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More Ferrari-Abarths arrive in Australia

Get in quick: A shipment of 45 more Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari special editions have lobbed in Australia but stocks are expected to diminish rapidly as the first batch sold out before arriving here.

Sell-out Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari special edition now back – but numbers limited

7 Oct 2011

A SECOND shipment comprising 45 examples of Abarth’s 695 Tributo Ferrari hot-hatch has arrived, giving people who missed out on the first batch of 40 that sold out before reaching our shores a second and final chance.

The little Fiat 500-based Abarth is Australia’s most expensive light car with a $70,000 price tag, matching that of a Mercedes-Benz C250 coupe.

Public relations manager for Abarth importer Ateco Automotive, Edward Rowe, told GoAuto the first shipment went predominantly to “Ferrari owners who knew the vehicle was coming and expressed their desire to buy it before the deliveries started”.

He expected “a fair proportion” of the second set also to be purchased by Ferrari owners, although the greater availability would at least provide customers with the opportunity to view the vehicle before committing to buying.

Asked whether customers were buying the 695 as a collector’s piece, Mr Rowe said it could be a possibility but how the cars are being used will not become clear until their owners start bringing them in for servicing.

Dripping in carbon-fibre, packing a Ferrari-fettled 132kW/250Nm punch from its 1.4-litre petrol engine and available in four colours including Scuderia Red and Modena Yellow, the exclusive 695 commands twice the price of Abarth’s 500 Esseesse on which it is based.

Mr Rowe said expensive small cars like the 695 – of which about 1000 will be built, with only a small proportion in right-hand drive – will become more prevalent because “price is no longer a definition of what a small car is”.

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“A small car now covers a big price range and our road conditions in urban areas make the idea of a small but fully-equipped, fully-featured car very attractive,” he said.

He predicted that, although small and light cars commanding steep prices have largely been performance variants, a growth in “high luxury” offerings was “undoubtedly the next step”.

In the immediate future, at least from Mr Rowe’s perspective, the imminent introduction of the soft-top Abarth 500C to Australia – fitted with a five-speed Dualogic automated single-clutch manual transmission similar to that of the 695 and expected to cost at least $40,000 plus on-road costs – will signify the latest move in that direction.

As well as a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of less than seven seconds, the 695 returns 6.5L/100km combined fuel consumption and 155g/km CO2 emissions figures, identical to those of the less powerful 118kW/230Nm Esseesse 500 – which like the 695 had its first shipment sell out in Australia before arriving in showrooms.

Its automatic transmission – programmed for faster shifting than other 500s – gets Ferrari-style steering column-mounted shift paddles, while a bi-modal exhaust delivers a more evocative sound above 3000rpm.

Inside, carbon-fibre dashboard panels, leather and Alcantara trim and carbon-backed, race-style Sabelt front seats are complemented by all-alloy sports pedals, a large dash-top turbo boost gauge and flat-bottomed leather steering wheel.

Construction of the door mirror housings is carbon-fibre, with the exotic material also featuring on the front lip spoiler and B-pillar covers, while the moody grey of the 17-inch Alloy wheels is matched by the front air intakes.

Weight savings achieved over the 1035kg Esseesse through the use of carbon-fibre are not specified, but the front seats – which also provide a lower seating position – alone save 10kg apiece.

The extra power is kept under control by a lower and firmer suspension (front strut/rear torsion beam) and beefed-up four-piston Brembo front brakes with 305mm cross-drilled and ventilated front discs (up from the Esseesse’s 284mm) and HP 1000 high-performance brake pads.

It comes equipped with seven airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, a hill-hold function, bi-Xenon headlights, dual-zone climate-control, a premium sound system, Bluetooth phone and audio device connectivity, tinted windows and power windows/mirrors.

The first collaboration between Abarth and Ferrari resulted in the Mille Miglia-winning Ferrari 166/250 MM Abarth of 1953, and Abarth has also designed specific exhaust systems for a string of Ferrari models, some of which won world championships.

Using 695 in the special edition’s nameplate recalls the 595 name applied to flagship versions of the first Abarth 500, which was pitched as a rival to the original Mini Cooper S of the 1960s.

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