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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  May 21 2012, 7:32 PM

When it goes on sale, the Fiat Abarth 695 Maserati Edition won’t be available in the U.S. and that’s a good thing because dealers would have to tack “unsellable” onto its laughably long name.

Continue Reading…

 |  May 20 2012, 2:01 PM

Back at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Abarth unveiled its 695 Tributo Maserati, a custom Fiat 500C inspired by fellow Italian automaker, Maserati. The special edition model will now make it to production as the 695 Edizione Maserati.

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 |  May 04 2012, 8:31 AM

Catrinel Menghia, the lingerie model who starred in the Fiat brand’s sexy Super Bowl ad is back in several new spots for the Italian automaker.

Helping promote the new Fiat 500 Abarth performance model, the ad was a clear indication of a change in gears from the automaker, after dropping its female US brand boss and its female-targeted J-Lo ads for some sex appeal directed right at a male audience.

Are they as good as the original? Are you going to watch them anyway no matter what we say? Of course you are. So stop reading and start watching below:

Continue Reading…

 |  Apr 10 2012, 6:32 PM

It appears that is Fiat will continue to expand its American 500 offerings based on documents filed with NHTSA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). 

Positioned between the standard Fiat 500 and the more powerful Abarth model, the 500T Sport should feature a less powerful version of the turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder currently found in the Abarth 500.

The Abarth model pumps out 160-hp and the standard Fiat 500 with the 1.4-liter has 100-hp, so the 500T Sport should come in at around 130-140 hp. The 500 Abarth in Europe makes 133 hp in its regular trim, so that could be the 500T powerplant American will see.

The document also showed that an Abarth convertible model is on its way to the U.S. as a 2013 model, but that isn’t a huge surprise considering it already exists in other markets. We expect it to be identical to the Abarth coupe but with a power-sliding cloth roof similar to what is found on the 500c seen above.

[Source: Car & Driver]

 |  Mar 19 2012, 8:31 PM

The Fiat 500 Abarth Venom is the culmination of American and Italian minds working together. Mopar partnered up with Italian parts manufacturer Magneti Marelli to create the Venom variant of the Fiat 500 Abarth model.

The demo vehicle was debuted out in Las Vegas and even had a surprise visit by supermodel Catrinel Menghia that has made her claim to fame in the popular Abarth ads. Between Mopar and Magneti Marelli, the Fiat 500 Abarth Venom features carbon fiber goods for the body – including hood and side mirror housings – that in total drop 200 lbs from the vehicle’s weight. The roof also gets a large scorpion graphic.

Horsepower from the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine gets bumped up by as much as 40-hp (from the stock 160-hp) thanks to a retuned ECU and exhaust system.

Other options include Magneti Marelli 17-inch wheels in black, seats, and upgraded interior trim.

While the Fiat 500 Abarth Venom won’t make its way to America as a complete vehicle, Fiat tuning shops in America are already finding a way to import the parts so that you can build your own. Expect to pay a premium though, Magneti Marelli goods are expensive.

Watch the video – featuring the beautiful Catrinel Menghia – after the break.

Continue Reading…

 |  Mar 01 2012, 11:43 AM

The marketing department has certainly switched gears over at Fiat. From the female-targeted J-Lo ads for the cutsie 500 to the sultry Fiat 500 Abarth spot featuring lingerie model Catrinel Menghia.

Another step in that direction, the Fiat 500 Abarth is back in a new commercial titled “House Arrest” featuring legendary bad boy Charlie Sheen. And don’t worry, Menghia makes a cameo too.

Watch the video below:

Continue Reading…

 |  Feb 27 2012, 12:56 AM

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Abarth is having a four-car party at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, with a trio of special edition models joining the already mentioned 695 Tributo Maserati.

The three special edition Fiats from Abarth all made their debut back at the Bologna Motor Show in 2011, and the 695 Assetto Corse, 595 Competizione, and Punto Scorpione will make their way to Geneva hoping to garner more sales.

The Punto Scorpione (pictured above) is a limited edition model with just 199 vehicles being made. Under the hood is a 1.4L MultiAir engine with 180-hp and 190 lb-ft of torque. The two-tone Nero Scorpione paint scheme also sports a special matte black paintwork on the hood and roof. Four-piston yellow brake calipers along with suspension upgrades from Koni makes the Punto Scorpione “intended for a more mature audience that wishes to express their sporting spirit more discreetly and elegantly, but with no intention to settle for less.”

