How much of a liability is a car? It’s such a love / hate relationship. It is a beautiful relationship between yourself and your car until the day it breaks down. Why?! Why forsake me? I treated you well. Regular services. Kept you clean. I am so sorry that you have to sleep outside baby. Yes this is a car I am talking about. Do you not treat your car like that?
Well probably due to a few contributing factors my car, Maya Angelou (she is black and strong), decided that it was time for it’s annual hospital check up at my local mechanic. That however meant that I would be without vehicle for a few days! This sucks. I had a busy week coming! Like real busy. In the past I have rented a car when faced with this dilemma, however I wanted something out of the usual. It has been a long year, a real long one thus I decided to spoil myself. My fiancee is fascinated with the Fiat 500, other wise known as the ‘Cinquecento’ in Europe and I don’t mind them either. Yes I am comfortable with my sexuality! I looked around at very last minute and decided on a standard one from one of the local rental companies. All things were confirmed and I was to collect one in the morning. Just before 11pm I checked in on my mails to discover a mail stating that they were out of stock. No!!! What now? Frantic google search led me to Status Luxury Vehicles who happened to have a couple of Fiat 500’s on their books. Not bad not bad!
I was still up at 2am because worked called for this and I made the booking wondering if I would be able to collect the car in the morning. 7h30am the next morning I received a phonecall from a Nicole who works for Status Luxury Vehicles (SLV), it went something like this “Good morning Mr McPherson, how are you?” **insert general conversation** then jump to “we have upgraded your standard Fiat 500 to the Abarth Edition, is it okay if my manager drops it off at 8h30am this morning?” Well hell yeah! What amazing service..
8h30am came about and Martin pulled up outside our home, I signed a digital document and was handed the keys to a pearl white Fiat 500 Abarth Convertible with a black canvas top. This car was specced to the max – blue tooth sound system, suede bucket seats, xenon’s etc and to top it off an automatic paddle driven sequential gearbox attached to dual sports pipes peeping out the rear of the car. Combine this with a pretty large turbo the popping sound that emerged from the exhaust system upon high speed gear changes was damn near orgasmic! It was so addictive. So much so that 48 hours later I was filling the Fiat up again. Yes a tank in 2 days! And I didn’t drive that much. I admit that wherever I went it was foot to the floor with each and every gear change evoking a popping sound with such glee! The car itself turned heads like you wouldn’t believe, whether it was parked or in motion. At some stage my missus and I were leaving the Waterfront to arrive at the parked car with an entire family surrounding the little Fiat plain and simply gawking with admiration. The look on their faces when I unlocked the car. There is no question, one of the ultimate town cars on the market. The slick design that appeals to both the female & testosterone fuelled male only giving away it’s sporting heritage, thanks to the Abarth label, via examples such as the subtle wider stance as compared to the standard Fiat 500 and the air vents located on the front and rear bumpers.
What is Abarth you may ask? Simplified it is the in-house tuning division of Fiat which takes the standard designed car and turns it into what you see here through various upgrades both internally and externally. It can be likened to the “M” division of BMW and the “AMG” division of Mercedes Benz. Well is it worth it all? To decide on this let’s look at the figures, I will be comparing the Fiat 500 C Auto as essentially this is what I drove except Abarth’ed:
Standard Fiat 500S Cabriolet 1.4 Automatic = R266,900
Abarth 595 Turismo 1.4T Auto = R364,000
(Prices obtained on the 18th of September 2015 from Reagan, William Simpson, 087 727 7880)
That is almost a R100 000 difference! A small decent car. Is it all worth it? Hmmm.. Let’s look further into the figures:
|500S Cabriolet Auto||Abarth 595 Turismo Auto|
|Power Maximum (KW)||74||118|
|Power Peak Revs||6000||5500|
|Power to weight ratio (kW/ton)||76.3||109.8|
|Torque Maximum (NM)||131||230|
|Torque Maximum (r/min)||4250||3000|
|Acceleration 0-100km (s)||10.6||7.6|
|Maximum Top Speed (km/h)||182||209|
That is the fun stuff, power to weight, maximum kW’s etc etc. Now for the potentially sad side:
|500S Cabriolet Auto||Abarth 595 Turismo Auto|
|Fuel Consumption Urban (l/100km)||7.1||8.4|
|Fuel Consumption Extra Urban (l/100km)||5.0||5.4|
|Fuel Consumption Average (l/100km)||5.8||6.5|
|Fuel Range Average||603||539|
As can be seen, there are stark differences between the two vehicles but it comes down to one statement that I swear by – “If you can afford it, think about what will put a smile on your face each time you approach your car. That makes the choice easier. You have to look forward to getting behind the wheel considering that the average South African spends 3.5 days per year behind the wheel on their general work journey”. These are statistics were released by TomTom in 2015 based on the fact that they have tracked all of our journeys when utilising a GPS device. Yes we do have it ever so slightly easier in Cape Town vs Johannesburg but still. Can you imagine sitting in your car for 3.5 days straight? Ouch.
To conclude, a car is a major liability and can be approached like the start of a new relationship – weigh up the pro’s and con’s. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed zipping down the streets, slipping into parking spaces, dropping the roof and all the while with a smile on my face. Even if the Fiat 500 Abarth does not tickle your fancy I highly recommend renting one for a weekend of pure blissful fun!
Check out Status Luxury Vehicles and their amazing range that is available to rent, inclusive of the Abarth.
Status Luxury Vehicles
38 Neptune Street, Paarden Eiland, Cape Town, South Africa – they deliver however!
0861 100 108