This is the sort of brand engineering we don’t mind: a barking mad Fiat 500 Abarth breathed upon by inhouse supercar specialist Ferrari! The Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari is the centrepiece of Fiat’s stand at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show.
Fiat has even built a special race track surface upon which to show off the 695 Tributo Ferrari. Don’t be surprised at the link-up – there’s history at play here, claim the marketing bods eyeing the bottom line. Ferrari and Abarth worked together on the 1953 Ferrari 166/250 MM Abarth and Fiat recently supplied Ferrari dealers with 500 courtesy cars in Ferrari rosso red paintwork. They can’t really loan out Californias now, can they?
So what have they done to the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari?
The engine in the Tributo Ferrari is the turbocharged 1.4, tuned to develop around 180bhp and mated to a automated manual gearbox.
The 695 sits on 17in alloy wheels sporting a Maranello design, whiel four-pot Brembo discs and recalibrated dampers help keep the pocket rocket on the straight and narrow.
And just check out that body kit. Finished in scuderia red, there are carbonfibre door mirrors and more exhaust pipes than you could shake a 458 Italia at.
So how is Fiat’s Abarth hot hatch brand doing?
Ok, by the sounds of it. They’ve flogged more than 15,000 cars since launch in 2008, most of those hot Abarth 500s. And they claim the SS top-up performance kit is proving popular, with a third of 500 buyers choosing the maximum attack SuperSport pack.
What else is Fiat showing at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show?
There’s the new £12,650 Fiat Qubo Trekking for those who fancy playing sensible delivery driver by day and go-anywhere mountaineer by weekend. It sports a trick electronic front diff to improve traction in snowy and muddy conditions, and sits 20mm higher than normal Qubos. Sadly, you also carry Hannibal Lecter style facial masks.
Plus, as previously reported, there’s the new facelifted Fiat Punto Evo. Have they spoiled the looks of one of our favourite leftfield superminis? Perhaps, but we’ll know for sure once we’ve seen the car close up in Frankfurt.