The 695 Assetto Corse was designed for track racing with an aggressive front-end design and comes complete with a new aerodynamic spoiler and screen-printed grilles. Powering the Assetto Corse is a 1.4L turbocharged, 205-hp with 17-inch wheels getting the power to the ground. The interior is the highlight of the Assetto Corse, meeting FIA regulations with a roll-bar welded to the body. The factory glass side windows have been swapped out with Lexan counterparts and is 66 lbs lighter than the previous 500 Assetto Corse.

Lastly, the 595 Competizione has a metallic Grigio Record scheme and features 17-inch titanium-colored wheels. Yellow brake calipers contrast the wheels on each corner while the interior sports Abarth Corsa by Sabelt leather and alcantara seats. The 595 Competizione is powered by a 1.4L Turbo T-Jet engine with 160-hp and 170 lb-ft of torque.

See AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Geneva Motor Show preview here.

GALLERY: Special Editions Abarth Models

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GALLERY: Abarth 695 Tributo Maserati

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 |  Feb 20 2012, 3:00 PM

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Following in the footsteps of the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari, this year’s Geneva Motor Show will see a 695 Tributo Maserati. The custom Fiat 500C is a special tribute edition for Maserti, with only 499 units to be produced by Abarth.

Powering the 695 Tributo Maserati will be a 1.4L Turbo T-Jet engine with 180-hp paired with an Abarth Competizione transmission. The exhaust will be Abarth’s Record Monza unit with “dual mode” volume control and will sport hexagonal-shaped tips, paying homage to the design found on Maserati vehicles.

On all four corners are Maserati-designed 17-inch Neptun wheels while Brembo brakes reside behind each wheel. Suspension changes include upgraded shock absorbers. Completing the aesthetics on this limited edition Abarth is a three-stage clearcoat Pontevecchio Bordeaux paint with a gray-fabric soft top. Xenon headlights will be standard on the Tributo Maserati.

The interior has been accented with sand beige Poltrana Frau leather and the number 695 has been heat-printed onto the headrests. A matte-carbon look can be seen on the dashboard and shifter trim, which also sports the 695 logo. The black leather steering wheel gets a tri-color treatment of leather inserts while famed timepiece manufacturer Jaeger LeCoultre produced the instrument panel. Of course each vehicle has been numbered.

Last but not least, as with all limited edition Abarth models, the Tributo Maserati will come with the Tramontano Tribute to Abarth Travel Pack, which consists of two gray leather travel bags.

GALLERY: Abarth 695 Tributo Maserati

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 2:45 PM

Sex sells, even if you don’t quite know what that pretty lady is saying.

Luckily we’ve got the subbed version of the popular Fiat 500 Abarth advertisement, right here! This spot, which was proved to be one of the most successful ads seen during the superbowl, was first seen way back in November. That doesn’t really matter, as we can’t get enough of it!

Check out the translations in the video below.

Continue Reading…

 |  Feb 07 2012, 1:30 PM

This Fiat 500 Abarth ad hit the spot with viewers, and showed the biggest increase in internet traffic during the course of the Super Bowl.

Edmunds revealed that the commercial showed the greatest increase of traffic to the models page on their site. Using measurements at 7 different points during Sundays game, Edmunds found that the Fiat section of their site had a 138 percent rise in activity at the end of the game.

The effective commercial follows Abarth’s “Small, but wicked” catch-phrase, and is sure to catch your attention in just 60 seconds.

The Abarth is going to be hitting North America some time this year, featuring track-ready performance and small car fuel efficiency.

Check it out in the video below.

Continue Reading…

 |  Jan 17 2012, 6:45 PM

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Fiat has finally announced the pricing on their 500 Abarth model for the American market, starting at $22,000 and will include a segment-exclusive, full-day Abarth driving experience.

The 500 model that’s been “designed for track-day enthusiasts and driving purists who want the ultimate high-performance small car at an attainable price,” the 500 Abarth is powered by a 1.4L MultiAir Turbo engine with 160-hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. The rest of the vehicle has also been tweaked for a truly sporty driving experience, including Abarth-tuned suspension, brake systems, dual exhaust, turbo-boost gauge with integrated LED shift light and 16-inch wheels.

Fiat will throw in an Abarth Driving Experience for new owners, offering them the opportunity to attend a segment-exclusive driving experience at no additional charge. The Abarth Driving Experience features a full day of driving training with instructors from the Richard Petty Driving Experience in a safe and structured setting.

