Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari

You’re looking at a $70,000 Fiat 500. Well, $69,990 to be precise.

Okay, so now that we’ve pointed out the obvious elephant in the room, lets forget the price and take it for what it is.

So, what is the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari? It’s the ultimate Abarth 500, a car built as homage to big brother Ferrari and designed as the perfect accomplice to the other thoroughbred stallion you have in your garage. It’s built to solve the ultimate first world problem: You’re sick of driving the 599 to work, but you feel you must still drive something with a prancing horse.

Any Given Reason has already flung the regular Abarth 500 esseesse around Winton Raceway so we know the Tributo Ferrari will be a hoot to drive, but does it offer anything more other than special badging and 430 Scuderia inspired graphics? Well, yes. It’s been carefully tweaked and subtly enhanced in a way only the Italians know how.

Under the bonnet it has a larger Garrett turbocharger, a revised dual mode exhaust and a BMC sports intake system that delivers an extra 14kw and 20nm over the regular Abarth 500, for a total of 132kw and 250nm. That’s quite a bit given that the Tributo Ferrari weighs in at a scant 1000kg, and results in 100km/h from rest in a shave under 7 seconds. Huge 4 pot Brembo calipers (red, of course) clamp down on 305mm drilled and vented rotors, and the car now sits slightly lower on revised suspension that features special Koni dampers.

The Tributo is only available with the Dualogic semi-automated 5 speed manual, operated with paddles behind the steering wheel. From all accounts it works well and doesn’t detract from driving enjoyment, but I guess I’m still a traditionalist and I’d probably prefer a conventional manual.

Inside, and the Tributo suffers from the same post-2005 disease that affects most cars of this type – carbon fibre trim. It adorns the dash, centre console, sill trim and B pillar, but it actually kind of works well with the theme of the car in this instance. The leather steering wheel has red accents and a so-cool-it-could-only-be-Italian tri-colour top ring (referencing the 360 Challenge Stradale), and it feels comfortable and sporty in your hands.

For me the golden jewel of the Tributo is easily the seats; carbon fibre items, trimmed in suede and leather with racy red stitching. They are a thing of beauty; holding your torso tight and snug but still somehow remaining comfortable with easy ingress/egress.

They proudly display Abarth stitching at the top…

… and Sabelt branding at the bottom. The Italian racing company Sabelt have been longtime suppliers to Ferrari, for instance providing the harnesses that came standard in the F40.

My only criticism of the seats is that they still sit so damn high, and despite the racing paraphernalia dotted around the cockpit you still feel like you’re behind the wheel of a delivery van. This was my biggest gripe with the regular Abarth 500, so I guess there’s no hiding the Tributo’s city car origins.

Oh, and you get a wanky red Tributo Ferrari key.

The Tributo is definitely a cool, fun, funky and fast car to scoot around the city in, and with only about 40 in the country you’re almost guaranteed to never see another one.

I really want to love this car, and I do, but I just can’t even begin to comprehend the price. The Tributo has a lot of useful features over the regular Abarth 500, but it’s twice the price! I recently drove the twin cylinder Fiat 500 Twin Air and loved it – you could have three of them and an original 60’s 500 for the price of the Tributo.

And don’t even begin to think of what else you could buy for the money. A 370Z, an Evo X. You could even get a new Lotus Elise Club Racer and have a little cash left over for your first track day if you’re that way inclined.

Sadly, this car is just another overpriced red trinket designed to lighten the wallets of the Ferrari folk. They’ll come in wearing their red Puma shoes and Michael Schumacher autographed red leather jackets and drive away in their red Tributo Ferrari.

This is a good car, one that needs the Ferrari badges stripped and to be repriced to around $45,000. At a ten grand premium over the Abarth 500 esseesse, I think it would be a fun and unique buy.

And Abarth seems to agree, because the rumour I’ve heard is that soon you’ll be able to buy an Abarth 695. Upgraded mechanical spec, no Ferrari badges, and a damn sight cheaper…

Although it could be worse. There are people out there who have paid over $100k for a Toyota iQ!

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4 Comments

  1. Jeremy Browne November 15, 2012 Reply

    Yes, but does it come with Catrinel Menghlia, or is that just the Abarth?

  2. Sittisan S December 8, 2012 Reply

    I know a couple of people who bought the 695 Tributo Ferrari and loved them. The price is kind of ridiculous and even though i wanted one, I couldn't convince myself it was worth the price. Which is why I bought the next best thing, an Abarth SS for Ferrari Dealers Edition. It looks almost identical to the Tributo, complete with silver Scuderia stripes on Rosso Corsa red paintwork and Sabelt Corsa seats. It comes in regular 5 speed manual which is what I prefer and it costs practically the same as a normal SS. A huge savings for something with only 20 horses less. Ferrari had these made for some Dealerships to use as courtesy cars for their customers who brought Ferraris in to service, and only 200 were made. These dealers apparently exported some of these and I was fortunate enough to find one. :)

    • Andrew Coles December 21, 2012 Reply

      That sounds like a pretty cool little car with an even more interesting story! Are you located in Australia? I don't think I've ever seen one of them before

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