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Abarth 695 Mad but fun

So I think the idea was a simple one ‘create a pocket rocket supercar’ or as Abarth tell us, make a track car for the road, start with a not so sluggish Abarth 595 and just max everything up! It’s fair to say on looks alone the Biposto gains as much in looks as it loses in weight.

At the front this little monster has a more aggressive bumper, the side gets low skirts while at the rear sprouts a diffuser and two exhausts. The aggressive bumper is replicated at the back, as well as a rear wing and the the 695 seems to sprout cooling vents everywhere. The 695 has a wider track than the 595, meaning the wheel arches flair to fit the huge 18 inch alloys.

Sitting comfortably:

The slightly mad theme continues on the inside, ‘Biposto’ means 2 seater, so thats what you get, two racing seats, so if your looking for comfort this is certainly the wrong car to look at. With no rear seats, a titanium roll cage and a four-point harness, it certainly isn’t the most comfortable place to be. However, this car isn’t meant to be comfortable.

One of the greatest options available to buyers of the 695 is a beautifully machined Dog Ring gearbox kit, which transforms the centre of the cabin. The special ‘box sits alone between the seats, cleared of all pointless features it is housed in a satisfying metal gate and nothing else. It is a thing of beauty, a long pole sprouting from the open mechanics, topped with a striking metal knob.

It make’s the car feel more like the stripped out racer it descends from. There’s even Perspex windows complete with racing air vent.

Power:

The 695 Biposto is powered by the same 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine that is used in the rest of the Abarth range, but that’s where the similarities end.

The engine produces 190bhp which enables the Biposto to race to 60mph in just 5.9 seconds. It also has 184lb ft of torque, meaning that there’s plenty of pull throughout the gears. With the exhaust note piped through a dual-stage titanium-tipped exhaust system by Akrapovic, it’s an eager little car, the valve in the exhausts provides a heavy, rasping shout when the revs get high but at slower speeds it’s closure means the sound is never intrusive. A little supercar it certainly sounds like.

 

Behind the wheel:

These little cars are supposed to be fun, and thankfully that’s exactly how Abarth have fettled the 695’s traction control. Flick it hard into a corner and the back-end will step out very willingly, allowing you to get just toward the point of no return before the electronics snap you back into line. The Abarth hangs on into the corners, gripping on with an unending enthusiasm. With both the turbo and exhaust wailing, the experience is full throughout the rev range. Each car has fully adjustable dampers, which are set up for the road but can be tuned to suit the track should a 695 live as a trackday car. Gear change on the Biposto is good but the dog ring gearbox is the star of the show. Shifts from third to fourth can be done without the clutch, but get the revs wrong and the whole car jolts as if hitting a speed bump, so might be best of leaving this trick to a racing driver!

The steering rack is the same as a standard Abarth, and definitely feels weighty enough. the Biposto can feel a bit of a weapon, only hinting at understeer when pushed too far. A front wheel drive hatch with nearly 200bhp is bound to do this, though. Because of the heavily-boosted nature of the engine, the Biposto can suffer from lag at certain times, but there has to be some trade-off between power and engine capacity. Brakes by Brembo finish off the package, giving the Biposto excellent stopping power whatever the conditions.

 

A great looking car, fun to drive and as mad as the mad hatters maddest day if pushed hard on a track, Abarth seems to have ticked the boxes when it comes to creating a race car for the road but this pocket rocket comes at a price, at over £30K it’s somewhat more than a 595 Abarth, the 695 is an investment – but then it is an awful lot more special than a standard Abarth.

If you have the money and the inclination, and you really want a short wheelbase track day hero, this is the car for you. The 695 is such good fun that we’d have one if we could find the change, if you can get hold of one, it’s an absolute riot.

 

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