GALLERY: Fiat 500 Abarth

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 |  Jan 17 2012, 2:45 PM

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It’s no surprise that the 500′s return to North America did not make the splash that Fiat expected. Having sold less than 20,000 vehicles in its first model year in the United States, the 500 only did half as well as the company initially forecasted.

The success of the 500 is essential to the Italian automaker’s re-entry into the North American market. In Europe, Fiat sold more than 770,000 units since the 500′s introduction in 2007. Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne admitted that the 500′s weak performance was in part due to overly-optimistic forecasting. “We thought we were going to show up and just because of the fact people like gelato and pasta, people will buy it.”

However, Fiat believes that creating variants for the 500 could help boost its popularity.

Set for unveiling at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show, Fiat hopes that a 5-door Fiat 500 wagon will find better success in the North American market. The official release date of the Fiat 500 wagon is slated for 2013, while a sportier Fiat Abarth hot hatch will be available for sale later this year.

Whether the 500 wagon will boost Fiat sales remains to be seen. While the wagon’s dimensions will be slightly larger and more suitable for American consumers, station wagons are historically unpopular in North America.

[Source: Car Connection]

 |  Jan 16 2012, 9:00 PM

It appears that the Japanese have also embraced Italy’s compact Fiat 500, but this was hardly what we expected from a Japanese tuner. Office-K out in Japan got their hands on a limited edition Fiat Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari and figured it’d look a whole lot better in chrome.

The Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari comes in its own Scuderia Red finish, but Office-K didn’t really care for that shade. They wrapped the entire compact in chrome vinyl while applying racing stripes in Italy’s infamous colors. Surprisingly nothing else was done to the vehicle, leaving the upgraded 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder with 180-hp.

Abarth’s 695 Tributo Ferrari features its own aero package, 17-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, carbon mirrors, “Record Monza” dual exhaust and suspension upgrades as well. On the inside, Abarth outfits the Tributo Ferrari with a pair of carbon fiber bucket seats, flat-bottomed leather steering wheel with red inserts, and carbon fiber trim.

Check out a video showing off the shiny, chrome Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari after the break.

[Source: Carscoop]

Continue Reading…

 |  Jan 11 2012, 6:02 PM

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Pricing for the Fiat 500 Abarth model has finally been announced, starting at $22,000 making it cheaper than the Volkswagen GTI, MINI Cooper S and (presumably) the Hyundai Veloster Turbo.

Though the comparisons with the other models aren’t exactly apples to apples on paper, Fiat’s 500 Abarth has the most impressive power-to-weight ratio compared. With 160-hp and 170 lb-ft of torque in a 2,533-lb body, the Abarth, in a way, provides the best bang for the buck.

It’s powered by a race-inspired 1.4L MultiAir Turbocharged engine and also features Abarth-tuned suspension, brake systems, dual exhaust, turbo-boost gauge with integrated LED shift light and 16-inch wheels. The interior also gets some race-inspired amenities with performance seats featuring a one-piece design with large side bolsters and racing-harness pass through with accent stitching. It’ll come standard with BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication, Bose premium audio and steering-wheel mounted audio controls.

GALLERY: Fiat 500 Abarth

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 |  Dec 21 2011, 8:30 AM

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Rather than a version of the Alfa Romeo 4C, Abarth‘s upcoming sports car will be a front-drive machine. Rumors of a stand-alone model for the Fiat performance brand have been circiling for months, with initial speculation that Fiat would share the 4C among brands.

Not so, says the latest report, claiming instead that the Abarth brand’s flagship sports car will put power to the front wheels. How much power? Look for a number in the 200 to 250 hp range, indicating that the car will get an engine larger than the turbocharged 1.4-liter found in the Fiat 500 Abarth model – which debuted at the LA Auto Show last month and which will go on sale in North America soon.

Inspiration for the car is said to come from the 1968 Scorpione, though the car is far from a done-deal. Fiat has yet to officially green light the project and even if it does, the new Abarth sports car isn’t likely to make it to America.

GALLERY: Fiat 500 Abarth

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[Source: Car&Driver]

 |  Nov 21 2011, 3:52 PM

Rumors have been swirling for quite some time now that Laura Soave, arguably the person responsible for bringing Fiat back into the U.S. market, would be replaced as the head of the Fiat brand in North America. Well the news is official now, with a press release being sent out moments ago confirming Soave’s exit and Timothy Kuniskis taking her place.

