What is it?
A bit more than first appearances suggest. Yes, this is a Fiat 500C fitted with the engine from the much-loved Abarth 500. But the real new addition is a five-speed automatic-manual gearbox through which the 138bhp 1.4-litre T-Jet engine is driven.
Complete with wheel-mounted paddles, this ‘box will be standard in place of the hatchback’s manual transmission.
The suspension has also been revised to offer a softer ride – apparently in order to make the car more appealing to women, who so far remain a minority figure in Abarth’s sales statistics.
What’s it like?
It’s just like an open-top Abarth 500. It has the same flamboyancy that appeals in the tin-top, and with open-air delights added to it the fun is just a bit more visceral.
The gearbox mostly adds to the package. In standard auto mode it is smooth enough, albeit not free of the occasional hesitancy. Overall, though, it's fine for a more sedate drive.
Should you wish to find the inner-Ferrari in your 500C, put it in all-out sport manual mode and you can flappy paddle until you feel like a complete hero and the 'box will respond well. It’s particularly slick and satisfying as you pull the left paddle for rapid downchanges.