Abarth’s latest 595 is now louder, but no faster

Facelifted furious Fiat 500 gains decibels via active exhaust. Grrrr

Here we have the latest incarnation of the Abarth 595. It’s ageing rather gracefully, for an ancient cutesy city car based on a prehistoric Panda. Abarth has decided it can’t handle any more power, keeping the 1.4-litre turbocharged four-pot engine pegged between 144bhp and 178bhp, depending on the model you pick.

However, it’ll feel like you’re going faster, because the 595 just got louder.

You’d expect Abarth to have explained this new throatiness in a flamboyant, exciting Italian way. And… you’d be exactly right. Ready?

“The new Record Monza Active exhaust is introduced as a standard feature on the 595 Competizione and Trofeo,” Abarth explains. Good name for an exhaust, Abarth. The Record Monza pipes feature “an active valve controlled by a Sport button. When pressed, the Sport button opens the exhaust valve and the engine rumble becomes deeper and bolder. The driver can choose a more composed engine sound or a tougher, sportier – and more traditionally Abarth – roar.”

Mamma mia, and other such clichéd Italian expression of surprise and delight. The outgoing 595s are already rorty little blighters, so the promise of more noise – and the option not to act as your neighbours’ impromptu alarm clock – is a tantalising one.

The fastest version is the 595 Competizione, which hits 62mph from standstill in 6.7 seconds and offers an optional limited-slip front differential to tame its 178bhp. It’s a whopping £21,280 (for the car, not the diff) and the soft-top is even pricier at £23,280.

Lower down the range, the 595 Turismo offers 163bhp and 7.3 seconds between zero and 62mph. It’s £19,180, but you can get into the just-as-cute-looking base model for under £16k. If you do, you might like to know that there are new shades of green and grey paint available. But mainly, this is about naughtier pipes, not lairier paint.