Its main competition in this price bracket comes from none other than the VW Polo GTI.
Below, we compare these hot hatches to see if the Abarth has the right stuff to take down the well-rounded VW.
The Abarth 595 is arguably a more track-focused hot hatch, whereas the Polo GTI is meant to appeal to a wide audience.
Therefore, the Abarth boasts a range of special equipment that makes it permanently track-ready, while the Polo GTI can be fitted with a selection of these features at an additional cost.
Standard additions on the 595 Monster Energy Yamaha include a specially-developed chassis, Koni rear suspension with frequency-selective damping, a “Record Monza” active exhaust, 17-inch “Formula” wheels, and high-performance 284mm disc brakes at the front and 240mm discs at the back.
The 121kW and 230Nm provided by a 1.4-litre, turbo-petrol engine – as well as a six-speed manual transmission – allows the car to sprint to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 218km/h.
The VW, on the other hand, does not have these specially-made pieces of equipment to improve its track-holding capabilities.
It sits on the same chassis as its siblings, has no special exhaust, comes with 17-inch “Milton Keynes” wheels, and allows the fitment of an optional sports suspension system – although this comes at a cost of R6,100.
What the Polo GTI does have, however, is a powerful 2.0-litre, turbo-petrol engine that lets it beat the Abarth in straight-line speed.
This motor generates 147kW and 320Nm, and couples to a seven-speed automatic transmission. This makes it possible for the Polo GTI to accelerate to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds and achieve a top speed of 237km/h.
As with these cars’ performance, putting the cabins side-by-side makes it clear that the Abarth has a more athletic personality, while the VW is aimed at being a daily driver.
This does not bode well for the 595 in certain cases, however, as there are a few features the Polo offers that the Abarth can’t match.
This includes automatic LED headlights with daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, ambient lighting, and cruise control – options that can’t be selected on the 595 Monster Energy Yamaha.
In addition, the Polo GTI is fitted with a manual air conditioner, a multi-information driver’s display, and an 8-inch central screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.
To compete, this Abarth 595 has manual headlights with LED daytime running lights, climate control, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, and a 7-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Both cabins feature a dash of athletic equipment, too, such as a flat-bottom, multifunction steering wheels and branded sports seats.
The Polo also sees shifter paddles installed, while the 595 gets an exclusive telemetry system that allows owners to monitor track and acceleration times
The seats in the VW are then wrapped in “Art Velour” artificial leather, whereas those in the Abarth are covered in a model-exclusive multi-tone fabric.
In terms of safety systems, the Polo GTI boasts hill-hold assist, ABS with brake assist, fatigue detection, and six airbags.
The 595 Monster Energy Yamaha comes with hill-hold assist, ABS, and seven airbags.
The South African price for the new Abarth 595 Monster Energy Yamaha is R469,900.
Each purchase includes a 3-year/100,000km warranty and roadside assistance.
The VW Polo GTI has a South African price of R466,500.
Along with this, you get a 3-year/120,000km warranty and a 3-year/45,000km service plan.