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Fiat's On The Right Track With The Abarth 695 Maserati Edition

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On: Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 5:20PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Fiat's On The Right Track With The Abarth 695 Maserati Edition

Plenty of automakers come out with "special" editions of cars to help revive interest and temporarily boost sales based on essentially a novelty-inspired purchase. Oftentimes, these specialty cars come with fancy paint jobs, lots of useless body cladding, lots of badges, but not much in the way of actual tangible improvements. There are of course, exceptions to every rule -- enter the Fiat Abarth 695 Maserati Edition. Although we have not been shy about our lackluster excitement about the Charlie Sheen-backed Fiat 500 over the last few months, it seems that Fiat is back at it again with an updated version of its sporty little go kart. But the big question is: Is the Maserati Edition actually an upgrade worth talking about?

Naturally the Maserati Edition comes with the aforementioned fancy paint -- called Pontevecchio Bordeaux which does catch the eye, but not in a brash, over-the-top kind of way. There are a series of extra badges just aft of the door handles and a few strewn about the interior in fairly noticeable places, along with a few carbon-fiber accents, an aluminum pedal set, and leather seats. Thankfully there is no extra body cladding, probably because the Fiat comes with a substantial amount of fender flare and a big front fascia to begin with. What the Maserati Edition does come with though is a power folding soft top to let the sun shine down on those cavalier souls who decided to fork over the extra cash to buy one of the only 499 examples Fiat put out into the world.

The Abarth 695 does get a few very noticeable (and commendable) performance upgrades. Riding on 17-inch Maserati designed wheels, the little Fiat also gets some brand-name bits, like Koni shocks and Brembo brakes to help the suspension do its business a tad more efficiently. Underneath its tiny hood, there is a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline four that has been tuned to pump out a respectable 180-horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque (a bump of 40 and 33 respectively over stock). The transmission is a 5-speed Abarth Competizione manual with an automatic clutch and steering wheel mounted shifters. Coming in right around 2500 pounds, the Maserati Edition should be able to eclipse the current Abarth's 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds as well as its quarter-mile time of 15.3 seconds at 89.8 mph by a few tenths of a second considering its 20-horsepower advantage. The Maserati Edition should also be able to beat the current Abarth's lateral acceleration mark of 0.86 g, as well as its braking from 60-0 mph (117 feet).

So what have we figured out? Well, the Abarth 695 Maserati Edition is more than just a gimmick -- it has added a bit more bite without adding too much extra bark. The Maserati Edition does show improvements where it matters most, but it also comes at a price -- and a hefty one at that. Fiat is only going to make 499 of these cars (another trick of specialty editions), which does add some value to the car, but the list price of the Maserati Edition is more than double that of the current car's $23,000 as-tested price tag. The other big downside is that even if you are willing to pony up the cash for one of these little pocket-rockets, the 695 Abarth is only going to be sold in Europe. So, do we think that this latest iteration of the Turin automaker is worth the money? In a word, no. But, what we can tell you is that the Maserati Edition does set up the future of these sporty cars very nicely. Don't be surprised to see some trickle-down effect from these limited editions to the mass produced cars in as little as one model year, and if we can get a 200-horsepower manual transmission car that weighs 2500 pounds for right around 20 grand, then yes, we will be all for it. We're not on board yet, Fiat, but you're definitely on the right track.

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