YOU buy an Abarth for two reasons - performance and fun.
And with the Abarth 595 Esseesse you get both in spades.
It may be loosely based on the Fiat 500 but the car that carries the famous Scorpion badge bears no real resemblance to its little family hatchback cousin when you get behind the wheel.
The Esseesse - the flagship of the 595 range - is a seriously quick pocket rocket that can take your breath away.
Boasting 180bhp from a turbo-charged 1.4-litre engine it will whisk you to 62 miles per hour in just 6.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 140mph. And because of its size it always feels even faster than it is.
The Esseesse comes with a five-speed manual gearbox like all models in the 595 range and always feels as if it's raring to get ahead of everything else on the road.
There's a spectacular throaty roar from the twin cannon-like exhausts but for real head turning music press the sports button on the dashboard and the note goes several decibels higher.
At the same time the TFT instrument panel switches to a racing configuration, the steering changes to deliver a more direct feel and there's an increase in torque delivery.
If there was a fun meter fitted it would be in the red zone at this point as you can't help but grin at the cracking performance this car delivers.
From the outside it was impossible to miss the little car driven here with its special pastel grey (a £350 extra) colour, white Abarth decals, and 17-inch white alloy wheels.
Abarth is celebrating its 70th anniversary and "70" badges adorn both sides of the car while the special sports seats with their carbon shell backing are specially embroidered with the number 70 too. The high backed Sabelt seats hold you firmly but comfortably in place although there's no height adjustment on them.
Carbon fibre features dramatically on the dashboard too, surrounding the seven-inch touch screen with its satellite navigation system. It all adds to the sporting nature of the car along with the aluminium pedals and dark tinted windows.
The 595 Esseesse isn't for everyone, however. The ride is exceptionally firm, it's noisy for anyone sitting in the rear seats and at Â£25,485 it's one of the most expensive models in the 595 range. In fact the car driven here - with a few extras on board - cost almost Â£29,000.
But if you are looking for excitement in a small car there's little to touch it.
The gear shift is silky smooth, the road holding superb and while potholed roads aren't its forte because of the firm ride as soon as you hit a good stretch the 595 Esseesse takes some beating for enjoyable driving.
And with hefty Brembo brakes - with red calipers - there's no problem when it comes to stopping.
On the practical side there is a decent sized boot for a car of this size with split rear seatbacks to allow you to pack in suitcases.