The madness of this particular Biposta is that it’s a car that doesn’t quite know what it is.
On the one hand, it’s £37,000 of uncompromising, full-fat rally car, minus proper door handles, sat nav, air con – or even a radio.
On the other, our test car doesn’t come with the bonkers dog ring gearbox – you have to pay extra for that pleasure.
So instead, our test car features a fairly conventional, dash stick like a normal Fiat 500. Surely you’d expect that for this sort of money?
Just who is going to buy a Biposta remains to be seen. I think the enthusiast will want ALL the extra lightweight, slick gearchange kit included in the price.
Seems a bit rich charging £37k then asking for more for the fun bits!
A car with a 1.4-litre turbo engine has no right to be this fast. But because the stripped out Biposta weighs just 997kg, Fiat would claim it can provide enough thrills to justify costing more than a BMW M235i.
Less is more in this case. Which explains the lightweight Oz alloy wheels and carbon-fibre shells for the two seats. There’s even a titanium frame where the back bench normally sits in a Fiat 500.
Sadly, our May test car isn’t fitted with the track-inspired, dog-ring gearbox. That’s an option enthusiasts would go for. Me? I prefer a gearstick that actually works properly on the road.
The best bits so far? Overtaking a bemused Golf GTI driver and the sound from the Akrapovic exhaust. Especially meaty when the ‘Sport’ button is pressed.
Why would you buy a tiny car costing this much when there are better options out there for the same money? Simply – it’s bloody great fun.
Flipping cars today from a Morgan to a Fiat 500 might seem the more relaxing option. Except when it is the Abarth 695 Biposta.
Created as the world’s smallest supercar, the 695 is pretty exciting in ‘standard’ form. Then you can start personalizing with a dog ring gearbox (the only car with such a road legal option), a five-point rally harness – or what about polycarbonate windows to save weight? Soon the price can top £50k.
We’ve been sent the model with a normal, five-speed gearbox. It still lacks some basic kit (radio, air con) and is also delivered minus the back seat and proper door handles.
The suspension isn’t too harsh, the noise from the twin exhausts is sublime and once the turbo kicks in, it’s impossible not to drive this Fiat fast…
Hell, I really don’t know whether to suggest you opt for the MX-5, or the new Fiat Spider.
A fantastic dilemma to have but both cars offer so much and, considering they sit on the same platform, it hard to believe they are so closely related.
That said, I’m not very close to my brother, so perhaps we should just put the obvious to one side and try and work it out as if both were new cars.
In a nutshell, the MX-5 is more modern looking, needs to be worked hard through the gears but is immensely rewarding.
The Spider is subtle retro, equally well-equipped, better on a long trip than a country lane, and is also a gem to drive.
Whichever one you think you want, do try BOTH cars before putting down a deposit. The Fiat is late to the party but there isn;t much to choose between them…
From Thursday I will be testing the Mercedes SLC – yep, the ‘new’ SLK…
For those of you lucky enough to be stuck in a dilemma over whether to buy an MX-5 or the new Fiat 124 Spider (pictured) I have to say there is no easy fix.
However, I can tell you that the outcome of your deliberations may well depend on how old you are.
Why? Well, I would suggest the Fiat is the better looking car. I can’t say there’s anything wrong with the Mazda especially, just that the modern design doesn’t appeal as much as the Spider.
But then I’m a sprightly 53 and my younger friends have no idea what the original 1966 Fiat Spider looked like – or why the cool bonnet on the new version really works for me.
It is going to be fascinating to see how the Fiat sells compared to the MX-5. I think there is a place for both in this world but the Spider, it has the legs on the Mazda for me…
Cats are discerning creatures – they find the warmest, most comfortable spot and nest for the day. Hubble, my Burmese terrorist, is no exception. After 11 years of following me around the place, he’s become a creature of habit.
His favourite spot, from 12.30 until 4pm, is on the roof on my canvass-topped Land Rover. It’s warm, he can eye up the bird population, and there’s no chance of a scrap with the village hounds.
This morning I found him on the roof of the 500C. He’s never taken to the roof of any other car before but the canvass soft-top of the Fiat appears to have been one temptation too far. In a word, Hubble has defected. He’s sold out to a small, cute Italian Shameful.
To keep him off, I’ve had to leave the roof open. It folds back in stages, and takes about 20 seconds to crumple up. It’s not a true soft-top, in that you still have the sides of the car in place but it’s actually rather good in that you don’t get blown away at speed and small people in the back aren’t buffeted around in a hurricane.
Good choice Hubble…