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First look: Fiat builds Ferrari-inspired 500 super-hatch

Racing red: The Ferrari-inspired Fiat 500 Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari packs 134kW.

Fiat’s 500 Abarth reaches new heights with red-hot 695 ‘Tributo Ferrari’

14 Sep 2009

FIAT has turned out another limited sports edition of its reborn 500 hatchback from its high-performance Abarth division, this time milking the Italian manufacturer’s ownership of supercar marque Ferrari.

Debuting at this week’s Frankfurt motor show, the Fiat 500 Abarth 695 ‘Tributo Ferrari’ takes the 120kW 1.4-litre Turbo T-Jet petrol engine seen in the Abarth Esseesse version to new heights – 180bhp (134kW) – and combines this with a new C510 five-speed sequential-manual gearbox (complete with paddle gearshift) that can send the red-hot pocket rocket from 0-100km/h in less than seven seconds. Maximum speed is listed at 225km/h.

60 center imageAs with the Esseesse, peak power occurs at 5750rpm and maximum torque remains at 230Nm at 3300rpm. Extra performance, and a more inspirational note over 3000rpm, derives from a ‘Record Monza’ variable back-pressure dual-mode exhaust – a feature that also serves to rekindle the relationship between Ferrari and Abarth, the latter having designed a number of exhausts for race and road cars built at Maranello over the decades.

The Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari also harks back to 1953, when the two names were entwined with the Ferrari 166/250 MM Abarth.

Further improving acceleration, the hot hatch is fitted with 205/40-section Z-rated performance tyres on Ferrari-inspired 17-inch ‘ET 35’ alloy wheels.

The front strut/rear torsion beam suspension has been lowered, and stiffer shock absorbers have been fitted, while the Brembo braking package includes 285mm ventilated multi-section discs with fixed four-piston callipers at the front and 240mm discs with floating single-piston callipers at the rear. HP 1000 high-performance front brake pads are also used.

A range of emotive Ferrari design elements include Scuderia Red paint, carbon-fibre wing mirrors, Xenon headlights and rear air intakes finished in Racing Grey.

The cabin has lightweight ‘Abarth Corsa by Sabelt’ sports seats trimmed in black leather and with a shell and seatbase made from carbon-fibre. Black leather with red inserts is also used on the steering wheel, while the Jaeger-designed instrument panel draws inspiration from Ferrari road cars.

The footwells are covered in non-slip aluminium and the racing pedals are personalised with the Abarth Scorpion logo. Unique scuff plates and a badge with the vehicle series number are also included.

The Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari’s release in Australia is doubtful as Fiat has demanded that separate retail outlets be provided for its performance sub-brand – a requirement that has suspended the launch of 500 and Punto Abarth versions here, despite importer Ateco Automotive’s efforts to receive local design rule certification for them.

A 500C Abarth is due to emerge in 2011.

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