Maximum torque varies according to the gearbox; with the standard six-speed manual there is a nominal 184lb ft, while the five-speed dog ring gearbox gets a stronger 199lb ft – both developed at 3000rpm in sport mode.
At just 997kg, the Abarth 695 Biposto is 233kg lighter than the DS 3 Racing. This endows it with a power-to-weight ratio of 188bhp per tonne, giving the Biposto a 25bhp-per-tonne advantage over the most powerful DS 3.
The standard Abarth’s MacPherson strut and torsion beam suspension has been comprehensively reworked to cope with the added reserves. Included are significantly firmer springs, adjustable front dampers and more resilient bushings. As well as being adjustable for ride height within a 20mm window, the suspension also allows the front rebound rates to be altered.
An additional 5mm of offset either side has also brought about a 10mm increase in track width, both front and rear. The 18-inch OZ wheels come shod with 215/35 Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres. The brakes have also been revised, with 305mm Brembo discs and four-pot calipers up front and 240mm discs with single-pot calipers at the rear. It is the same set-up used on the Tributo 695 Ferrari.
Abarth’s new performance hero is an aggressive looking machine – more so in the metal. Its appearance builds on the look of the Tributo 695 Ferrari and Maserati with new carbon-fibre inserts for the lower section of the front bumper, side sills and substantial rear diffuser – the latter of which is described as being fully functional at speed rather than just for show.
Further styling changes include body-coloured cladding within the wheel arches, carbon fibre door mirror housings, a prominent spoiler mounted within the upper section of the tailgate and a pair of industrial-grade chrome tailpipes. As part of an extensive range of options, buyers can also specify the 695 Biposto with a unique aluminium bonnet and plexiglass windows.
Step inside and you discover a stark-looking interior that has been pared back in a weight-saving program that has netted a 38kg saving in kerb weight over the standard Abarth 500. Gone are the rear seats, standard door inserts, air conditioning unit, radio system and a good deal of the sound deadening material, and as it is a track-day special expect equipment to be relatively sparse.
As with the exterior, polished carbon fibre abounds throughout. Abarth has also given the 695 Biposto new pedals, tread plates and a sturdy strut brace across the rear of the cabin – all fashioned from titanium. The clear highlight, though, is the aluminium mechanism of the optional dog ring gearbox.
The deep shell-style racing seats offer plenty of lateral support but are mounted rather high due to a decision to provide them with manual longitudinal adjustment instead of mounting them directly to the floor. Tick the right option boxes and you also receive proper four point harnesses, an FIA-approved fire extinguisher and a comprehensive data logger.
A turn of the key and press of the starter button unleashes a rorty blare from the oversized tailpipes. First gear engages with an audible metallic clack as the ratio is engaged. The 695 Biposto pulls off cleanly with impressive flexibility at the lower end of the rev range. However, its engine needs some coaxing with your right foot before it really begins to provide the sort of shove you expect of a car flaunting serious track pretensions.