2014 Alfa Fiat drive day

Alfa Romeo 4C & Giulietta, Fiat 595 Abarth and 500L driven at Fiat proving ground

By Shahzad Sheikh

Fiat 595 Abarth

MME was recently at the Fiat’s proving ground in Balocco in Italy, where we got to test drive a handful of the of the group’s cars on its own testing track. Read our quick reviews and check out our videos from the Alfa Fiat driving day below.

Alfa & Fiat Drive day

Alfa Romeo 4C

This is actually the third brief blat I’ve had in the gorgeous little Alfa 4C and each drive just serves to make me fall even deeper in love with the exotically made (read about how it’s constructed) mid-engine sports car. You can read my initial review of the car here, and you’ll read about my second run in the car (over at Chrysler’s Michigan proving ground) soon right here on MotoringME.com.

So for now I’ll just say that it may not be the most powerful, fastest (although the low weight means its 240bhp is good for 0-100 in 4.5secs) or most expensive sportscar out there, but in my book it is quite possibly the most desirable and enjoyable of the lot. I badly want one and if you like your driving experiences totally immersive and utterly compelling, you should too.

Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Giulietta QV

I reviewed Giulietta last year – read that here – and concluded that it’s a great new alternative hatchback that is now finally attuned to our market’s needs with improved A/C and a proper automatic gearbox. And as I said, it’s the coolest hatchback you can currently buy.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV

The Giulietta is celebrating its 60th anniversary with the launch of the high-performance Quadrifoglio Verde (or QV if you prefer, which you will) back at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Instead of the 170bhp 1.4-litre, the QV gets the same engine and transmission from Alfa Romeo 4C. So it gets a 240bhp 1750cc four-cylinder giving it 0-100 in just 6 seconds with launch control, thanks to 250lb ft of torque. That’s quicker than the Focus ST (0-100 in 6 seconds from 252bhp and 270lb ft).

Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV

However with prices of the regular Giulietta starting from AED101k, it’s unlikely the QV will match the Focus ST’s bargain AED99k tag when it launches most likely in December. This Giulietta does make a better noise from its larger exhaust tips and a new ‘sound generator’, and the bucket seats and flat-bottomed steering wheel certainly lend it a sporting air. It also gets lowered suspension, dark tinted rear window glass and four-piston Brembo brake callipers.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV

It’s a sportier, faster drive with more tenacious grip and attitude, a little initial understeer on turn-in, but it hunkers down nicely through the corners. We hope to bring you a more complete road test later in the year.

Fiat 595 Abarth

Fiat 595 Abarth

I drove Fiat 500 Abarth for the first time a few weeks ago in Michigan – again you’ll read that story soon here on MotoringME.com. Things get a little confusing because the US version is slightly different to the European version, it has a more rounded front fascia and recalibrated suspension. But whilst the Fiat 500 Abarth in Europe actually features the older 1.4 Turbo with 135bhp, both the 595 Abarth and the US 500 Abarth have the 160bhp version of the engine.

**I say ‘Alfa Romeo’ range at the end of this video, I do of course mean ‘Alfa Fiat’ range. Oops!**

In Italy I got to try the Fiat 595 Abarth which, once it gets through the GCC homologation, is actually likely to be the version that we’ll get officially on sale in our region. With 170lb ft of torque it’s good for 0-100kph in 7.4 seconds and a top speed of 210kph.

Fiat 595 Abarth

It actually feels even faster than those figures suggest and the frisky performance is combined with darty responses, glue-like grip and astonishing poise. It’s not only a very quick and effective tool, but absolutely hilarious good fun to drive. Can’t wait to test these on our local roads.

Fiat 500L Trekking

Fiat 500L

I previously reviewed the 500L and you can read that review here. But that had the European-spec 120bhp engine, whilst we’ll be getting the 160bhp version. Fortunately this time they managed to source and lay on the correct engine for us to try out in Italy. In fact it’s the same unit that’s in the Abarth, but it doesn’t feel quite as peppy, roarty or lively as it does in that little tearaway. However this is a bigger car, designed to carry families and their belongings about and is more comfort orientated.

However this is the right engine for our market, as it definitely has more get-up and go than the 120 unit, and is willing and eager enough to satisfying our more power-thirsty needs. It’s not a sportier variant by any means, but it’ll keep up with the cut-and-thrust of our cities’ traffic.

Fiat 500L Trekking

We’re very keen to see this vehicle here and monitor how it does. Let us know what you think of it, and indeed the other cars on this page, in the comments section below.

Alfa & Fiat drive day

Here’s the rest of stories from our Fiat-Alfa Italian trip


Look no robots! How they make the Alfa Romeo 4C

The Top Ten Coolest cars in the Fiat Museum in Turin 

We drive two classic 1960’s Alfa Romeo Giulias on track!

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