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Abarth Biposto 695 Record Edition - Report 002

Abarth Biposto Running Costs

After his introduction to the car, Tim Dunlop's second report sees him jump behind the wheel and give us his thoughts on owning and driving this special little Scorpion.

RUSH 002 saw the first report on the Biposto, a full four pages without me even having driven the car. So, it might not surprise you to learn that this report is pretty much going to be made up of me telling you the reader just how good this thing is to drive. Quite simply it's superb, in fact, that word might appear far too many times in this update.

Firstly, I have driven many cars over the years from all the major manufacturers (and some not-so-major ones) but let me tell you this car is the tightest I have ever driven. Even my recently collected new Audi Q4 eTron daily driver with just 13 miles on the clock feels sloppy compared to the Biposto. Seriously this thing feels like it's honed from a solid block of lead, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. The Abarth was collected with just over 10,000 miles on the clock, pretty terrible for saying it was 5 years old.

Well, I have rectified that somewhat as it's now just turned six and I’ve added almost 4,500 miles to the digits showing on the dash. Not bad for saying it's only really used on high days and dry days but boy have we had some fun. It’s been to Silverstone (on multiple occasions), Anglesey, Goodwood, Oulton Park and Shelsey Walsh. All great motorsport venues but the trips in the Abarth were for me to spectate/visit events rather than driving this stripped-out race track special on the track in anger.

Abarth Biposto Running Costs

In fact, the only time it’s been actually on a track was for 5 or 6 demonstration laps at the Mercedes test track at Brooklands Motor Museum as part of the Auto Italia event. These laps, although at a relatively slow pace have persuaded me to get some track days booked, and my thoughts following these will feature in future reports.

In terms of running costs since the last report, the car has had some money spent on it. It was collected from the supplying dealer needing a full service. I opted to have this done by a local Ferrari/Maserati specialist rather than the garage I bought it from, as I wanted to make sure it was serviced following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Sam, the owner of the garage who is looking after the car, is a great guy and very thorough.

The service was completed quickly and efficiently with the car surrounded by various bits of Italian exotica and a few stray engines. A little further expense was incurred following a visit to Sam after a warning light came on as I headed back from Silverstone. Two new lambda sensors later and a full reset of the diagnostics quickly rectified the issue. The period in between the two Fast Club reports has also seen the Biposto sail through its MOT with no advisories which is always a great feeling.

So, after plenty of hours behind the wheel, what are my thoughts? Well, it’s certainly quick! The standard Biposto has 190bhp and the Blue Spark box fitted to my car is supposed to add another 30bhp. Whether it does or not I’m not actually sure. Another job on the to-do list is to get the car on a rolling road, however, a cambelt change is going to be needed first as the car passes its 6th birthday. Assuming the tuning box does what it's supposed to then it can stay fitted. I do think I might have it removed at some point and run the car for some miles without as I am pretty confident Abarth set the car up to be more or less perfect from the factory, the box might be doing more harm than good and ruining the balance of the car. Time will tell.

Abarth Biposto Running Costs

The Record Edition has an LSD as standard and this is certainly a huge plus point. The temptation of flooring the accelerator as you exit a roundabout quite often gets the better of me, but thankfully the LSD keeps the car in check and enables the Akrapovic to do its work with a lovely note as the revs build and the roundabout becomes a tiny spec in the rear-view mirror. The dash-mounted gear lever is well placed and finds the gears nicely, however unlike the overall car, the gearbox is not tight and if anything, this is probably one criticism of the overall package as slotting it home with some firmness would certainly add to the many plus points of this car.

Speaking of the exhaust - here’s that word again superb! From the rear the car looks great, I often check the Akrapovic for stray wildlife given the width of the pipes, but some hard acceleration would certainly clear them out (or deafen them). It’s a work of art and the odd crackle and pop are certainly welcomed - but never becomes too much.

It’s also certainly worth talking about the suspension, this is probably where a lot of the tightness comes from in the feel of the car. The xTreme set up which is bespoke to the Abarth Biposto is a true highlight. People have mentioned the car would be crashy and too firm, especially with 18” wheels but I really disagree. I do like a firm suspension set up and even my daily driver Q4 is set to Dynamic mode to make it as stiff as possible.

The Abarth is more or less perfect, the only gripe is a little knocking at very low manoeuvring speeds which I think could be the well-known top mount issue. As I write this the car is booked in for a full check-over and geo set up which should either find a fault or eliminate it with a decent setup, I do fear though that the shocks, etc might need a service. According to Abarth, this is supposed to be done every 6,000 miles, and this is not a quick job. The shocks have to be taken off the car and sent away to xTreme in Italy which I have not managed to hear of any fellow owners successfully doing as yet.

Assuming all the servicing I have planned goes well, early March will see a trip to Curborough Sprint Course near Lichfield for the cars' first track day. This great little track will allow me to get up to speed, as although I have no doubt the car is capable, I am a little rusty. Following on from this will see a trip to Donington Park a month or two later for some real on-track experience with the yellow peril.

Getting out and about in the car and attending a few events it has become evident that some people think this is just an Abarth with a body kit and big wheels, there is a small contingent however who do know what this car is. The little knowing look, the nod of the head, or the thumbs up from an appreciative petrolhead still makes me smile and long may this continue.


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