Automatic Abarth and Turbo Models
If you’re a fan of the design (and the performance numbers) of the Fiat 500 Abarth and its cabriolet version but not its manual transmission, you’ll want to hear this. Fiat has announced that the 2015 Fiat 500 Abarth and Abarth Cabrio will be offered with an optional six-speed automatic transmission in addition to a slightly redesigned interior. The new models will appear at the New York auto show next week.
Fiat seems to have come to terms with North America’s transmission preferences. It will be offering an Aisin AW6F25 six-speed automatic that has been reinforced with more clutch plates and given a stronger heat treatment for higher torque capability on the Abarth and Turbomodels. The new transmission will offer a Sport mode, able to do fuel-cut upshifts, rev-matching downshifts, brake-assist downshifts, corner-gear hold and fast-off gear hold. We suspect the resulting sound might convince everyone within earshot that you’re driving a six-speed manual, given the Abarth’s warbly exhaust.
“Adding an optional automatic transmission makes the Abarth and Abarth Cabrio accessible to an entirely new group of customers who want to enjoy the thrilling driving experience of the Fiat 500 Abarth with the convenience of an automatic gearbox,” said Jason Stoicevich, head of FIAT North America.
Don’t worry: The manual five-speed transmission is staying in our favorite Abarth and Turbo 500 models. Both are powered by a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, with the Abarth making a stout 160 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. The midrange Turbo model produces 135 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque, still plenty to get the small hatch seriously moving.
The additional transmission isn’t the only thing Fiat is offering in the 2015 500 models: All 500 variants will receive a new 7-inch high-definition TFT (Thin Film Transistor) cluster display. The display will show the gas mileage, rang, and distance traveled in addition to speed and fuel level. The new screen will also display radio station and telephone information, and it will work with Rear Park Assist if the 500 is optioned with that system. .
Fiat tweaked the center console, introducing a new cupholder design and a more conveniently located USB port integrated with the radio. The 500 also will receive a number of new paint colors for 2015, including Giallo Moderna Perla (modern pearl yellow), Laser Blu (bright metallic blue) and Billet Argento (billet silver).