2012 Fiat 500 Abarth
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Boo and hiss all you want, but the truth is that manual transmissions aren't for everybody. When Fiat launched the hot little 500 Abarth last year, it did so with a five-speed manual as the only transmission available, but according to Ward's Auto, that might change.

"We're not opposed to doing it. We just didn't think there would be consumer requests for it, and there is," Fiat's North American president, Tim Kuniskis, told Ward's in regards to an automatic-equipped Abarth.

With the launch of the upcoming droptop 500C Abarth, Kuniskis says that the company is expecting a few more women buyers to opt for the more potent version of the pint-sized cabriolet. "I think when we'll see more women is when we have the automatic, and we're planning to add the automatic in the Abarth at some point, only because we're getting that feedback from customers."

As of this writing, it's still unclear when the automatic option will be available for the 500 Abarth, but it seems all but inevitable.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 160 Comments
      greg v
      • 1 Year Ago
      lets also add a 6 spd manual with a heavier clutch, and default the car to run in sports mode.
      BG
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am sorry to see it. Sure it will add sales, but it is a slippery slope of compromise - similar to how BMW applied M to every model they make with an automatic. Now anyone with some spare cash can lease one.
      Tatersalad
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bought an Abarth during the initial run last year and learned how to drive a stick on it. Given the option I think I would keep the 5 speed, unless the automatic was SUPER nice in its shifting.
      Imp
      • 1 Year Ago
      It wasn't that long ago that BMW M models were only available with manual transmissions. Fast forward to the F10 M5 that almost came out with only an automatic until enthusiasts helped persuade BMW to release it with a manual as well. The impending death of the manual is pretty sad. I remember my uncle's old manual Pathfinder years ago that was awesome. Good luck trying to find a manual SUV or minivan nowadays in the U.S.
        carguy1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Imp
        The manual is only dying in non-performance applications.
          oRenj9
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carguy1701
          What do you mean? Almost no supercars are offered with a manual anymore. Ironically, it is American companies who are latching onto manual-only hi-performance cars while Europeans are replacing them with dual-clutch units as fast as possible. Even Porsche is looking to nix the MT in the next-generation Boxster/Cayman.
      Stix
      • 1 Year Ago
      Honestly, who didn't see this coming? If you're gonna sell cars here in the U.S., it is a must that you offer an automatic gearbox as an option. Enthusiasts can moan and whine all they want about it, but if the money's not coming in for manual-only cars, then drastic changes need to be taken. It's just good business sense.
      Bret Frohwein
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anything to boost sales... plus.. when it's 110 out in the summer or 15 degrees in the winter.. I start to wish I had an automatic just so I could have remote start...
      CaddyV8
      • 1 Year Ago
      I like driving manual cars as much as the next guy, but it gets tiresome constantly rowing in traffic every day. That's why my daily driver will always be an auto. Hate all you want, but that's the boat most people are in.
      jonnybimmer
      • 1 Year Ago
      No harm in adding an automatic transmission OPTION, unless you don't like increased sales.
      Dayv
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've never owned an automatic transmission car in my life, but this thread makes me want to switch just to earn the disrespect of morons.
      desinerd1
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is sad news. Now there will be more of these turds on road. Nightmare!
      Bassracerx
      • 1 Year Ago
      As somone who have driven both the manual and the automatic fiat 500 and a manual enthusiest let me tell you the automatic is the car to buy. I love manuals but the one in the fiat is not good the clutch is weird and the shifter sucks. Also being a 5 speed it is geared for fuel economy and the spacing is huge. The 6 speed auto keeps the engine on boil and is allways happy to downshift 2 or 3 gears down to keep the engine where the power is. It has a manual mode so you can hold it in gear without having to floor it and it works great it will bounce off the rev limiter untill you shift it up! The manual made the car too much work and the auto made the car enjoyable. My current car is a honda fit sport so i am used to driving sub compact with small engines with a stick. Manual does not allways mean best if the manual is crap and the auto is excellent. I hope they put the conventional auto in the regular fiat not the dct from the dart because driving the dart the dct was garbage!
        speterjr
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bassracerx
        Given that Honda makes the best manual transmissions in the industry, everything else pales in comparison.
        Quen47
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bassracerx
        Weird, because every road test has shown the manual to be much quicker and to get better mileage than the automatic.
      Dane Grant
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why don't people learn how to drive clutch? What the hell is wrong with them? I blame stupidity....
        bbkuzmich
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dane Grant
        Why drive a stick??? I turn the ignition put it in gear and go. Don't need to take my hand off the wheel to shift. Don't need to another foot for the clutch. It's called driving and I prefer to keep it as simple as possible.
          tump
          • 1 Year Ago
          @bbkuzmich
          Why have sex to reproduce when you can just use artificial insemination?
          Cayman
          • 1 Year Ago
          @bbkuzmich
          Gettinng everything to work together to go fast is where the fun is. To me, going fast isn\'t really that fun in itself; it\'s getting the car to go fast. But if you are just looking for transportation, then yes a manual probably makes the most sense. But if you want to actually enjoy the driving experience, there is no replacing a proper manual (with all three pedals).
        joeski
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dane Grant
        I drive manuals, but maybe an automatic would open up more sales to a broader spectrum. For instance I want an Abarth Convertible as a second car? Wife would let me get it because it's a auto and she can drive it too. Contrary to some belief, mainstream Car companies are out to make $$$ and will service any demographic they see fit to make that money. If they have to make an automatic Abarth to gain more sales they will over a dozen belly aching guys that complain about them doing so.
          BG
          • 1 Year Ago
          @joeski
          Contrary to popular opinion in the USA, wives can learn to like manual transmission. It really is not that hard and enforces a concentration on driving that would be welcome in most highways and mall parking lots.
        Stomp and steer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dane Grant
        Depends on where you live. A clutch in traffic or the hills of San Francisco aren't really that much fun with a stick.
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