Boat tie-in ahoy! Abarth 695 Rivale is hot hatch of the seas | CAR Magazine

Boat tie-in ahoy! Abarth 695 Rivale is hot hatch of the seas

Published: 13 June 2017

► Abarth 695 Rivale
► Yacht-based special edition
► We’re feeling a little sea sick

Ahoy there! Are you the sort of person who wants an exceptionally loud small car that looks a bit like a yacht if you squint? It’s quite a niche, but Abarth has somehow managed to fill it with this: the Abarth 695 Rivale.

It’s quite possibly the 480 billionth Fiat 500-based special edition to ever exist and has been built to hail speedboat maker Riva’s 175th anniversary. The Rivale follows on from the Fiat 500 Riva special edition revealed last year.

Abarth 695 Rivale interior

The Rivale is inspired by the Riva 56 Rivale yacht, so lucky(?) buyers are treated to Shark Grey and Riva Sera Blue paintwork with an aquamarine belt line that splits the two body colours. Satin chrome details finish off the look.

Inside, there’s carbonfibre on the dashboard, steering wheel and the comically-oversized gearknob. For those with less/more (delete where appropriate) taste, the interior panels can be trimmed in mahogany instead. The cockpit is finished off by blue leather sports seats and comes with Fiat’s Uconnect infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. 

A customisable plaque with the name of your yacht (which, naturally, you already own) can be ordered too; according to Abarth this is ‘an original way of making the new 695 Rivale into a high-performance land tender.’ Someone please pass a bucket – we’re getting sea sick.

Abarth 695 Rivale exhaust

Thankfully, Abarth sounds like it’s made the Rivale a right hooligan of a small car to make up for the wobbly Riva tie-in. It’s powered by the firecracker 178bhp 1.4-litre turbo engine and can launch from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds. An Akrapovic exhaust ensures it will no doubt be ruinously loud, while Koni suspension and four-piston Brembo brakes will make for serious g-forces in all directions when driven hard. 

Just 175 hatches and 175 convertible versions will be made – we’ll leave that up to you if you think that’s a good thing.

Check out our test of the Abarth 124 Spider here

Abarth 695 Rivale side profile

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches