated with fresh interiors, more colour choice and unique detailing across all of the four versions. The 595, Turismo, Competizione and Esseesse further underline the character of the Abarth brand with much more new technology and more customisation options than previously available. Body choice, hatchback or convertible, both offer performance with style and the four trim levels vary in power output from 145-180bhp. Sport mode has been renamed Scorpion mode throughout the range, aligning with the Abarth logo and in recognition of the brand’s founder Carlo Abarth. Pressing the button on the dashboard alters peak torque delivery, power steering calibration and engine response to the accelerator pedal, making them sharper and delivering a more engaging drive. A high performance braking system for increased stopping power features at the front ventilated 284mm discs with 240mm discs at the rear.

A 1.4 litre T-jet engine in various states of tune delivers the performance, the already noted three levels with the Esseesse the most powerful in the range. This version is equipped with the Garrett GT1446 turbo, a mechanical self locking diff which improves traction under difficulty conditions and uneven terrain. Koni FSD shock absorbers on both axles and Brembo brakes with fixed aluminium callipers. All versions feature a six speed manual transmission and the Turismo, Competizione and Esseesse can be equipped with an Abarth robotised sequential transmission with shift paddles.

The entry level 595 is reasonably well equipped; a flat bottom steering wheel which is the current fashion, an updated instrument panel, and the pressure gauge is now in lit in white, polyelliptical headlights and LED daytime running lights; worth noting xenon headlights are available as an option. The Turismo features diamond embossed leather seats which are available in a number of colour options including heritage brown which, I must add, looks very rich.Abarth 595 On The Road

The range topping Esseesse has titanium tailpipes which have been developed by the Abarth team which delivers an even more powerful sound and moving to the interior there is a new carbon effect dashboard gear lever. Standard across the range is the Uconnect system with a seven inch high definition touch screen, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and sat nav is available on some versions. For those who really like their music, the BeatsAudio is available on request; developed in collaboration with Beats by Dr Dre, this system has a total output of 480W and features an eight channel digital amp with an advanced algorithm that can recreate the entire sound spectrum that an artist experiences during studio recordings. The system is made up of two dome tweeters located in the front pillars, two 165mm mid woofers in the front doors, two 165mm full range speakers in the rear side panels and a centre positioned subwoofer in the boot- a small car with a mighty big sound. Somehow the person who buys the new Abarth will have more of a focus on performance rather than sound.

Carlo Abarth, the Austrian who moved to Italy to design motorbikes, would be rightly proud of the cars that bear his name today. In 1971 he sold Abarth to Fiat, he did act as CEO for a number of years, finally he moved back to Austria.

Ian Lynas


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