Abarth 695 review
The Abarth 695 is the sportiest version of the Abarth 595 hot hatch. It’s faster, firmer and more fun, but top-spec Biposto models are almost impossible to live with every day.
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The Abarth 695 is a faster, more focussed version of the Abarth 595 that’s been designed to be as much fun to drive as possible. It’s worth considering if you’ll be spending more time on the racetrack than nipping to the shops, but many other equally fast hot hatches are easier to live with.
The Abarth 695 costs a few thousand pounds more than a top-spec Abarth 595, but you’d be hard-pressed to tell where your extra cash has gone. That’s not to say it looks dull – you still get an aggressive body kit, big alloy wheels and plenty of gaping air vents which make the Abarth 695 look much more like a baby racing car than most hot hatches.
How the Abarth 695 looks inside will depend on whether you go for a stripped-out Biposto model or a more luxurious Rivale version. The former comes with some body-hugging seats and a racy steering wheel, but that’s pretty much it – you don’t even get a stereo and the back seats have been replaced by a big metal brace. Tough luck kids, you’ll have to take the bus…
It’s a different story in Rivale versions, where you get a set of sumptuous blue leather seats, a touchscreen infotainment system and a polished wooden dashboard designed to look like the hull of a classic Italian speedboat – apparently.
Sadly, space in the Rivale model’s back seats is no more generous than in the standard 595. Two kids have just enough room to get comfy but adults will find things very cramped indeed. It’s a similar story with the 695’s 185-litre boot. It’s big enough for a pair of small suitcases and some soft bags, but that’s about it.
The Abarth 695 is worth considering if you’re looking for a track-day toy that’s as fast as it is fashionable.
Chances are you won’t be using your Abarth 695 for ferrying the family around or for long cross-country jaunts. More likely you’ll be tearing down country lanes or channelling your inner Schumacher on a track day. Things that the Abarth 659 does very well.
This is thanks, in part, to its fancy suspension which makes it both lower and wider than the Abarth 595. As a result, it grips more keenly and feels even more agile as you fling it from one tight corner to another.
Sure, it comes with the same basic engine as the Abarth 595, but in 695 guise this 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol unit produces 190hp – enough to blast the little Abarth from 0-62mph in as little as 5.9 seconds in Biposto guise. As an added bonus, it sounds absolutely fantastic.
Unfortunately, everything which makes the Abarth 695 great fun on a race track also makes it pretty tiring to drive on the road. It’s noisy, bumpy and doesn’t come with any kind of driver assistance system to help make long drives a bit more bearable.
Still, if it’s a charismatic little hot hatch you’re after, few cars will make you smile more readily than the frankly bonkers Abarth 695.