6 July 2021

Abarth 595 Competizione 2021 Car Review

The new Abarth 595 Series 4 has arrived in New Zealand, and it provides a new and exciting level of performance to celebrate over 70 years of Abarth racing history.

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Abarth 595 Competizione 2021
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Abarth 595 Competizione 2021
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Abarth 595 Competizione 2021
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Abarth 595 Competizione 2021
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Abarth 595 Competizione 2021
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Abarth 595 Competizione 2021
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Abarth 595 Competizione 2021
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Abarth 595 Competizione 2021

Racing legend Carlo Abarth used to smash records from the 1920s onwards, enjoying a long successful racing career, as well as a reputation for modifying vehicles. His passion was for small vehicles with two or four wheels, and Abarth vehicles were renowned for being high-performing and powerful, but first and foremost small and agile just like a scorpion (which is the Abarth moniker).

If Bumblebee from Transformers had a baby, then this would definitely be it - this little Abarth 595 Competizione has to be the most accurate definition of pocket rocket or hot hatch we’ve reviewed to date. We think it’s the most fun you can have in a new car for under $40,000.

It’s loud, quick, and stands out on the road in Modena Yellow. It has a large turbo boost gauge perched in the dash, and is a real head turner. ‘Boy racer’ additions like a Momo racing steering wheel, aftermarket air filters, suspension changes, and loud exhausts are already installed and ready to go in this hatch.

Hopping inside and turning the key in the ignition (there is no start/stop button) is a feeling we missed, and hearing the roar as the car fired into life brought back a sense of nostalgia.

The drive

The daily work commute was a little uncomfortable in the stop start traffic, as the 595 just wanted to get out and stretch its little legs. Getting out and driving on the slightly damp Waitakere back roads on the weekend, on the other hand, was immense fun, and is what this car was made for.

Manoeuvring around the tight corners was a breeze, the changing of the gears both up and down is hard to explain but it felt mechanical and was a unique experience compared to other new cars on offer. It’s not a full manual, but there are paddle shifters and an Automatic/Manual mode selection. You also have push buttons instead of an actual gear selector for switching between Drive, Reverse and Neutral (for when you park). In true race car fashion, you can hear the ‘clunk’ as the transmission changes into the gear you select before you start to drive.

Driving an Italian automated manual-style transmission is part of the fun that the Abarth 595 provides. You are told to ‘drive it like a manual’ but it’s an auto and has no clutch. So, as you accelerate and want the vehicle to change gear, you simply lift your foot of the accelerator and then apply it again and all going well, you’ll find yourself in the next gear. Failing to catch the gear change results in a slightly uncomfortable drop in acceleration as the car does the change for you.

The Abarth 595 Competizione has a fuel efficiency rating of 6.0 L/100km, and a CO2 efficiency rating of 139g/km.

The frills

Here are some things that make this car stand out:

  • 17‐inch “Corsa” alloy wheels
  • Tar Cold Grey external mirrors with power adjustment
  • Tar Cold Grey finishing (front door handle, back door handle, front and back badge support)
  • Tar Cold Grey front dam and reader bumper insert
  • Tar Cold Grey “Abarth” side stickers
  • Red painted brake calipers (front Brembo)
  • Dual Mode Quad tip “Record Monza” exhaust
  • Leather sport seating in Abarth Black Leather

No frills

The Abarth 595 utilises a fantastic infotainment system called Uconnect with a seven-inch touchscreen, which features integrated steering wheel controls, while the Bluetooth and the Voice Command system enables drivers to manage their phone safely and allows audio streaming and compatible smartphone mirroring, but other than this, the car is a no frill affair.

While most of the new vehicles we see nowadays are laden with the latest assist features, this one simply isn’t. There’s no Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep or Monitoring systems which form a large part of achieving good ANCAP crash test results. Because of this, the Abart 595 Competizione had not received an ANCAP rating at time of writing.

All the best things

The convertible model is actually a retractable soft-top, which is (thankfully) electronic. You can partially pull back the curtain to a sunroof style or push it all the way back to the size of an open panoramic roof.

The Abarth 595 Competizione comes standard with front & rear Koni Shock Absorbers and a carbon fiber/Alcantara® steering wheel with viewfinder and new controls, which enhance the performance of the vehicle.

From 0‐100 kilometres (km/h) in only 6.7 seconds, the Abarth 595 Competizione packs 132kW under its little domed bonnet. Other standard features include four‐piston front Brembo brakes, with BMC Panel Air Filter, red painted calipers (front and rear), a dual mode ‘Record Monza’ exhaust, and has a Garrett turbo.


So if you thought all the fun ‘drivers’ cars have gone soft or disappeared, this one is truly alive and well. There’s also a slightly cheaper five-speed hard top, and a six-speed convertible manual options available, which we hope to get the opportunity to review sooner rather than later.

At a glance


Fiat Abarth 595 Competizione


1.4-litre turbo petrol


From $39,990 +ORC ($45,490 +ORC as tested)

ANCAP safety rating

Not yet rated

Power and Torque

132kW, 250Nm


DuaLogic Automatic

Fuel economy/CO2

6.0L/100km, 139g/km

Towing capacity



2WD (Front)

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload


Safety systems

  • SRS airbags (driver, passenger, front and rear sides, front and rear side curtain)
  • Three-angle reverse camera with dynamic parking aid
  • Emergency stop signal
  • Vehicle Stability Assist
  • Agile Handling Assist
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Anti-lock Braking System and Brake Assist
  • Traction Control

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