Expert Reviews

First Drive: Abarth 695 XSR

Tuesday11 April 2017

First Drive: Abarth 695 XSR
Summary

Abarth has spiced up its range with two new special editions – the 595 Trofeo, and this, the 695 XSR. Matched to a café racer of the same name, it features a striking grey colour scheme, a range of carbon-fibre parts and a race-inspired Akrapovic lightweight exhaust. It’s rare, too – just 695 cabriolets and 695 coupes will be built.

 

Looks & Image

As with any car in the Abarth range, the 695’s looks underplay its performance – that us until you notice performance upgrades like Brembo brake calipers and sport seats.

It comes in just one colour – Pista Grey – which is highlighted with red accents along the vehicle. Inside, it features a sports steering wheel trimmed in alcantara, carbon-fibre dashboard and pedal covers, as well as full alcantara bucket seats.

Though good-looking, these seats aren’t the most comfortable, and could make longer journeys a bit more of a chore.

Space & Practicality

Given its diminuative overall size, it comes as little surprise that there isn’t a huge amount of space inside the 695. There’s just two seats in the rear and neither can offer that much legroom. That said, the hatch does have a trick up its sleeve – the boot. It’s 185 litres in size – just 26 less than the Mini hatch – and can be expanded to 550 litres by folding the rear seats down.

Behind the Wheel

You’re guaranteed an exciting drive with any Abarth car. The vehicle’s short wheelbase, low centre of gravity and surprisingly punchy engine ensures that car is great fun on twisty roads, with plenty enough pace available at all times. 

As it is fitted with Koni rear suspension and Eibach springs, resulting in a firm, but very composed ride. Drivers looking for more power can opt for the tuning kit, which increases the engine’s output to 177bhp and 250Nm of torque up from 162bhp and 230Nm respectively. This package also includes Koni front suspension and four-piston Brembo calipers with perforated and vented discs. If you’re looking for out-and-out performance, then this is one box to tick.

Value for Money

As a limited edition, the 695 XSR really needed to stand out, and thanks to touches such as carbon-fibre effects and matte black alloy wheels, it certainly does just that. 

Inside, it features a new Uconnect infotainment system controlled via a seven-inch HD system. It incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, ensuring that connecting a mobile phone is easy. Steering wheel-mounted controls give you the ability to adjust all of the main controls without having to remove your hands from the wheel.

Who would buy one ?

Abarth is aiming the 695 directly at a younger audience. Its sister the car, the 595 Trofeo, is priced from £17,290 – and the 695 is expected to be slightly higher than this. However, with a base price like this it’s unlikely to be anyone’s first car.

Given its relative impracticality, as well as its rather uncomfortable seats, the Abarth is unlikely to find favour with daily drivers, either.

However, for those who want a fun, fast and stylish way of getting around, then the Abarth makes perfect sense. Even those who want more power are catered for, with the optional tuning pack bringing with it better performance and an even more involving drive. 

Facts at a Glance

Model as tested: Abarth 695 Yamaha
Price as tested: N/A
Power: 162bhp
Torque: 230Nm
Max speed: 135mph
0-60mph:7.1 seconds
MPG: N/A
Emissions: N/A  

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