It might be small, but the new Abarth 695 ‘Tributo 131 Rally’ special is packing LARGE amounts of personality.
And it adds yet another model to an Abarth line-up that’s already crammed with grin-inducing lease vehicles.
Alongside the various 595 models in the Abarth range, including the 165 hp F595, there’s already a clutch of more potent 695 models - the regular 695 and the 695 Esseesse, the latter of which is inspired by the 1964 model of the same name.
Now the Abarth 695 Tributo 131 Rally is muscling-in on the same retro heritage that the Esseesse is tapping - and you absolutely cannot accuse it of being a shrinking violet.
First thing’s first - where does this new hot-hatch get its name from?
Abarth reminds us that its history goes way back to the Abarth 131 Rally, which debuted in 1976 in Group 4. The 131 racked-up six years in the World Rally Championship between 1976-1981, scoring victories at no less than 18 International Rallies. The Abarth 131 also drifted its way to three World Constructors’ Champions - in 1977, 1978 and 1980 - and scooped two FIA ‘Cup for Rally Drivers’ titles with Markku Alén and a World Drivers' Champions with Walter Röhrl.
This new and improved version - like the other 695 variants - gets a 1.4 litre T-jet petrol engine producing power of 180 hp and 250 Nm of torque at 3,000rpm.
Its maximum speed is 140mph and acceleration from 0 to 62mph takes just 6.7 seconds - a shade quicker than a Mini Cooper S.
There are Koni FSD shock absorbers on both axles and a sporty braking system boasting Brembo calipers with four pistons on the front.
Black 17 inch alloys catch the eye, as does a shouty Record Monza Sovrapposto exhaust system featuring four aggressive-looking vertically-stacked pipes at the rear.
There’s also a variable spoiler at the back end, too, adjustable to 12 positions and designed to both improve cornering stability while also staying nimble on the road. Abarth tells us that when the spoiler is set at a 60 degree angle, for example, there’s an extra 42kg of downforce at a speed of 124 mph.
And then there’s the way the Abarth 695 Tributo 131 Rally looks.
An Abarth spokesperson says it has a ‘unique and refined look, with specific references to its historical predecessor, such as the new bicolour three-layer Blue Rally glossy livery, which reinterprets its original colour in a contemporary key.’
The spokesperson adds: “The Abarth 695 Tributo 131 Rally is the first Scorpion vehicle to contain ‘Easter Eggs’ - tiny stylistic gems which the designers hide to surprise customers - like the silhouette of the 131 Rally engraved on the lower part of the car door, on the Alcantara dashboard and on the headrests of the new seats.”
Inside the cabin, lease customers can expect Sabelt fabric seats with blue inserts and stitching - inspired by the rally car it is seeking to emulate.
The bad news is that only 695 units will be launched worldwide.
The Abarth 695 Tributo 131 Rally is priced from £32,325 to purchase outright, while you can lease an Abarth 695 from around £295 per month, or the 595 from around £210 per month, making it one of the most affordable hot-hatches going.
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