Words & photos - Daniel Bevis
Fiat have been doing sterling work leveraging the retro credentials of the iconic Nuova 500 to fill Europe's roads with their cheeky new-wave hatchback. Since the model's launch in 2007 it's become an everyday sight, and countless spec levels and variants have led to a thriving enthusiasm for sporting iterations. It's helpful, then, that Fiat own the rights to the Abarth name, as that really ramps the retro cred up a notch...
What you're seeing here, as you may have deduced, is no ordinary 500. Indeed, it's not even an ordinary Abarth 500. No, the 695 Biposto (which translates as 'two-seater') is something a little bit scary. Even if it wasn't plastered with lairy graphics, the statement of intent would be obvious - run-of-the-mill hatchbacks don't have polycarbonate windows with sliders, or whacking great Brembos, or exhausts that gape quite so wantonly. What manner of beast is this...?
Well, the intention was to create "the most Abarth of all Abarths". An extensive weight-saving program has brought the thing under a tonne - 997kg, in fact - while the turbocharged 1.4-litre T-Jet engine has been teased out to 190bhp; it'll run 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds, and make a fruity noise while doing so. There's a hungry front-mounted intercooler, a Zender aero package, Extreme Shox race suspension, lightweight OZ alloys with titanium bolts, titanium Akrapovic exhaust, carbon-fibre dash, Bacci Romano dog ring gearbox, Sabelt bucket seats and 4-point harnesses, AIM data-logger, BMC induction... the spec list really is phenomenal. It's an uncompromising thing, transcending the realm of the hot hatch and moving into something far racier than you'd ever expect the dinky 500 to be.
All of these high-end goodies don't come cheap (expect a price that begins with a three, or maybe even - gulp - a four), but you'll have the quickest little Abarth out there and it'll come pre-tuned with a warranty! Can't really argue with that, can you?
Spotted at Salon Privé 2014 - click here for more photos.