New 2021 Abarth 695 Esseesse proves age is just a number
It is quite incredible to think the little Abarth 500 has been with us since 2008. Yep, this teeny Italian hot hatch has seen decades and counting.
Equally mind-blowing is the fact that it shares its basic underpinnings with the second-generation Fiat Panda that debuted back in 2003. In a world where a new Audi A3 seems to come out every other month, the comparatively long lives of the Abarth and its tamer 500 sibling beggar belief.
To prove there's still life in the old dog yet, FCA has unveiled the feisty new Abarth 695 Esseesse. The scorpion with the most sting in its tail, this flagship model hits the road with a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine tuned to deliver 134kW and 250Nm worth of torque.
According to Fiat, these figures will see the 695 Esseesse race to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds and onwards to a maximum speed of 225km/h. Power is sent to the front wheels via an old school five-speed manual transmission. A five-speed robotised sequential transmission with shift paddles is available on request.
A lightweight aluminium bonnet and bespoke Akrapovic exhaust system means the new 695 Esseesse is 10kg lighter than the current 595 Competizione, but still not quite as feathery as the stripped-out and ultra-rare 695 Biposto.
Other unique modifications include stiffer springs, uprated Koni dampers and meaty Brembo brake calipers nestling behind white 17-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels with red centre caps. An adjustable rear roof spoiler offers up to 42kg of extra aerodynamic load. Customers are able to choose from two exterior colours – Scorpion Black and Campovolo Grey (definitely our choice).
Inside, the familiar Abarth interior has been sexed-up with racy Sabelt sports seats, red seatbelts, Alcantara stitching across the dashboard and lots of carbon fibre inserts.
Production of the new Abarth 695 Esseesse is limited to 1,390 examples (695 in each of the two colours). Whether any will make their way to SA remains to be seen.