2017 Abarth 695 Rivale Review

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The Abarth 500 has been on the receiving end of some interesting special edition models in the past. We’ve seen the Abarth 695 Biposto Record, the 595 Yamaha Factory Racing Edition, and the 500 Track Experience, among others. None of them, though, can lay claim to the title of being the “most sophisticated Abarth ever.” That distinction, according to Abarth itself, now rests on the shoulders of the 695 Rivale Special Edition.

Developed specifically to celebrate the company’s close ties to yacht maker Riva, the 695 Rivale is the physical embodiment of the premium luxury that goes into the craft of building those sea vessels. Safe to say, that “most sophisticated Abarth ever” title fits the 695 Rivale. It’s inundated with aesthetic features that shine a big spotlight on the nautical theme of the compact car. Inside and out, the 695 Rivale is decked to the brim with luxury, the kind you expect from any one of the yachts that Riva has built in its 175-year history. The special edition Abarth 695 doesn’t pack any power or performance upgrades, but that’s an inconsequential omission when you compare it to the quantity and quality of cosmetic additions given to the hot hatch. There’s no word yet on how many models Abarth plans to build of the 695 Rivale, but another special edition model, the Abarth 695 Rivale 175th Anniversary, is limited to just 350 units, divided into 175 units for the coupe model and another 175 for the cabriolet version.

What Makes The Abarth 695 Rivale And The Abarth 695 Rivale 175th Anniversary So Special?

Even from afar, what makes the Abarth 695 Rivale so special is on full display, specifically the two-tone Riva Sera Blue and Shark Grey paint finish. Judging by the names these two colors go by, you can immediately point to the connection it has to the nautical world. The so-called aquamarine double stripe running the length of the car at waistline height is another nod to the overarching theme of the special edition car. The door handles received a satin chrome finish, as did the tailgate with moldings finished in the same premium material. Specific “695 Rivale” badging can also be found on the tailgate and rear bumper of the car with the Riva-inspired side grilles and the new set of 17-inch Supersport alloy wheels finishing off the exterior look of the 695 Rivale.

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That’s the extent of all the upgrades in the exterior of the Abarth 695 Rivale. It’s not much in terms of quantity, but the totality of it is much better to look at compared to when you look at them independent of the others. All told, the inspiration behind the special edition Abarth 695 is unmistakable. It really is a compact car for the open seas.

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“Inside, the whole ambiance of the interior opens up to the theme of the whole car even more.”

Step inside the cabin and you get the same feeling as the whole ambiance of the interior opens up to the theme of the whole car even more. The dashboard, for example, can be finished in either carbon fiber or mahogany accents. The latter, in particular, is an added option so the choice of getting it is right there provided a customer is willing to pay a little extra for it. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to do the same for the blue leather upholstery, which not only comes as standard to the 695 Rivale, but is also prominent enough to also be found on the door panels. The use of carbon fiber on the interior also extends to the kick plates, further enhancing the car’s sports car identity, something that most people don’t realize the Abarth 695 really is.

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For those who need a little refresher, the Abarth 695 is powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder tending that makes 180 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. It’s not a big number by any means, but when you consider the size of the car, the power is enough to accelerate the hatchback to 62 mph in 6.7 seconds before peaking at a top speed of 140 mph.

The availability of the special edition Abarth 695 is certain. What’s not is the number of models that Abarth plans to release. The company didn’t specify how many 695 Rivale models it plans to release, opting only to say that the model will be available “in a limited series of sedan and cabriolet versions.” The Abarth 695 isn’t available in the U.S., but it retails for £33,055, which converts to a little over $41,000. For obvious reasons, the Abarth 695 Rivale is expected to cost more. Don’t be surprised if the price approaches £40,000, or just above $50,000 based on current exchange rates.

The Abarth 695 175 Anniversary Special Edition

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“The other model is the Abarth 695 Rivale 175 Anniversary, which basically adds more special features to what the 695 Rivale already has.”

The Abarth 695 Rivale may be getting all the attention and there’s a good reason for that. But before we start to focus on just one special edition version of the Abarth 695, it’s important to remember that the Italian automaker actually released two special edition models based on the performance hatch. The other model is the Abarth 695 Rivale 175 Anniversary, which basically adds more special features to what the 695 Rivale already has. There’s the celebratory “175 Anniversary” badge on the outside of the pillar that indicates its special edition status. There’s also the blue and black hand-stitched leather seats, which comes with a celebratory logo stitched onto the headrest, and the carbon dashboard silk screen that comes with a printed version of the car’s logo.

The car’s power and performance numbers are similar to the Abarth 695 Rivale, but we do know that the Italian automaker is only planning to release 350 total units of the special edition model. Of these 350 units, half of them (175 units) will come in a hardtop version and the other half (175 units) will come in a cabriolet type.

Once more, prices are not yet available, but expect it to cost a little more than the standard Abarth 695.

Other special edition Abarth 695 models we’ve seen in the past

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The 695 Tributo Ferrari distinguished itself by offering either a Scuderia Red or Modena Yellow color finish. The two shades are arguably the two most popular colors used by the Prancing Horse so the fact they were offered on the Abarth 695 speaks to the legitimacy of the 695 Tributo Ferrari’s special edition status.It’s no secret that the Abarth 695 is widely used as the foundation for special edition models. We’ve seen a handful of them in the past, including models like the 695 Tributo Ferrari, the 695 biposto, and the 695 Assetto Corse.

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Meanwhile, the 695 biposto and 695 Assetto Corse distinguished themselves from all other Abarth 605 models with the power upgrades that both models received. The biposto SE, for example, was given an engine whose output was increased to 190 horsepower 184 pound-feet of torque. That was back in the time when the standard Abarth 695 only packed 160 ponies at its disposal. The 695 Assetto Corse is a little different in that regard because it benefited from getting a tweaked version of the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that packs 205 horsepower.

(topspeed.com, https://goo.gl/rbrqRp)

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