The Fiat 500 gets a little inspiration from Grand Prix motorcycle racing

Without a doubt, the Fiat 500 is one of the Italian brand’s most important and historically relevant models ever produced. It’s been around off and on in one form or another since the ‘30s, and in 2007, Fiat introduced its latest iteration. Currently taking the form of either a three-door hatchback or a two-door cabriolet, the modern 500 is a cute, zippy city car with loads of personality and style. The help emphasize those characteristics, a variety of special editions have been offered over the years, with the latest being the Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha. Taking cues from the world of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, this agile little Italian speed bubble hopes to bring the thrills of two-wheel motorsport to a four-wheel platform, adding unique styling options, composite material flair, and even a considerable amount of performance for both straight-line fun and apex hunting.

In case you were unaware, Abarth is Fiat’s performance and tuning division, which identifies its creations with a yellow and red scorpion badge. This year, the FCA subsidiary is once again aligning itself with the Yamaha Factory Racing Team as the Official Sponsor and Official Car Supplier for the MotoGP World Championship season, and as such, the two makes are collaborating to bring the product of that happy marriage to enthusiasts.

The Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition follows in the footsteps of the Abarth 595 Yamaha Factory Racing and 696 Biposto Yamaha Factory Racing Edition that came before, both of which offered tricked-out limited runs of Fiat’s famous 500 in sportier, more aggressive trim. This time around, Yamaha is also getting in the action with the Yamaha XSR900 Abarth, the first motorcycle to be offered as a collaborative effort between the Japanese and Italian brands.

Both machines are decked out in a grey and red exterior color scheme, while also sharing a few surprising features. However, while the bike is obviously a bit more exposed, the 500 will be offered in both a hardtop and droptop iteration, with 695 units per body style, or 1,390 units total.

Order books open up in April. So far, there’s no word on U.S. availability, but don’t bet on it.

Look to the Geneva International Motor Show next week for the 695’s world debut, but in the meantime, read on for all the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition.

What Makes The Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition Special

What’s Different Outside?

2017 Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Fiat 500 Abarth High Resolution Exterior
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Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition pictured on the left, standard Fiat 500 Abarth pictured on the right.

As you can see, this limited edition doesn’t get a whole lot of new stuff compared to the standard 500 Abarth in terms of aesthetics. However, if you look closely, you’ll find a few visual upgrades scattered here and there.

The biggest upgrade is with the exterior color. Customers are offered only one paint option, specifically the Pista Grey livery seen here. The color looks pretty good, especially when placed against an urban background, and gets offset by red striping in the profile and rear diffuser. This has the secondary effect of emphasizing complementary red coloring in the taillights, brake calipers, side-view mirror trim, and Abarth scorpion badge. Extra bling is provided by Satin Chrome accents for the door handles and badge supports.

Further additions include a few bits of carbon fiber, namely as part of the side-view mirrors and the exhaust tips. These composite details were added as an allusion to the carbon used for the front fairing, front mudguard, and saddle cover on the Fiat’s two-wheeled equivalent.

2017 Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition High Resolution Interior
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Finally, there’s an XSR logo on the rear hatch, lest anyone forget what you’re driving.

What Should I Expect From The Interior?

2017 Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition High Resolution Interior
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2015 Fiat 500 Abarth High Resolution Interior
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Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition pictured on the left, standard Fiat 500 Abarth pictured on the right.

Of course, you can’t have a special edition model without adding a few splashes of custom gear to the interior as well. As you can see in the above comparison images, the standard 500 Abarth is already looking pretty sporty. However, in continuation of the composite theme started in the exterior, the Abarth 695 adds oodles of carbon inside as well.

The most obvious addition is the dash, where the entire fascia is decked out in one unending piece of glossy weave. This feature is optional, and can be added to with carbon fiber for the pedal covers, the shifter knob, and the kick plates as well.

Overall, it’s got that aggressive, boy racer kind of appearance you’d expect from a model like this.

Overall, it’s got that aggressive, boy racer kind of appearance you’d expect from a model like this. The rounded gauges behind the steering wheel are big and bold, complete with a checker-flag backing that matches the carbon. The seats get red contrast stitching, while the steering wheel gets a flat-bottom design, sizable handgrips at the 10 and 2, and a top-center mark, once again in a composite finish. On top of the gauge hood is black Alcantara to help cut down on sun glare.

As for infotainment, the 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition is equipped with a 7.0-inch Uconnect TM HD Live infotainment screen, mounted high on the dash and sporting a silver surround. Standout features include support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus all the usual apps and features you’d expect. To help control all those features, hard buttons are placed at thumb’s length on the steering wheel.

And of course, the final piece of the puzzle is an aluminum identification badge providing info on which of the individual 695 units your particular model happens to be.

So There’s Lots Going On In Terms Of Style, But What About The Performance?

2015 Fiat 500 Abarth High Resolution Drivetrain
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Note: standard Fiat 500 Abarth pictured here.

I’m happy you asked, because mercifully, this isn’t some all-show and no-go limited run. Abarth actually took the time to add some extra speed to this thing.

The motivation is still derived from a turbocharged 1.4-liter T-Jet engine, but power sees a slight rise from 157 horsepower to 165 horsepower. Helping the four-cylinder find a few more ponies is a new lightweight exhaust system from Akrapovic, which not only adds performance, but also looks and sounds better than the stock piece. Interestingly, the Yamaha XSR900 Abarth motorcycle is also equipped with a new exhaust from Akrapovic.

Even better is the fact you can get your Abarth with a slew of different power kits, with the range-topper offering up a solid 180 horsepower. And since this thing is so light, tipping the scales at around 2,500 pounds, that newfound power will surely be felt, if not at the very least heard.

