ON THE ROAD – IAN LYNAS PREVIEWS A VERY SPECIAL NEW ABARTH
I make no apology, like so many others, in being an Abarth fan and now comes news of a very special new edition which will be limited to just 695 examples. The Abarth 695 Tributo 131 Rally pays homage to the Abarth 131 Rally which officially last competed some forty years ago.
The new edition follows on from the launch of the 2022 Abarth model range. The 131 Rally is one car which managed to capture the imagination of an entire generation of motor sport fans and it is fitting on the 40th anniversary that the Scorpion brand honours the great car. The new edition will take its place as the Abarth range topper and as competition has always been part of the brand’s DNA, it has been track tested to increase performance and reliability. There is no doubt in my mind that those who are lucky to obtain one of these cars will be assured of an adrenaline filled driving experience. Beneath the bonnet rests a 1.4 litre T-jet engine which delivers a very useful 180bhp with 250Nm of torque at 3,00rpm. Looking at the performance figures, rest to 100kph (62mph) in 6.7 seconds and where legal on to a top speed of 225kph (140mph). So to get the best from this pocket rocket, you best book a track day at your local race circuit. I suspect that, like some of its stablemates, the suspension will be firm as it is equipped with Koni FSD shock absorbers on both axles and a dedicated braking system which includes aluminium Brembo callipers and four pistons on the front,305mm and 240mm ventilated discs on the rear. The equipment line-up is completed by black seventeen inch alloy wheels with a diamond cut finish and a Record Monza Sovrapposto exhaust system, a sound to warm the heart. This is an evolution on the Record Monza system. The innovative spoiler can be adjusted in no fewer than twelve positions, with an inclination from 0-60 degrees, to improve cornering stability and to also provide greater reactivity on mixed roads. To provide an example, at 200kph (124mph) and at a 60 degree angle the aerodynamic load increases to up to 42kg.
Without a doubt this new special edition has a unique and refined look, with specific references to its predecessor, such as the new bi-colour three layer Blue Rally gloss livery. The Abarth 695 Tributo 131 Rally is the first Scorpion badged vehicle to contain Easter Eggs, tiny stylistic gems which the designers have hidden to surprise owners, like the silhouette of the 131 Rally engraved on the lower part of the car door, on the Alcantara dash and on the headrests of the new seats. The newcomer is embellished with a roof and uprights in Scorpion Black and the same on the mirror caps and some details in the interior. Also Blue Rally and Record Grey monochromatic liveries will also be available. The interior features Sabelt fabric seats with blue insets and stitching inspired by those of the historic car but very much reinterpreted in a modern way.
For me, this newcomer brings back memoires of the Abarth 131 Rally which made its debut in Group 4 back in 1976. Its enviable track record included six years in the World Rally Championship (1976-1981) and victories in eighteen International Rallies, three World Constructors’ Champions (1977, 1978 and 1980), two FIA Cup for Rally Drivers titles with Markku Alen and a World Drivers’ Champions with Walter Rohrl.