Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari Review

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Test: Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari Test: Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari Test: Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari

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Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari Review
Test: Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari

 

Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari

Some of you will take a look at the picture above, then glance at the price at the bottom and immediately declare the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari the most over-priced commodity since Facebook went public.

Viewed in purely rational, objective terms, you're probably right. But those with $70K to blow on a tricked-up Fiat 500 probably aren't considering it as an everyday car. In fact, it was initially only going to be sold through Ferrari dealers to existing Ferrari owners and, let's face it, to your average Ferrari buyer, $70,000 isn't a car, it's an options list.

But such was the demand for the Tributo that it has been made available to all. Unbelievably, over 100 have been sold with only very limited stock remaining. Viewed as a third, fifth or 10th car, the Tributo makes sense - almost.

So what justifies the steep sticker price? Well, the amount of differentiation from the Abarth 500 donor car might surprise you. The 1.4-litre turbo four is tweaked to deliver 132kW/250Nm; the five-speed gearbox gets an electronically-controlled clutch with gears shifted via paddles behind the wheel; the 280mm front discs feature four-piston Brembo calipers, and the dampers are sourced from Koni.

Carbon-shelled seats save 10kg over the standard items and the sexy black weave has been liberally applied to the B-pillars, side mirrors, dashboard and the gearbox controls, which are buttons that select neutral, reverse, and switch between auto and manual modes, just like a Ferrari!

The net result of all these upgrades is a driving experience which is… hilarious. If there's a more amusing car currently on sale, I've yet to drive it.

Fire up the Tributo and it settles into the even blare that characterises flat-plane-crank Ferrari V8s. Give it some throttle and the noise builds to an eager growl. It's a great little engine, easily capable of overwhelming the 205/40R17 Michelin Pilot Exalto front tyres. Rev it out to its 6500rpm redline, pull the right-hand paddle for another gear and a vicious 'CRACK' escapes the quad tailpipes, which seems ridiculous in a Fiat 500. It's automotive theatre at its finest.

As you'd expect, the featherweight (1035kg) Abarth is eager and agile when you reach a few corners, which is just as well because the ride is awful. The automated manual gearbox isn't great either - though it's no worse than the unit in, say, a Ferrari 360 Modena - but it's worth the compromise for the novelty value...

...which kind of sums up the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari. It's about as sensible and rational as having a Bengal tiger as a household pet. But, like having a big cat share your living room, life will never be boring again.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Fiat Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari

 

ENGINE: 1368cc 4cyl, DOHC, 16v, turbocharger

POWER: 132kW 5500rpm

TORQUE: 250Nm @ 3000rpm

WEIGHT: 1035kg

GEARBOX:  5-speed sequential

0-100km/h: 6.9sec (claimed)

TOP SPEED: 225km/h (claimed)

PRICE: $69,990

 

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