VIITS-Tuned Abarth 595: HKS For Euro Cars Starts Here

Why doesn’t HKS cater to European and foreign cars in general? That’s a question I had in my mind for years, and one I’d asked the HKS guys multiple times in the past. Their replies were always much the same, conservative acknowledgements that it was something the company was contemplating.

But with so many non-Japanese cars turbocharged from factory these days – and more Japanese buyers interested in them than ever before – HKS shifting some of their R&D focus to overseas vehicles was always going to happen. And now it has.

Despite their late entry into the Euro car tuning market, HKS is here with ‘VIITS’, an imaginative play on the three letters that make up the HKS name (click here to see the animation to get a better idea). From this year on, the VIITS name will accompany all HKS products with a non-Japanese car focus, but at the same time cars that HKS will deem worthy of the VIITS concept which stands for Valuable, Innovation, Idealism, Tuning, System.


HKS is kicking things off with a VIITS-enhanced Abarth 595. At first I thought this model was a strange choice, but when factoring in its huge popularity here in Japan for over a decade now, it actually makes perfect sense.


This 595 Competizione represents the creme of the new Abarth crop currently being offered in Japan, but the VIITS products on offer are compatible with older variants of the 500’s ‘Scorpion’ range, which are flooding the market in Japan. If you’re a younger driver here looking to get into a fun, manual, turbocharged hatchback, the hot 500 would have to be on your shortlist.


What HKS offers via VIITS is a range of parts to further sharpen this Italian pocket rocket, starting off with a suspension upgrade.


HKS have developed a model-specific set of height adjustable coilovers able to fine-tune the 500’s handling performance and take full advantage of wheel and tire upgrades – in this case 17×7.5-inch Advan Racing TC-4s wrapped up in 205/40R17 Yokohama Advan Flevia V701s. If the car had been built for track duty first and foremost, Advan Neova AD09s would have surely been HKS’s choice, but with this first round of introductory modification for the VIITS brand, they’ve focussed on the light upgrades most customers will end up doing.


In its stock form the little 1.4-liter turbocharged four that powers up the Abarth’s front wheels puts out 180PS. On their in-house, HKS recorded 160.9PS at the tires, a believable figure when you take into account some driveline loss.


Utilizing the VIITS boost controller, HKS have introduced a tiny hike in turbo pressure – 1.38kg/cm (19.62psi) stock to 1.48 kg/cm (21.04psi). While the resulting 6.3PS power gain at the wheels (167.2PS total) seems minute on paper, in the real world – or in my case, hooning the car around HKS’s private test road at their HQ facility – switching between settings I noticed smoother in-gear boost pick up and a bump in mid-range torque that really refines the 595’s driving feel.

While having a nose around under the hood, I caught a glimpse of the VIITS coilovers’ adjustable top mounts. It was good to see that there is scope to dial in a lot more negative camber for those that would favour an aggressive setup for more spirited driving.


The sharp and responsive way the VIITS 595 steers and hangs on around corners is impressive, but the thing that left a real lasting impression on me was the enhanced exhaust note. The VIITS complete system features an integrated electronic valve to automatically manage flow into the mid-silencer, in so ridding the car of its factory low-rpm drone and raspy, overly loud sound at start-up.


The bulk of the sound has been engineered to come in the midrange, where you’d want it to be. This adds just the right loudness and tone to the 595 without further emphasizing the factory-engineered echoey, almost over-manufactured burble.


It sits right, looks the part and has plenty of performance to keep the adrenaline flowing. Most of all though, it reminded me just how much fun it is to throw light, manual transmission-equipped cars around.


This is definitely what we need more of, but unfortunately Fiat thinks otherwise. The Abarth 595 won’t be getting a successor when it’s discontinued – the new 500 will only come in EV form.

After spending some time with the VIITS 595, I’d really love to see HKS take it to the next level. It’s just begging for a turbo upgrade and an extra wallop of power. Not much, 50 to 80PS more would make it so much fun.


