At this stage in the game, with even some of the superest supercars offering automatic transmissions, the timing is certainly right to add one to the option list for the 2015 FIAT 500 Abarth (in both coupe and open-air configurations) as well as the 2015 Fiat 500 Turbo. Until now, that trio was firmly committed to saving the manuals, but as explained by Jason Stoicevich the head of FIAT Brand for North America for the Chrysler Group LLC: “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."
And to be clear, new Abarth/Abarth Cabrio owners will continue to enjoy access to Fiat's high-performance driving school even if they opt for the new transmission, while also continuing to benefit from the 160 hp and 170 lb.-ft. of torque produced by the cars' 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder turbos. Further, the current five-speed DIY gearboxes also will remain standard for both Abarth and Turbo models.
Needless to say, giving drivers the choice of an autobox for the 2015 Fiat 500 Turbo is particularly helpful, added Stoicevich: “When it was launched two years ago, the Fiat 500 Turbo hit the sweet spot between the regular Fiat 500 and the high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth. The availability of the automatic transmission now makes this sweet spot even sweeter, by expanding the Turbo’s appeal, particularly among young buyers who can now buy one of the most affordable turbocharged cars in the market with the convenience of an automatic transmission.”
As an FYI, outputs for the Turbo's turbo are 135 hp and 150 lb.-ft. of torque, with the standard 2015 Fiat 500 expected to remain content with its naturally aspirated powerplant and 101 hp/98 lb.-ft.
The rest of the lineup is in for some interior redecorating, too, highlighted by what Fiat calls: "an innovative instrument panel with a 7-inch high-definition display to help drivers easily monitor vehicle information.
MSRPs and updated EPA marks for the 2015 Fiat 500 family will be released closer to its scheduled on-sale date this July.