2019 Abarth 595 Esseesse review: gallery, price, specs and release date

Does the new range-topping Abarth 595 Esseesse inject some fresh fizzing excitement into this ageing hot hatch?...

2019 Abarth 595 crop

On sale Now Price from £16,495

The Abarth brand is 70 years old this year, and the Abarth 595 has been available for more than 10% of this time. Introduced in 2008 as the Abarth 500, the hot version of the Fiat 500 has had many a nip and a tuck over the years to try to keep it fresh, but it’s still technically the same car underneath.

To celebrate the brand's 70th anniversary, the 595 has been tweaked once again, dipping into its recent history in the process to resurrect the ‘Esseesse’ name and putting this model at the top of the line-up for the 2019 model year. The Esseesse moniker first appeared in 2008 on a tuning kit available for the Grande Punto.

So, is the 595 Esseesse a sparklingly exciting hot hatch to rival the very best on sale today? Look through our gallery review to find out.

Abarth 595

All Abarths in the 2019 model year get a commemorative 70th anniversary badge. At the top of the range, the 595 Esseesse builds on Competizione trim, which is £3500 cheaper.

Abarth 595

The list of extras it gets includes these seats. The birthday theme is continued with these carbonfibre-backed Sabelt 70 buckets, which hug you like a good friend through bends and are generally comfortable even over long distances.

Abarth 595

Another sporty addition is carbonfibre pedals.

Abarth 595

Every 595 now gets a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system. However, even with this bigger display, it’s still a laggy setup that doesn’t worry the best in this hot hatch price bracket – namely the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI. At least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

It's not just the looks that have had a birthday makeover: there are also some mechanical changes of interest on this model. So, what's it like when you really get going? Click on to the next page to find out...

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