Abarth 500 to Get Automatic in North America

Fiat 500 Abarth 1 photo
Photo: Fiat
Fiat's expansion across the Atlantic continues with the Italian automaker promising to add a new transmission option on top-spec 500 models. The six-speed Aisin automatic will be available starting July on the 2015 model year range-topping 500 Abarth and Turbo. Jason Stoicevich, head of the brand in North America, declared for Automotive News: "Frankly, [young people] just don't drive a manual transmission." You don't say? Most U.S. drivers, not only young ones, prefer an automatic over a stick shift transmission predominantly because it's the more comfortable way to cruise around in city traffic.
The European-spec Abarth has had the auto in its options list for eons now, so we can only wonder why Fiat U.S.A. didn't think of offering it in North America two years ago, when the model was introduced here. Even though it's not the sportiest of automatics out there, the Aisin unit can handle even the more spirited driver's set of expectations. However, an automatic also means no more smoking the tires off the line, so choose wisely. You can find out in detail what we think of the auto Abarth 500 by reading our 695 Edizione Maserati review here.

The Fiat official added that an automatic could give the 500 Abarth and Turbo versions a sales increase as much as 50 percent. He also said that 2015 model year cars will receive a new instrument cluster, dominated by a 7-inch display which will offer the driver performance and all sorts of car diagnostic information.

Fiat's 500 Abarth was introduced in North America in 2012 and it accounts for about 15 percent of total 500 sales. The little Italian pocket rocket is powered by a 1.4-liter 16V MultiAir Turbo mill with 160 horsepower and 170 lb-ft (230 Nm) of torque, standard features including performance suspension with KONI front shock absorbers and dual valve Frequency Selective Damping, 11.1-inch ventilated discs on the front, 16-inch lightweight aluminium wheels, cloth bucket seats and a premium audio system with iPod connectivity.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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