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Retro inspired new Abarth 695 Esseesse unleashed

This is officially the fastest Abarth you can currently get your hands on in the UK - the brand new 695 Esseesse.

Abarth 695 Esseesse front view

And if you’re a fan of motoring nostalgia, you’re in for a treat.

In case you need a history refresh, Carlo Abarth was an Italian motorbike racer who went on to establish himself as the inventor of tuning for mass production cars.

He had a close relationship with FIAT, ultimately selling Abarth to the firm in 1971. FIAT’s current owner Stellantis is still in charge of Abarth to this day.

Abarth continues to take FIAT cars and turn them into performance grin-inducers, with that all-important scorpion badge slapped on the front.

And this Abarth 695 Esseesse takes precisely the same name as a 1964 model, upon which modern designers drew inspiration.

The 1964 incarnation had a tiny 690cc and produced just 38hp, helping it to achieve a top speed of 87mph.

The current Abarth 695 Esseesse, however, isn’t quite so cute and cuddly...

Abarth 695 Esseesse side angle

Here lease customers will enjoy a powerful 1.4 T-jet engine mated to a manual transmission, delivering 180hp and 250Nm of torque at 3,000rpm.

Top speed is 140mph while acceleration from zero to 62mph takes just 6.7 seconds. That’s only marginally slower than the new Volkswagen Polo GTI or the Ford Fiesta ST. It’s also quicker than the three-door MINI Cooper S.

Another important thing to note is that Abarth has tried hard to reduce weight compared with other models in the line-up - which are all based on the FIAT 500.

Abarth 695 Esseesse taking corner

There’s a dual-hunched aluminium bonnet that reduces weight by 25 per cent compared to a normal steel bonnet. A lightweight Akrapovic exhaust also helps to reduce the car’s overall weight by 10kg compared to an Abarth 595 Competizione.

At the rear, there’s a fully adjustable rear spoiler which shifts between zero to 60°.

Why does the spoiler need to be adjustable, you ask? 

Abarth 695 Esseesse side view

An Abarth spokesperson explains: 

“At its full angle (60°) and a speed of 124mph on track, the ‘Spoiler ad Assetto Variabile’ provides for an increase in aerodynamic load up to 42kg, resulting in improved stability and responsiveness. Thanks to these enhancements, the 695 Esseesse is now the fastest model in the line-up.”

The exterior design mirrors that of the Abarth 695 Esseesse from the Sixties, complete with white details on the front and rear spoiler, mirror caps and side stickers, white 17-inch alloy wheels with red centre caps, red Brembo brake calipers, a 695 logo on the side and 695 Esseesse badge on the rear.

Those twin aluminium Akrapovic tailpipes at the rear also deliver ‘pure emotion in sound both on the road and on the track’, says Abarth.

Abarth 695 Esseesse exhaust

In the cabin there’s uprated seats with unique stitching, red seat belts, an Alcantara dashboard, and carbon fibre flourishes. There’s also a 7-inch touchscreen with built-in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a DAB digital radio.

It’ll be available to order in the coming weeks.

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Experience didn't start well, I had ordered a car offered as in stock as I was on a tight turn around with my former lease vehicle through another provider being returned. I only found out by chance of logging in that the planned delivery date had been pushed back (which would have potentially meant missing out on a holiday as no vehicle). However once Mark and the team picked up on this they truly went above and beyond to sort it out and ended up getting my vehicle delivered several days earlier than expected. Very impressed and would definitely recommend.
Kate Butler

Tuesday, 02/08/2022