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Cars

Abarth 595 Competizione is small in size, but big on fun

Words by Nathan Irvine

Pocket rocket.

It’s fair to say, the UAE is a great place to own a couple of cars. As well as zooming up and down the asphalt of Sheikh Zyed Road and the like, you’re going to need an off-road vehicle for dune bashing. It’s why the sales of Jeep vehicles are so high in the Middle East. But there’s another reason to have one too – track days.

Now you’re unlikely to take the family saloon spinning around race tracks and risk smashing it up. This is why second or third hand vehicles are often found hitting the red line at closed circuits. But having thrown the Abarth 595 Competizione around the corners of Dubai Autodrome recently, I’m seriously considering getting a brand new car to zip around in.

This cute, almost cartoonish vehicle has a whopping 180bhp under the hood, It’s also turbocharged and extremely light, which means that it can zoom from 0-100kmh in 6.9 seconds and then up to a white-knuckle inducing 225kmh. It’s the very definition of a pocket rocket.

In Pictures. Abarth 595 Competizione

Photos. Abarth

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Specifications

Engine

1.4l Turbocharged

Power

180bhp

0-100kmh

6.9 seconds

Top speed

225kmh

Price from

AED 119,995

Steering clear

Flying around the corners of Dubai Autodrome was great fun. The handling feels like you’re driving a super-charged go-kart. It grips to the corners and never lets up. Sure there’s a satisfying tyre screech that lets me know I’m taking the corner maybe a little too fast, but you never feel out of control.

It’s intense on the straights too – capable of flinging you back in the bucket seats with wild abandon. I’m grinning just thinking about how much fun it was.

To demonstrate the handling further, I drove through a special autocross course. It was a slalom through cones on a tight circuit, tight turns and then an emergency stop in the box. What’s apparent immediately is how at one you feel with the Abarth 595. Each tweak and turn of the steering wheel feels incredibly responsive, which – as you’d expect – for the course.

It was roughly at the moment I went sideways through the loop part of the course that I decided that I fell in love with the little Abarth 595 Competizione. A second car for the track, but one that’s also practical for the day-to-day business – what’s not to love?

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