In 2009, Fiat tuner Abarth got a crazy idea: work with Ferrari to build the world’s fastest Fiat 500, then put it into limited production at a cost-be-damned price just under $50,000. The result was the Fiat 500 Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari, and the Italian tuner soon found that the stratospheric price was no barrier to sales. Since the car’s launch in July 2010, some 1,300 examples have been delivered to customers.
That car may have been a tough act to follow, except for the tried and true practice of Italian automakers: there’s always more sales to be had by offering a “Competizione” version. Enter the 2012 Abarth 695 Competizione, which will make its world debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. Like the original 695 Tributo, the Competizione puts out an impressive 180 horsepower from its 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. It also features four-piston Brembo brakes and a stiffer, track-ready suspension.
What you don’t get is a back seat. Instead, there’s a competition-ready roll cage, painted in the same Grigio Competizione Opaco finish as the exterior. Light weight is the order of the day, and the Sabelt racing seats feature carbon-fiber shells, with leather and Alcantara seating surfaces. The dash is carbon fiber, too, just in case you need reminding that this is no ordinary Fiat 500.
Just like a Ferrari, you can have any transmission you’d like, as long as it’s a paddle-shifted automatic. Unlike row-it-yourself automatic gearboxes from other manufacturers, the Abarth unit really does speed up gear changes. For weekends, the transmission features a “Track” mode that forgoes comfort for performance; should you choose to drive the Competizione on a daily basis, there’s a “Street” mode for commuting to and from your office.
Abarth hasn’t yet priced the 695 Competizione, but expect it to cost even more than the 695 Tributo’s starting price of $47,000. It’s a moot point anyway, since we won’t be seeing the Abarth 695 Competizione on these shores any time soon.