Abarth 595 Trofeo: it’s all rather full of Italian vigour ​

This Trofeo slots in above the base model and the top end Turismo. Does the range need yet another addition?

The writer Graham Greene would go to great lengths to avoid using the word ‘suddenly’ in his books, but here it is the word you conjure up the most. On well-surfaced Sardinian roads, the 595 Trofeo gets all sudden a lot of the time.

That’s more to do with the handling, and a front end aided by torque vectoring. You’re zipping along, and decide to turn in. And you’ve suddenly turned in. The front end darts in and holds on like a thing that holds on jolly tight indeed. It grips its way through the apex stage like a rather rapid limpet and is then ready for when you want to fire out down the straight.

At this point the quad exhaust pipes let you know the 1.4-litre Multijet petrol engine has suddenly sprung to life and you’re off and away, holding the light steering and preparing with a bit more focus for the next instant change of direction.

The engine is eager and enthusiastic, with only 5bhp less than the range-topping Turismo. Give it all you got exiting a turn and it will all but go into a four-wheel drift which is huge fun, assuming you’ve stopped the ESP from going all nanny about the affair. It’s raucous, fun, uninhibited. Not very British.

But very Italian. In the cabin there’s hardly room to properly wave your arms about, but the seats are stylish and comfy even if you do feel perched a bit high in the cabin. On the smooth roads of the test route, the handling was really sharp and ride acceptable but we’re pretty sure on dumpy British roads all that vigour might prove rather painful over a decent distance of beat-up highway. 

It’s hard to really hold that against the Trofeo. It’s such fun, and so likeable. It is a very alive car, one that would probably make a rotten commuter in Britain, but one where you’d really enjoy it on high days and holidays. More like a motorbike in that regard perhaps.

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