The Fiat 500 is supposed to be a budget model – something you can pick up with less than twenty grand to your name. But once Abarth gets its hands on it, all bets are off. The Scorpion brand is charged with getting the most performance it can out of budget-oriented vehicles like the Cinquecento and Punto, and that’s just what it’s done with the new 695 Biposto.
Billed as the “fastest street legal Abarth ever” (quickest?) and unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, the 695 Biposto packs a 1.4-liter turbo four that’s been tuned to produce 190 horsepower – a good thirty more than the already entertaining Fiat 500 Abarth we get in the United States. With a robust power-to-weight ratio – the highest in its class, according to the Italians – the 695 Biposto can hit 62 miles per hour from a standstill in just 5.9 seconds, more than a second quicker than the US model.
Now if you saw the name Biposto and figured out that means just two seats, you’re spot on: in its campaign to trim excess fat, Abarth has ditched the rear bench and replaced the front seats with a set of Sabelt racing buckets with four-point harnesses anchored where the rear seats would be. The fixed plexiglass front side windows do their part, too. It’s also been fitted with adjustable shocks, an MXL digital data recorder, a titanium rear roll bar, Brembo brakes and 18-inch OZ alloys.
The result weighs less than a metric ton and serves as a roadgoing midpoint between lesser Abarth hot hatches and the competition-spec 695 Assetto Corse – but sadly, it’s one which we’re not likely to ever see on American roads. Frankly, we’re not sure we’d want to know how much it would cost if it did.