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Performance Fiat 500 pushes hot hatch to its limits

By raccars Published

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The fastest iteration of Abarth’s take on the Fiat 500 is on its way and will sell for £36,000 in the UK.

The latest generation of the Fiat 500 has been the hippest hatchback on the market for many years, with the special Abarth editions taking its stylishness and practically and adding a fair degree of raw power into the mix. Now the latest adaptation from this famed tuning house, known as the 695 Biposto Record, has been revealed. And it has been grabbing headlines not just because of its performance potential, but also because of its surprisingly high asking price.

TopGear.com revealed that the 695 Biposto Record will be sold for £36,610 to anyone in the UK who feels that they can justify spending that amount of money on a hot hatchback. In fact this is a higher asking price than those associated with the vast majority of its rivals, which means that it will perhaps limit its appeal to die hard Fiat 500 enthusiasts who are determined to shun the products of any other manufacturer in order to get their hands on it.

A lightweight powerhouse

The engine that sits under the double-dimpled bonnet of the 695 Biposto Record is a 1.4 litre petrol power plant with four cylinders which develops 187 brake horsepower. This on its own is not entirely unique, as Abarth has harnessed similar units in the other hot versions of the Fiat 500. What makes it special is that this car has been stripped of a significant number of parts in order to reduce its weight to just under a tonne.

In fact there are no rear seats whatsoever, since they have been removed to ensure that the weight is as low as possible. Meanwhile the standard front seats of the Fiat 500 have been ditched and replaced instead with body-hugging bucket seats fashioned from ultra-lightweight carbon fibre. The list of weight saving decisions made during the design and construction of this car is really quite long and the end result is rather impressive. It not only has a top speed of 142mph but will be able to reach 62mph from a standing start in only 5.9 seconds. All of this has been achieved by a tiny city supermini with a 1.4 litre engine.

The competition

For Abarth the biggest issue facing its latest Fiat 500 creation is the fact that it will be going up against some fairly stiff competition in the hot hatch market. And on paper it may not have as much to offer as some of its rivals, at least when it comes to performance and price.

The BMW M235i, for example, costs just over £1500 less and has significantly more power under the bonnet, with 326bhp at its disposal allowing it to shave just over a second off the Fiat’s 0-62mph time. VW’s Golf R is even cheaper, costing almost £5500 less and having almost 300bhp on tap. The latest iteration of the Ford Focus RS tops the lot, coming in at under £30,000 and outdoing even BMW’s hot hatch thanks to its 345bhp turbocharged engine.

But the point of the 695 Biposto Record is not to win the numbers game against its competitors. Or more specifically, it need only win one on one count because it is going to be a rather exclusive and collectible variant of the 500, rather than a mass market product. The firm is going to release just 133 units before moving onto its next project. This, for some, may well justify the steep asking price.

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