It’s startling how much can happen in just a year, where at the 2010 LA Auto Show, Soave was proudly on stage presenting the Fiat 500 for all of us to see. Now a year later, she’s not even with the company anymore amidst rumors of improper professional relationships, slow sales and marketing disaster (J.Lo as spokesperson, anyone?). Her replacement, Timothy Kuniskis, has been recently serving as Director for both the Chrysler Brand and Fiat Brand Product Marketing. At least now he has the Fiat 500 Abarth to bolster sales.

 |  Nov 21 2011, 10:30 AM

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Don’t live in LA, or you just can’t be bothered to face the crowds and finish off your day with sore feet? Then you’re in luck. AutoGuide has done all the footwork (and the talkie talkie, and the video editing), to bring you the highlights from the 2011 LA Auto Show. From the Subaru BRZ STI Concept, to the 650-hp Shelby GT500 watch our video series to get the rundown on the most exciting vehicles at this year’s show.

Watch all of AutoGuide’s 2011 LA Auto Show videos below:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 17 2011, 6:08 PM

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The Fiat 500 was just an appetizer. This is the car Fiat fans have really been waiting for, the 500 Abarth. Built by the automaker’s in-house tuning division, the Abarth model gets a long list of upgrades, from a lower and stiffer suspension, to upgraded wheels and, most importantly, a turbocharged mated to the 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine to deliver 160-hp. Find out more on the Fiat 500 Abarth in the video below.

GALLERY: Fiat 500 Abarth

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Watch the video below:

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 |  Nov 17 2011, 9:30 AM

Fiat‘s ad spot featuring Jennifer Lopez might have been excellently targeted at the Italian automaker’s prospective female clientele, but it was jeered by the brand’s traditional male buyers – the ones who carried on the brand in America for decades, waiting for its return.

Debuting the new Fiat 500 Abarth performance model at the LA Auto Show yesterday, Fiat previewed an ad spot that will undoubtedly appeal to the male demographic. Our apologies to J-Lo, but this spot is sexy enough to make you feel uncomfortable in front of the kids. And the best part? It’s funny too.

Watch the video after the jump and check out all the details on the new Fiat 500 Abarth here:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 16 2011, 5:32 PM

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Did he just say that? Yes, Fiat Brand boss Oliver Francois commented that the new Fiat 500 Abarth “arouses without the need for a prescription”. Spoken with a thick French accent at the vehicle’s launch today at the LA Auto Show, it sounds much more eloquent than “Viagra on wheels.”

Powered by a 160-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter multiair engine with 170 lb-ft of torque, it’s an over 50 percent upgrade from the standard Fiat 500. “When you see the scorpion you know the vehicle behind that badge packs venom,” says Francois.

Other upgrades include 16 or optional 17-inch wheel, a 0.6-inch lower ride height, 40 percent stiffer springs and adjustable Koni shocks. Larger brake rotors improve the stopping distance, while a custom aero kit help aerodynamic performance and looks great too. Plus, there’s a dual-exhaust setup.

Inside there’s a turbo boost gauge and shift light, with custom aluminum pedals, a flat-bottom steering wheel and red stitching on the seats.

Pricing for the Abarth model has yet to be announced.

GALLERY: 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

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Discuss this story at Fiat500Owners.co

See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 LA Auto Show coverage here

 |  Nov 16 2011, 2:32 AM

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Europeans won’t be the only ones having all the fun with the Fiat 500 Abarth anymore. North American showrooms will be gaining the turbocharged 160-hp 1.4L MultiAir engine model packed full with an Abarth-tuned suspension, brake system, race-inspired design and technology features not normally seen on compact cars. Full power comes on at 5500 rpm, while max torque is rated at 170 lb-ft at 2500 rpm.

Improving aerodynamics and giving the Fiat 500 a more aggressive appearance, Abarth has outfitted the North American model with functional exterior changes compared to the run-of-the-mill Fiat 500 counterpart. The front bumper has been modified to ensure maximum airflow for the intercoolers while the Abarth-designed 16-inch wheels gives it a much sportier appearance. Those looking for even more can opt for 17-inch rollers to cover up their performance brake system highlighted by bright red calipers. In the rear, a large liftgate-mounted spoiler can be seen, extending the roofline and improving the aerodynamics with additional downforce.

