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Fiat India has been going through a lot of ups and downs, maybe more downs than ups. This, however, certainly is one of the ups, as it has launched the Abarth 595 Competizione in India.

The Cinquecento-inspired 595 Competizione’s got a 1.4-litre T-Jet motor that produces 158 bhp and 23 kgm between 2700-3300 rpm. This pocket rocket does 0-100 kph in 7.6 seconds and has a top speed of 210 kph. We got only two laps, yes, just two, at the BIC but the short trailer was an appetising one.

The 595 Competizione comes with two driving modes, Normal and Sport. Of course, we chose Sport, we are at the BIC remember, and the Scorpion was ready to bite. Weighing 1155 kg, the car is nimble and handles the 158 bhp well. What is difficult to understand is the AMT ‘box in this. It just does not belong in an Abarth and does not miss any opportunity to tell you so.

The 595 Competizione comes with 17-inch alloy wheels while the stopping power comes from perforated and ventilated discs, and a Monza exhaust sytem which does produce some 
sweet music.

On the inside, the familiar retro modern theme continues with bright dials and a TFT instrument cluster, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, an infotainment sytem, electric sunroof and hand-stitched leather seats.

Time for the bummer: This hot hatch is priced at Rs 29.85 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and will be sold through dealers only in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru. Now, dealerships and service have always been a problem with Fiat in India. We certainly hope the Abarth range gives it the halo image the brand desperately needs, and that Fiat gets its act together.