Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari | Spotted

This is not the greatest hot hatch in the world. This is just a tribute…

By Cam Tait / Thursday, 7 September 2023 / Loading comments

Back in the mid-2000s, the prospect of a Ferrari hot hatch seemed as unfathomable as the Prancing Horse taking pride and place on an SUV or, shock horror, an EV. Of course, we now know that Maranello would change its mind on a four-door, four-seater (or whatever it calls the Purosangue to avoid using the three-letter acronym), while its first fully electric vehicle is on the cards for 2025. The hot hatch box remains unticked, unless you bend the definition to the nth degree to include the FF or GTC4 Lusso.

However, Ferrari did collaborate with Abarth – when they were both under the FCA umbrella – to deliver the closest thing there’s ever been to a hot hatch from the Italian supercar maker. The 695 Tributo Ferrari is more of a celebration of all-things Maranello, and while the brand reportedly played a part in the model’s development, its influence seemed only to  extend to the visuals. That sounds an awful lot like the Italian equivalent of the Aston Martin Cygnet, but one commenter from our original review rightly points out that the Abarth is a ‘tribute’, rather than a washing machine that’s had some leather glued to it.

It also helped that the Tributo was based on a hot hatch from the get-go. The car started life as a regular Abarth 500, before it was shipped off to Fiat’s Mirafiori plant to be upgraded to the then-new 695 spec. That included stiffer suspension, 284mm Brembo brake discs with four-pot callipers and freer-flowing ‘Record Monza’ sports exhaust. An upgraded Garrett turbocharger was also fitted to the 1.4-litre T-Jet engine, upping the output from 135hp to 180hp and lowing the 0-62mph time below the seven-second marker. That wasn’t helped by the new five-speed automated manual gearbox, which Danny Cobbs claimed had “unacceptable time lag between gear changes” in his 2012 review.

In fact, none of the upgrades proved transformative. The Abarth 500 has never been a go-to hot hatch for driver engagement, and that remained the case with the uprated 695. It has, however, been the ultimate fashion accessory that doesn’t look out of place parked outside a Belgravia townhouse. And as you can see here, the Ferrari touches take the Italian supermini to a different level. It’s finished in the same shade of Rosso Corsa that you’ll find on Ferrari’s supercars and features the same stripes as the 430 Scuderia. Those 17-inch wheels look to be inspired by the 360 Challenge Stradale, while the Ferrari name only appears on the Tributo badges on the wings and below the 695 designation at the rear.

Remarkably, the cabin packs just as much carbon fibre in as the equivalent Ferrari supercar, covering the dashboard, the backs of the Sabelt bucket seats and around the drive selector on the centre console. It even comes with bespoke fitted luggage branded with the Tributo name, only it’s canvas instead of the plush Italian leather sets you’ll find in a proper Ferrari. Still, you’re getting close to living the Ferrari experience for only a fraction of the price.

In the case of this 2010 example, that figure comes in at £34,995. A lot of cash for a dolled-up version of a car you can pick up for around a quarter of the price. But that’ll just be an underwhelming hot hatch, whereas the Tributo will at least give you a (teeny tiny) taste of Ferrari ownership for the same money as a reasonably specced Vauxhall Astra. And with only 157 right-hand drive examples produced, it’s about as rare as the right hooker versions of track-honed Fezzas. Obviously, it won’t drive like one, but you won’t know the difference when pottering through the streets of central London. ULEZ compliant, too… 

SPECIFICATION | Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari

Engine: 1,368cc four-cylinder, turbocharged
Transmission: five-speed automated manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 180@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 185@3,000rpm
MPG: 43
CO2: 155g/km
Year registered: 2010
Recorded mileage: 5,000
Price new: £29,600
Yours for: £34,995

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