Sure, But What If I Care More About Cornering?

2017 Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition High Resolution Interior
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Once again, Abarth is here to the rescue. Making this FWD speed bubble handle are new, upgraded dampers from Koni in the rear, which are paired with upgraded springs from Eibach.

Further handling sharpness can be had with optional Koni shocks for the front as well, which offer up something called Frequency Selective Damping (FSD), an F1-derived tech that can basically differentiate between high and low frequency inputs when going over a bump for smoother operation at speed.

Meanwhile, the brakes get perforated discs for reduced fade. You can also upgrade to even more effective brakes from Brembo, with discs measuring in at 305x28 mm (12x1.1 inches) with a perforated and ventilated disc design. Providing the friction on these upgraded units are Ferodo HP 1000/1 brakes pads.

Finally, the wheels are 17 inches in diameter and rock a Supersport design and alloy construction with a matte black finish.

So Is That It?

Not quite. Anyone who buys this thing will be offered a crack at the VIP Package, something intended for Italian and British customers that are fans of fast machines. After signing up at the Abarth website by April 7th, customers will get two tickets for Abarth Day, which takes place on May 20th in Italy and the U.K., as well as a free visit to the Abarth Worshops in Turin, a set of Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha lithographs, and the “Faster Son” package from Yamaha which throws in a t-shirt, jumper, hat, and a poster with a faux carbon-fiber frame.

My Opinion

2017 Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition High Resolution Exterior
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To me, the Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha seems worthy of the title “special edition.” You really do get a good amount of stuff with this thing, with the exterior, interior, engine, and suspension all sufficiently tweaked to help it stand out from the crowd.

Of course, if I have to nitpick (and I do, you know), the only thing I can really see wrong with this could be a questionably high price. All that extra gear won’t come cheap, especially if you go for the pricier options under the hood and in the corners with the suspension, so I could see the potential for this thing to come tagged with a bill far higher than a Fiat 500 probably should.

Of course, no price has been announced as of this writing (03/03/2017), so I could be wrong. And besides, if you’re an enthusiast, you’re used to paying out the nose for a little extra speed and style anyway, right?

Press Release

For the third year running, Abarth will be Official Sponsor and Official Car Supplier of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team which will be competing in the 2017 FIM MotoGP World Championship. With this prestigious partnership, Abarth is confirmed as the automotive brand which is most capable of conveying the real essence of the race track, in addition to sharing the values of sportsmanship and desire to excel that both the brand with the scorpion badge and the stars of the motorcycle racing scene have rooted in their DNA. In the wake of the thrilling Abarth 595 Yamaha Factory Racing and the 695 biposto Yamaha Factory Racing Edition comes the new Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition special series, available exclusively with a Pista Grey livery: only 695 sedans and 695 convertibles will be made. The new car was created to celebrate the Yamaha XSR900 Abarth, which is the first exclusive motorcycle to spring from the collaboration between the two brands and which sports the same grey livery with red trim as the 695 XSR, as well as sharing many of its features.

2017 Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition High Resolution Exterior
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The special series makes extensive use of carbon fibre to demonstrate its affinity with the front fairing, front mudguard and saddle cover of the two-wheel Yamaha. The Abarth 695 XSR and the Yamaha XSR900 Abarth also share Akrapovič ultralight exhaust developed in the racing world to boost the personality, sound and performance of both vehicles. On the Abarth car, the carbon fibre tailpipes enhance the looks and technology of the exhaust system. The XSR logo proudly displayed on the tailgate distinguishes the Abarth 695 XSR, while an aluminium badge identifies the sequential number of 695 units for each body type.

Other carbon fibre details, in addition to the mirror caps and Akrapovič tailpipes, are available as optional equipment, such as dashboard fascia, pedal covers, gear knob and kick plate.

2017 Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition High Resolution Interior
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A 1.4 T-Jet engine delivering 165 HP sits beneath the bonnet. Equipment on this special series includes Koni rear suspension and Eibach springs, 17’’ Supersport alloy rims with Matt Black finish, Satin Chrome accents on handles and badge supports, red details on bumpers and mirrors, red brake callipers and a braking system with perforated discs. This version can be customised even further using the tuning kit to increase the power to 180 HP, improve handling by fitting a Koni front suspension with FSD (Frequency Selective Damping) valve and make braking even prompter with 305x28mm perforated and self-ventilating Brembo floating front discs with high-performance Ferodo HP 1000/1 front brake pads.

In addition, the new UconnectTM 7" HD LIVE system integrated with Apple CarPlay allows iPhone users to access contents such as Apple Maps, Messages, telephone calls, Apple Music, also with Siri voice assistance.

2017 Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition High Resolution Interior
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The UconnectTM 7" HD LIVE system also enables Android Auto, offering easy and safe access to voice assistance functionality, Google MapsTM and Google Play MusicTM, using the touch screen of the radio or the steering wheel controls.
It will be possible to order the new Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha from April. For customers that purchase it, Abarth offers the chance to get the special "VIP Package", which is dedicated to fans. This is an awards scheme that applies in Italy and the UK that takes place in two stages. First of all, by the 7th of April, you must fill in the online form at the www.abarth.it and www.abarthcars.co.uk websites. After which, once you have purchsed the car from the dealership, you will receive two valid tickets for Abarth Day on 20May, in Italy and the UK; a ticket for a free visit ro the Abarth Workshops in Turin, an exclusive set of Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha lithographs, the "Faster Son" package from Yamaha, including a t-shirt, jumper and cap, an a poster with a carbon-look effect frame.

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