Few cars are as skilled at avoiding the automotive grim reaper as the Abarth 500. This little scamp has been buzzing around, making a racket from the same 1.4-litre inline-four turbo for 13 years now, using a platform (the Fiat Panda’s) that’s even older, and yet it isn’t going anywhere just yet. In fact, Abarth has just revealed a new special edition version.
‘New’ might be a bit of a stretch. It uses a name we’ve seen before, Esseessee (and yes, we have got the right number of Es and Ss in there), plus the surprisingly large adjustable wing first seen on the 70th Anniversario complete with ‘ABARTH’ stamped into it in giant letters.
It’s fully adjustable through zero to 60 degrees, helping you find the exact drag/downforce balance you want. Tilted at 60 degrees, which makes the 695 look a bit like it’s wearing one of those little caps road cyclists love, it generates 42kg of downforce.
At the other end is a new “dual-hunched” aluminium bonnet which is 25 per cent lighter than the steel part it replaces. Factoring in the new Akrapovič exhaust, you’re looking at a total weight reduction of 10kg relative to the 595 Competizione.
Under that bonnet and loudly parping out of those exhaust pipes is the usual 1.4-litre ‘T Jet’ inline-four turbo engine, here developing 178bhp. Shift through the first few ratios of the five-speed manual transmission (yep, still no six-speed ‘box in this thing) fast enough, and 0-62mph will arrive in 6.7 seconds. With the spoiler set at zero degrees, the top speed is 140mph.
On the chassis front, Abarth has added Koni FSD shock absorbers plus four-piston brake calipers which are, of course, painted red. The shiny stoppers go rather nicely with lots of white accents that have been liberally spread around the bodywork.
Inside, there are Sabelt bucket seats, a carbon fibre gearknob, a laser-cut 695 Essessee log on the dashboard, and quite a lot of Alcantara.
Abarth hasn’t said how much all of this costs just yet, but given the kind of punchy full cash prices charged for these special 595/695 models, don’t be surprised if it’s a figure over £30,000. Production will be limited to 1390 units.