Drop of mad­ness, 50 years on

Ar­barth road-and-track reprise is on Fiat’s wish-list for Aus­tralia

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - NEIL DOWLING neil.dowling@cars­guide.com.au

IT IS the only car in its class to switch neatly be­tween road and track and Italy’s pocket-rocket Abarth wants to do it in Aus­tralia.

The 695 Bi­posto is “be­ing looked at’’ for in­clu­sion into Aus­tralia, says Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­bile Aus­tralia boss Veron­ica Johns.

It is sup­posed to be the clos­est you’ll get to a rac­ing Abarth, push­ing 140kW via the front wheels for a 0-100km/h sprint of only 5.9secs.

The 695 was re­vealed at the Geneva mo­tor show — 50 years af­ter its an­ces­tor also made an ap­pear­ance at Geneva with its then po­tent 22kW en­gine. Abarth uses a se­quen­tial adap­ta­tion of a man­ual gear­box (not a robo­tised man­ual) with seven ra­tios for what one com­pany rep classed as “a drop of mad­ness’’. It also has a me­chan­i­cal limited-slip dif­fer­en­tial.

Bi­posto stands for “two seats’’ — the rear seat is re­moved, as is the ra­dio. Weight is fur­ther cut to 997kg as the win­dow side glass is made of poly­car­bon­ate and most body pan­els are car­bon-fi­bre com­pos­ite.

The body is low­ered, the springs are taut and the dampers are de­signed for track work. In­side, the Abarth gets a TFT dis­play for the driver and an LCD screen in the cen­tre con­sole.

The 695 is the next step up from the ex­ist­ing 595 and is likely to sell for about $75,000.

Euro­pean buy­ers even get the chance to learn how to min­imise prangs while max­imis­ing fun at the Abarth Driv­ing Academy.

Show-stopper: The Abarth

695 Bi­posto at Geneva

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