No time for opinions to get in the way, there’s a race to be done.
For a while, we thought the age of the cheap performance car had ended. Automakers like Fiat, Dodge, and Toyota had pulled cars like the 124, Challenger, and Supra from their lineups and replaced them with boring family haulers that were good on gas. And then one by one, demand and a short supply brought cars like the Supra back. Even now it’s once again possible to buy Italian performance without spending a six-figure sum on a supercar.
That means that thanks to cars like the Fiat 124 Abarth and Abarth 595 Competition, Italy is back in the races…literally. However, before these entry-level Italian hot rods can go toe to toe with foreign competitors, it’s best to see which of the two is better suited to represent the red, white, and green.
Thinking the same thing, Top Gear lined the two up for a drag race. With small four-cylinder engines manipulated by manual transmissions, the results of this race are just as dependent on the drivers as they are on the cars in play. The 124 Abarth has a horsepower deficit to its brethren, 164 ponies to the 595 Competition’s 180 horsepower, but that’s not all. Weighing in at 2,277 pounds, it’s also 159 pounds lighter than the convertible. Still, with the 124 getting rear wheel drive grip and a fast shifting driver, it may have just what it needs to lead the 595 Competition all the way to the finish line.