Unique to the Fiat 500 Abarth’s interior is the addition of a turbo-boost gauge with integrated LED shift light in the center. Tech-lovers can opt for the TomTom navigation with BLUE&ME hands-free all bundled into a 4.3-inch touchscreen display. Accenting the interior is an Abarth-designed aluminum pedal covers that feature nero rubber trim along with a nero leather shift knob with rosso accent stitching. The performance seats are a one-piece design with racing harness pass-throughs and accent stitching throughout.

In terms of suspension modifications, the Abarth model features 40-percent stiffer spring rates and a 0.6-inch lower height than the standard Fiat 500 model. Koni’s dual-valve frequency selective damping shocks allow for plenty of adjustability for improved comfort and smoothness as well as driving performance. Braking upgrades from Abarth include larger 11.1-inch rotors in the front (compared to the standard 10.1-inch on the Fiat 500) paired with a single-piston brake caliper. The rears feature 9.4-inch discs also with a single-piston brake caliper.

No pricing was announced on the Fiat 500 Abarth yet.

GALLERY: 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

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Set to be unveiled today at the LA Auto Show, click here for a complete show preview and updated coverage.

Discuss this story at Fiat500Owners.com

 |  Oct 31 2011, 8:15 AM

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Fiat has officially confirmed it will add a third model to its U.S. lineup, debuting the new 500 Abarth at the LA Auto Show.

Looking like a kitted-out version of the standard 500, this car is certain to hit the sweet spot with enthusiasts, and is expected to come equipped with a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces as much as 160-hp – 59-hp more than the standard car. Other upgrades will include a stiffer suspension, larger brakes, bigger wheels and tires, plus a aggressive bodywork and plenty of graphics. With the car Fiat is looking to take the fight to its closes rival, the MINI Cooper S.

In an official release, the company says the car is, ” designed for track-day enthusiasts and driving-purists who want the ultimate high-performance small car with the pedigree of an exclusive Italian exotic.”

GALLERY: Fiat 500 Abarth

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Discuss this story at Fiat500Owners.com and see AutoGuide’s complete LA Auto Show preview here.

 |  Oct 11 2011, 4:30 PM

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Romeo Ferraris is clearly looking to offer a street-legal version of their widebody race Abarth 500, and now the Italian tuning firm has released some photos of their Abarth 500 Stradale. Not many details were packaged with the photos, but Romeo Ferraris was quick to announce the 1.4L turbo engine will pack 300-hp.

The 500 Stradale also transforms the stock Fiat body to a more aggressive and wider stance, further accented by vents on the hood, a rear diffuser and a subtle roof spoiler. New wheels completes the package while the interior features a mix of leather and Alcantara with carbon fiber goodies. The race inspiration continues inside as well, with the rear seat bench tossed out for a roll cage, while the driver and front passenger gets treated to a pair of bucket seats.

No pricing was announced or when it’ll be available, but Romeo Ferraris did confirm that it’ll be a limited production model.

[Source: Carscoop]

Get more Fiat 500 news and info at Fiat500Owners.com

GALLERY: Romeo Ferrris Abarth 500 Stradale

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 |  Sep 16 2011, 5:29 PM

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Abarth showed off its 695 Competizione at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show and the Fiat 500-based Competizione is track ready packing over 180-hp with a roll cage. Abarth began by stripping the rear seat from the 500 and in its place is the rear bracing for a roll bar. And while we find Abarth’s claim that the 695 Competizione is a street-legal race car a bit of a stretch, we have to admit the extra performance and race-inspired interior does the Fiat good.

The 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder in the 695 Competizione produces over 180-hp according to Abarth and is put to the wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. The transmission features two modes, an automatic Street and a full manual Track. The stock exhaust is nowhere to be seen, instead Abarth outfits the 695 Competizione with its Record Monza, two-mode system that opens up past 3000-rpm. 0-62 mph is rated at less than seven seconds with a top speed of 140-mph.

Modifying the suspension is a set of Koni shocks while braking performance has been enhanced with Brembo four-piston calipers. On the outside, the only difference the 695 Competizione features is a set of 17-inch wheels from the Tributo Ferrari and the Grigio Competizione Opaco livery. On the inside, the racing seats up front are reupholstered in leather and Alcantara while the instrument cluster was specially made by Jaeger. Accessories include a carbon-fiber dash panel and aluminum pedals with Abarth’s scorpion logo.

GALLERY: Abarth 695 Competizione

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