You can’t blame Fiat for trying to cash in on MINI’s lead, but just how far will the 500’s cuteness allow Fiat it to stretch its market price?
Once Aston Martin priced their Cygnet city car at £32,000, it wasn’t long before BMW’s MINI raised the bar to £41,000 with its 184bhp MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD. Not wishing to be outdone, Fiat first responded with its £29,600 180bhp Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari and now a £32,000 Abarth 695 Maserati Edition – also packing a 180bhp version of Fiat’s 1.4 Turbo T-Jet 16v engine.
Just 499 of the 180bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged superminis will be produced, which I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear, comes with a set of stunning Tramontano leather luggage and fabric convertible roof as standard.
Whereas the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari from 2 years ago was a fixed-roof pocket rocket, the Abarth 695 Maserati Edition is more of a Gran Turismo – with handling and ride comfort more suited to the every-day driver.
The Edizione Maserati features exclusive styling details and special technical features developed by Abarth engineers for Maserati. The 1.4 Turbo T-Jet 16v engine is linked to an electrically-operated manual Abarth Competizione gearbox with steering wheel controls, while performance tyres on 17-inch Maserati-inspired Neptune design alloy wheels come fitted as standard.
The chassis has also been engineered to cope with the extra power. Front brakes feature Brembo monobloc callipers with floating 305mm discs while special Koni shock absorbers deliver the supple ride combined with Abarth handling. A variable back-pressure ‘dual mode’ exhaust improves engine performance and delivers a uniquely inspiring sound above 3,000 rpm.
The car is finished in Pontevecchio Bordeaux – a colour from Maserati which is achieved with special three-layer paintwork to reflect light and accentuate its shine. The same paintwork is added to the door mirrors while the electrically controlled soft top is made of grey fabric.
Inside, the seats are upholstered in sand beige leather, with a 695 logo embossed on the headrests. The dashboard and gearbox trim are distinguished by a special matt-finish carbon lining, further enhanced with the 695 logo, while the door panels and rear panels undergo a special UV-LUX treatment, to give an elegant grey ‘flocking’ effect.
The black leather steering wheel is characterised by beige leather inserts and tricolour hub and houses the steering wheel gearbox controls, while the instrument panel has been specifically produced by the Jaeger brand.
Other details include the aluminium pedal unit and sill plates, the carbon fibre kick plate with customised Abarth 695 Maserati Edition graphics, and a plate with the car’s series number from 1 to 499.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re spoilt for choice. But if you really must blow £30,000+ on a city car, there’s a lot to be said for it being a Maserati (sort of).