Editorial

Fiat almost just made an awesome homologation car

Fiat hasn’t always been a much sought-after car brand here in the United States and it has a very limited line-up. The Italian automaker sells small, quirky cars here in the States which are pretty decent for driving around in cities with narrow roads, heavy traffic, and tight parking spots. Take the example of New York City- it’s a crowded city, with traffic snarls almost everywhere, every day, and finding a parking spot is quite a struggle. So if you live in such a city, Fiat’s tiny cars like the 500 could just be apt- it can accommodate 2 people well, zip past through the traffic, and deliver good fuel economy numbers as well. There are plenty of Fiat’s for sale in NY and you could find many listings on car buying websites.

 

However, Fiat isn’t just about making small, sedate cars. It has a crazy side as well or rather a crazy division, called Abarth. Now, Abarth is Fiat’s performance division that takes normal, sane Fiat cars, tweaks them, and builds fun-to-drive cars. And Fiat and Abarth recently unveiled yet another insanely quirky car and it has been the talk of the town ever since.

 

Fiat recently drove in an F595 Abarth special edition which is almost as good as a homologation car. The F595 Abarth special edition pays tribute to the Abarth Formula 4 racing team and also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Formula 4 racing series. It’s more of a marketing gimmick to advertise the fact that the entire Formula 4 series used an engine derived from the Fiat F595 Abarth road car. But before we dig further into the car, here’s a history lesson that would help you understand the connection between the F595 and its connection to motorsport.

 

The present-day Formula 4 series, which acts as a feeder series to the higher F3, F2, and F1 championships, was originally started and designed by Carlo Abarth back in 1971 as Formula Italia. Formula 4 or Formula Italia has always employed powertrains developed by Fiat but in 2014, the F4 series made Abarth its technical partner, and hence all the participants in the F4 series had to use the Abarth built 1.4Ls, turbo, 4 pot engine from the Fiat 595. So basically, the F4 racing cars use a streetcar engine and the new F595 gets the race car tune and is something that comes closest to a ‘street-legal homologation car’. Generally, a homologation car is something that gets an engine from a track car but it’s the other way around in this case.

 

The F595 uses a 1.4L, inline 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that makes 165 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque and is coupled to a 5-speed manual box as standard but you can also have it with a 5-speed automated manual. The engine employs a Garrett turbocharger and has a compression ratio of 9:1 along with a high-performance BMC filter. The tiny hatch is capable of doing 0-60 mph in about 7.3 seconds. Now, these numbers might not look very impressive but they are too good considering the car’s shape and size.

 

Abarth has also made certain other modifications as well for the F595. The car gets KONI shock absorbers with frequency selective damping for better control and agility around the race track. Further, it gets Record Monza Sovrapposto active exhaust with 4 vertically stacked tailpipes, both on each side. And these exhaust tips are 100% real and Fiat hasn’t faked them as many automakers do. The exhaust tips can be manually controlled and you can make your engine roar louder by pressing the Scorpion button on the dashboard. All four wheels get ventilated and perforated brake rotors for better-stopping abilities. Fiat has tried to build a proper pocket rocket.

 

And the story doesn’t end here, the Abarth F595 also gets a good list of equipment on the inside. It gets the UConnect infotainment system along with a 7-inch touchscreen display. The system also includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the DAB radio system. So, even if this is a race-spec edition, Fiat hasn’t stripped it down of essential features and they understand the fact that most owners will be driving this one around in the city only.

 

The F595 sits on the top of all the other 595 models that Fiat has on sale. However, Fiat no longer sells the 500 and 595 models here in the United States. The 124 Spider and the 500X are the only two Fiat models that are currently sold in the US market and there are no signs of the 500 coming back to the States at least for the next couple of years.

 

Production of the F595 is yet to begin and Fiat is accepting orders for cars. The car is offered in Europe, in two body styles, hardtop and convertible, and with two gearbox options. Pricing for the Abarth F595 starts at around €20,300 which roughly translates to $24,000 by current exchange rates. You’ll have to get this shipped if you live in the United States as Fiat has no plans of selling the car anywhere outside Europe.

 

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