“The 595 Competizione sits at the heart of Abarth’s range, offering drivers the chance to experience race-bred performance in a car that is incredibly refined”
Maurizio Consalvo, Abarth Head of Product Marketing and Technical Development
Great performance cars are all about duality. When the open road demands it, their handling is fast, sharp and responsive. In a more contained environment, such as crowded city streets, they evolve to become more softer, more cosseting and relaxing to drive. The Abarth 595 Competizione is the epitome of this philosophy.
While an extreme Abarth model – such as the 695 Biposto – offers the ultimate interpretation of a stripped-down racing car for the road, the 595 Competizione blends no-less stunning race-bred performance with refined comfort and luxurious style. It’s the best of both worlds.
“It’s all about balance,” says Abarth’s Head of Technical Development, Maurizio Consalvo. “All Abarth drivers want precise, tactile handling, with an aggressive power-to-weight ratio. However, the more extreme 695 Biposto is often the second car for a driver – only used occasionally. The 595 Competizione could be a driver’s only car, driven every day. That means something engaging to drive with great handling, but that’s accessible with a degree of comfort.”
In the 595 Competizione, two systems adapt to the way you’re driving. Firstly, the optional ‘robotised’ sequential gearbox – a rarity on a car in this segment. It offers the race-inspired sensation of a dynamic driver-selected sequential gearshift, with all the comfort of an automatic.
In the right mood and on the right road, the driver can select ‘Manual’ and squeeze the fingertip paddles behind the steering wheel for a more involved gear-change. Press the ‘Sport’ button, and you get increased throttle response and torque, giving the car a more aggressive personality. In traffic the driver can turn the gearbox to ‘Auto’, sit back and let the car’s electronic brain do the work.
“A lot of people love the ease of an automatic for city commuting, but still want that racing sensation for the open road,” says Maurizio. “It helps ensure the different personalities of the car fit the mood of the driver – offering them a choice to drive how they want, when they want.”
The second part of the 595 Competizione equation is Frequency Selective Damping, a race-inspired suspension solution which blends taut hot-hatch handling with everyday comfort, practicality and refinement.
“In racing, no two race tracks are identical, with ever-changing characteristics of grip or smoothness,” says Maurizio. “We’ve developed a suspension that can separate high frequency movements, such as tiny ridges in the road, and low-frequency movements, such as bumps. It acts differently, depending on the situation. Hit a tram rail in the centre of Turin and the shock absorber valve opens to absorb peak compression. On a twisty road with a consistently rough surface, the suspension adapts to maintain optimum contact with the asphalt.”
The 595 Competizione’s stylish interior also reflects its dual nature. One of the most distinctive elements is the central instrument panel with its analogue turbo dial and large, high-tech central LCD display behind the steering wheel.
Press the throttle and the rev counter and throttle percentage displays dance in time to the movement of your feet on the pedals, while the g-meter shows your acceleration, braking and cornering forces.
“With the 595 Competizione’s instrument cluster, we wanted something more performance-led,” says Abarth’s Chief Designer Ruben Weinberg. “A car as unique as an Abarth needs a very special identity, and we want that to be present in every detail. You live with an Abarth in a different way to other cars, and that changes the way you design the interior. Every element needs to be about a spiritual visualisation of the car, which – with an Abarth – is all about performance.”