For now though, it’s a perfect introduction to VIITS. Will we be seeing HKS-modified BMW M4s and Porsche Turbos in the near future? I certainly hope so. It makes so much sense and is something I’m sure all enthusiasts would welcome with open arms.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: dino_dalle_carbonare



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Well maybe they didn't pay attention to European cars because they can actually turn without spending a ton of money on tuning parts like the Japanese ones. Fiat has already done way more on the 500. There are quite a lot special editions with improvements on about everything.


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Positive vibes, eh? HAHA.

Dino - this is making me want an Abarth!


Do you disagree? HKS produces top quality parts but I see no point ditching the Akrapovich exhaust the 500 has for an HKS one. And the hp gain is a joke. Tjets have been tuned extensively and can produce a lot of bhp without losing in reliability. So when a local tuner here can get me 250+bhp from such an engine I don't see what's so special here.


This is just a start for a company that didn't tune non-Japanese machines before this. They'd need time to research and develop parts before the more serious build begin.


Well maybe they didn't pay attention to European cars because they can actually turn without spending a ton of money on tuning parts like the Japanese ones.

This is nonsensical. You're talking rubbish. There's lots of wonderful European and Japanese cars. In fact, Porsche brought in Toyota to assist in the overhaul of the Zuffenhausen manufacturing facility, introducing mass production techniques, that would allow Porsche to carry out production processes more efficiently. So without Toyota, Porsche almost certainly would not enjoy the sucess it has today.

but the VIITS products on offer are compatible with older variants of the 500’s ‘Scorpion’ range, which are flooding the market in Japan. If you’re a younger driver here looking to get into a fun, manual, turbocharged hatchback, the hot 500 would have to be on your shortlist.

Most Abarth models don't come with an Akrapovič. We should be greatful for the local tuners creating 250hp+ Abarth rockets and legendary brands Japanese brands like HKS who want to tune European cars. I'd love to see an HKS 992 Turbo S.


Ben sounds like an idiot. lol.


More the merrier! In a time when so many companies chose to copy or white label existing parts, rehashing the same things over and over, introducing new product lines and putting time into true r&d for new platforms is great news for everyone.


Yes sure Toyota helped Porsche and Subaru chose Prodrive when they wanted to compete in the WRC. So if it weren't for a European company Subaru would be known for its cauldrons rather than its cars today. We can go on for days giving examples trying to prove how good either Japanese or Europeans are. Point is that Japanese cars were way worse than their European rivals (besides reliability that is) leaving a lot of room for improvement so it's only logical for Japanese to have a lot of great tuning companies for their cars. Half of their cars couldn't go downhill for more than 20 miles before toasting their brakes or they understeered even when you tried to park them. So if I started a tuning company in a country that produces a hell lot of cars that need a hell lot of improvement, I would definitely focus on them, especially when European cars already have a whole lot of tuners with know how and expertise coming from actually winning the most important motorsport events on the planet and not just a few good times in Tsukuba and a few good moments in D1.


Sounds like someone that hasn't dealt with some of the euro aftermarket companies. Spend some time trying to fit and tune dinan setups and you will appreciate a company like hks showing interest in euro models.


Point is that Japanese cars were way worse than their European rivals (besides reliability that is) leaving a lot of room for improvement so it's only logical for Japanese to have a lot of great tuning companies for their cars.

With that logic, the famous European tuning companies wouldn't exist. No 9ff, Cosworth, HAMANN, Brabus, AMG.

Say less.


Ben, I get it Japanese car culture and all the tuning are currently paying your paycheck but please do not compare apples to oranges. You are comparing tuners that either have been involved in F1 (Cosworth) or are official tuners (approved by some of the strictest manufacturers in the world) to HKS that is a great company but has won nothing. Since you are the automotive expert why don't you compare two cars, whichever you like, a Japanese and a European one, in any track you like or in terms of performance or the quality of their parts that have to do with performance. I bet it will be an interesting read. Every Luigi with a toolset in an Italian village can get more bhp from a FIRE engine than what HKS got out of the TJET. The companies you mentioned exist because motorsport. Unless HKS has been involved in F1 like Cosworth and I don't know it.


