The Fiat 500 is known for being the most playful hatchback around the world. Small as a box and with a tiny engine making so much horsepower, a sure shot recipe for hooliganism. The Fiat 500 is also quite “cute” and hence it is the need of every wife and girlfriend around the world. While the man of the family will prefer a manual gearbox to depict his masculinity, the women want an automatic to make their life easier while ensuring one less task in their multi-tasking world.
Fiat has finally announced a 6-speed gearbox for the Fiat 500 Abarth for the ladies. The engine is the same 1.4-litre MultiAir, making 3 less horses but 17.6 Nm more torque. Usually it’s the other way around but as we know how Italians think (out of the box or crazily). What happens most of the time is power remains the same but the torque is reduced so the gearbox has to handle less twisting forces and hence is more reliable and offers smooth shifts till the last day when the gearbox says adios. However, it’s not that crazy either. Fiat says they have strengthened the clutch/springs, grinding ratios and added one or two more plates to provide more life and hence more torque is made available to play with.
The real bad part is that you don’t get flappy paddles behind the steering wheel for making you feel like an F1 driver. There is a manual slot with the usual +/- signs which remind you of the “stick” days but it is pointless since this an automatic in the first place. Fiat’s primary aim to broaden the market by offering a manual and an automatic at the same time like we said above (in a cheeky way).
We drove the Fiat 500 Abarth quite recently and were spell bound by it. The Fiat 500 Abarth is just too much fun to ignore. Worldwide it is priced sensitively but in India, a three-door hatch with the power of midsize sedans still won’t impress the middle age man who has Rs. 25 lakhs to spare because this car is not very “practical”. Rich kids will try and get it but very few rich kids have a knack for performance. All we can do is, hope for the best from Fiat and lastly from our government and their crazy taxes.