City cars may be 10 a penny, but finding a quick one is trickier. While most manufacturers have shied away from high-performance shopping trollies, the Abarth 595 has provided pint-sized thrills for more than a decade.
The recipe for turning a regular Fiat 500 into an Abarth 595 is a simple one. Up front is a rorty 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, the suspension is lower and stiffer, and there’s a tough-looking bodykit and racy sports seats inside.
But while the 595 initially had the market largely to itself, there are now plenty of rivals, such as the Smart Brabus (in two-seat and four-seat form), Renault Twingo GT and the Volkswagen Up GTI. Even so, the 595 outguns all of them.
But are brute horsepower and cutesy looks enough? Over the next few pages, we’ll let you know. And if a 595 is indeed what you’re after, visit our new car deals page for the best discounts around.