Do you realize that a Japanese engine manufacturer won the F1 championship last year? Lmao


And this proves nothing when it comes to tuners. Or maybe it does .That European tuners get involved in serious Motorsport while Japanese ones are not even taken into consideration. If you are trying to say that Japanese make good cars because a japanese engine won in F1 this is the second worse argument after Ben talking about mass production methods when we are talking about tuning.


You are the one that brought up F1 in regards to tuning superiority. In one sentence you claim that Asia doesn't have a quality tuning culture and in the next you claim they do because the factory cars are terrible. Make up your mind. Asian manufacturers are just as successful at racing as any other continent.


I brought up F1 when Ben mentioned tuners that have been involved in it. I think that my point is quite clear. Great Japanese tuners because not so great cars. When Ben mentioned European tuners that shouldn't exist because I said that European cars were better, I mentioned motorsport. Because it's definitely a joke comparing HKS to Cosworth or AMG. To be honest I don't even think they do the same job.


They don't do the same job, but Nismo and Gazoo Racing do. Maybe try educating yourself a little bit before commenting?


When there will be an article about Nismo and Gazoo racing I won't comment. Even though all Japanese tuners together have won less than Cosworth alone. Here it's about HKS which managed to get 6 bhp from an engine that every workshop in the world can tune, added a coilover and an exhaust and we should be thrilled according to Speedhunters because they will start tuning European cars. And I bet the parts on this 500 cost more than half the value of the car.



I've dealth with your condescending BS on here before and the reality is this guy actually makes a really solid point. Japanese cars were terrible from a performance stand point which is why there is so much aftermarket in them.

HKS is not a relevant company in any actual field of motorsport that I can think of on a global scale. They made their name drag racing and tuning cars that had a lot of improvements left on the table from the factory.

"Say less."

How about you say less? What are your actual credentials to be telling anyone anything like you're better?

You sound like you have very little experience in the sport and don't know a lot about the history of Japanese performance cars from an actual hot rodding stand point. lol.


How many sweeping statements are there?


I've heard many dumb logic before, but this takes the cake.


I miss my little Abarth so much. Such a fun little thing that was equally as capable on road or track for my talent level. And this is definitely making me want it back...

Dino Dalle Carbonare

They are cool cars, I have always liked them so it seems crazy that Fiat has no plan for the future of these things. As for HKS, well I'm sure with time they could build something more extreme with the 500 but only if there is demand. Let's not forget these are companies developing products for retail, it's all very much market driven. If they wanted I'm sure they could build a 400 hp version for time attack but I don't think this is the direction of VIITS at all. What I do hope is to see them catering more to BMWs, Audis, Porsches, Alfas, Maserati anything turbo really!


VIITS whatever, let's have some HKS stickers!


I love the fact HKS is moving into euro makes but there's really nothing new here. Seems a rather underwhelming way to make your first moves into the market.

The Biposto from Abarth themselves seems to do all of this and more straight from an OEM.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Conservatism at its finest.

Keith Peronilla

Wow! I love the way it sits on those Advan TC-4s lol, can't wait to see what's next for VIITS!


And what's the price of a biposto?

Now, what's the price of, say, an 8 year old Abarth. Leaves lots of room for mods. Which, is the point here.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Totally agree




why not sticking with HKS? why they needed rebranding? just WHY....

Dino Dalle Carbonare



if the fiat 500 was sold as a coupe as well (preferably a little bit of decklid in the rear, optimally rear-engine) I would have had a collection by now. Visually gorgeous compact car, I just hate the proportions of a hatchback. Looks like a coffee bean. Cute, but not what I want.


What the hell did they change the name for?? As if HKS doesn't have a following in europe and is ALREADY VERY SUCCESSFUL IN THE UNITED STATES. Brainless move on their part, in my opinion.


