It's been around for 14 years but the Italian brand insists there is still a market for it.
The supermini hot hatch, a once-prominent segment, is dying, yet the Abarth 595 and 695 are holding on to the chains of life with impressive determination. The Abarth brand was removed from the USA together with the discontinuation of the Fiat 500 but if it were still here, its only competitor would be the slightly larger Mini Cooper S.
Sticking to its guns in its home region, the niche Italian performance division has decided to treat its spirited hatch range to yet another update before it switches things up in 2024. One would think that after 14 years of production it would be a good idea to put the product to rest. To no one's surprise, barely anything has been changed for the 2022 model year. What the brand has revised are the trim levels and standard features.
The Abarth 595 range will now be available in just two models producing different power outputs from its turbocharged gasoline 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Kicking things off is the base 595 with a power output of 160 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. This is bested by the Abarth 695 which delivers 178 hp and 184 lb-ft. The hardtop and cabriolet body styles have also been maintained.
New for this model is the introduction of seven different performance packs that owners can specify to create a truly bespoke Italian hot hatch. Most of these will only add cosmetic highlights to the appearance but there are some features available that can improve the car's dynamic prowess but it's nothing that hasn't already been offered before.
Available only for the Abarth 695 is its Racing Style Pack that includes an adjustable rear spoiler with 12 available positions up to a 60-degree angle. At its maximum setting, Abarth says 93 pounds of force can be generated at 124 mph. If it is a more elegant look that you're after, the Abarth 595 Turismo pack offers satin-chrome door mirror covers, 17-inch Granturismo alloy wheels, and black or brown interior leather upholstery.
The top-of-the-range Abarth 695 Competizione pack does its best to bring out the modest Italian performance car's true racing heritage with the inclusion of a Record Monza Sovrapposto exhaust system. For enhanced grip levels, owners can also choose a mechanical limited-slip differential but this is not compatible with the sequential automated manual transmission.
Considering that Stellantis has a goal of electrifying its entire portfolio in Europe, the fact that this model has not been put out to pastures yet is impressive.
The third-generation Fiat 500e was a signifier of the brand's commitment to transition into a fully electric brand by 2030 but for some reason, it is still sold alongside its previous-generation ICE counterpart in select markets. Locally, the only model battling it out for the brand is the Fiat 500X crossover.