NUMBER ONE ON THE LIST of unexpected events at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with a bullet, is the Fiat Abarth 695 "Tributo Ferrari".
Following the supply of a limited number of Abarth 500s to Ferrari's European dealers as courtesy cars, Fiat has looked to its supercar subsidiary for a project of even greater visual and driving impact.
A collaborative project between Fiat's Abarth division and Ferrari's engineers, the Tributo Ferrari features updates of both a mechanical and styling nature.
Powered by an Abarth- and Ferrari-tuned 1.4 litre 16-valve turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari develops a not inconsiderable 135kW (up from 99kW for the regular Abarth 500). Torque numbers have not been revealed.
Mated to a paddle-shift automated manual transmission and a variable exhaust system, the Tributo Ferrari appears to be a significant step forward into genuine performance territory.
Further emphasising the performance angle, each corner is filled out with dark gloss grey 17-inch alloy wheels attached to sport-tuned suspension and 284mm Brembo brake discs.
The body kit remains largely unchanged from the 'regular' Abarth 500, however a coat of Scuderia Red paint and Racing Grey striping - inspired by the outgoing Ferrari 430 Scuderia - does its bit to set the visuals off.
Neither Fiat nor Ferrari have offered any word on whether the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari will be put into production - if at a greatly increased price and in an ultra-limited run - but more details will likely be revealed at Frankfurt next week.