It's sounds more like a product line for specific region of cars. Not a full rebrand. I don't believe hks is changing their name. These parts just carry this name. Very common.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Differentiation I guess, the HKS logo is still there. Could have just used a different color or font actually


The 500s got a bad wrap in the US for being associated with Dodge. If you've ever driven one, especially the Abarth 500, you realize one thing; this car was made for fun. From the small turbo engine, the tiny turning radius, the wheels thrown to the corners of the car, the video game-like gauges and cute gerbil face, the 500 only lives to please the driver. It's nice that people still support this platform.


I have never been attracted to the 500 despite it being the exact formula I enjoy in a car. I imported a honda beat for the same kind of experience in many ways. I was certainly put off immediately due to the fact they were associated with Dodge. May need to rethink things a bit and at least drive one. They are just a lot to get over looks wise, but this is coming from a dude with a zebra interior Honda convertible so it's not saying much.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

For us non-Americans can you explain what this association actually implies? Reliability?


I wouldn't say that Dodge has the best reputation for reliability, but its gotta be better than Fiat's reputation, so its hard to believe reliability would be the reason. My guess (and how I feel) is that the Dodge brand doesn't really convey spirited (though there was a Dodge Spirit in the US), fun, playful vehicles... of course, there are exceptions (like the GLH). I think of Dodge as a cost optimized, cookie cutter, utility type automaker. I think they have been struggling with that reputation and have been successful changing minds in the muscle car segment, but there still isn't alot of finesse there. More brute force. That is at odds with the light, spicy, fun nature of the 500s.

With all of that said, I am actually happy with the association. The little motor is used in a handful of Dodge and Jeep branded cars, so the aftermarket support is better. And, I know the engine in my car was assembled in Michigan, so I have a bit of pride about that (my home state).

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Appreciate the explanation but any association at all is still confusing. I mean these are brands under the Stellantis group, and granted some sharing of platforms, components engines etc is expected (and even more so in the future) but it is quite obvious that the Fiat 500 and any Dodge have nothing in common except being under one big (massive) umbrella group. It's like saying I won't get a Maserati because of the Dodge or Volvo image.


You are right. It doesn't make a ton of sense. I guess seeing the Chrysler Pentastar on parts all over the car can turn folks off.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah that would I guess


I believed it is due to the perceived cheapness that associated with brands like Dodge which put off most people when it is associated with other brands. I remember in many videos or posts about Maserati, many people from NA always point out that they shared switches with Dodge or Chrysler.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Unfortunately it is the reality of brands like these owned by massive car groups, and making cars in today's world in general. Sharing is the key, look how Aston does it with the Benz motors. I'd rather own a modern Maserati than one from the eighties or nineties, I'll tell you that much lol

senator chinchilla

Never seen a cool little car generate so much vitriol but I guess this IS the internet. Love the colorscheme and the upgraded front bumper. Would be happy to have one!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Gotta love the interwebs, that said all the comments were fun to go through.


what's the PCD on those wheels? because I know most Italian cars have that weird 4x98 or 5x98 on their cars, which making finding or fitting aftermarket harder on those cars. want to know if this Fiat already have its wheel hubs modified or the wheels come with 4x98


@Maz I own a 2015 500 Abarth (US version) and the stock bolt pattern is indeed 4x98. I run 4x100 wheels on mine with wobble bolts. I have tracked the car with wobble bolts for years and years without any issues. I know its a controversial subject, but I can say I have am confident in them and it opens up a huge world of wheel options. Just make sure they are hub centric and have fun!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Seems to be what a lot of owners do


Ive driven a US spec Abarth and it was so much fun. Ferocious cold start bark and noises from the moment you turn the key to a stock car tells you all about the fun youre gonna have. I remember just bursting out in laughter cause I had no idea what I was getting into.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Fun little cars indeed, driving position is way to high for me though


It can feel like driving a bar stool.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah like when you play a car game with a steering wheel mounted to a desk lol