ABARTHhas been selling souped-up versions of thereinvented Fiat 500since 2008.
It's obviously a successful formula because nearly 15 years later the basic ingredients pretty much remain the same.
It's stylish, quick, noisy and - mostly - enjoyable to drive. If you want to add even more style, there's the convertible variant driven here with its old-school retracting canvas roof. While enjoying the sporty burble of the exhaust, you can catch some rays too.
There's a handful of versions with more powerful engines, upgraded suspension and some styling tweaks including the Turismo, which aims more towards luxury than outright sports appeal.
That doesn't stop the cabin coming littered with sporty touches, the most eye-catching being the race-inspired rev counter which sticks out from the dashboard. There's also leather trim, supportive sports seats, a tactile aluminium gearknob, a huge scorpion badge on the flat-bottomed steering wheel and alloy pedals.
You also get a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and compatibility to Android Auto, DAB radio, Bluetooth and a USB input.
On the outside there's 17-inch alloy wheels, muscular front and rear bumpers front, a rear spoiler and a stylish rear diffuser (which is more about looks than purpose), fog lights, satin exhaust tailpipes, and rear parking sensors.
There's room for six-footers up front but on the Turismo there's no height adjustment, meaning you sit on top of the 595 rather than in it. While it will accommodate six-footers up front, those a couple of inches taller like me will be left with cramped knees which occasionally rub against the centre console.
Room in the rear is tight to say the least and, at 185-litres, the boot is not the most practical. It may just accommodate the weekly shop. Large families need not apply.
All versions come with a 1.4-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with power ranging from 165bhp to 180bhp.
On a tight, twisty road its good fun - the five-speed manual gearbox is a joy to shift up and down when needed - but you need to be committed. Abarth has slightly lowered the 500's height and fitted a very stiff sports suspension. You will feel every bump and pothole, no matter how small. This tends to make the Abarth skitter around on rougher surfaces though traction control reins it all in.
On the plus side, it feels stable and predictable on smoother surfaces and it's a nippy and head-turning joy to dash around town.
However, the Abarth lets the side down again on the motorway where the lack of a sixth gear means the engine is working hard and droning quite loudly at 70mph. There's also a fair bit of wind and tyre noise and there's no cruise control or any active safety features to take the strain.