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Fiat 500 Abarth, Turbo get optional six-speed auto for 2015

Fiat is offering a new transmission option for its top-spec models.

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Fiat is hoping to widen the appeal of its 500 Turbo and Abarth models with a new six-speed automatic transmission option for the 2015 model year. Previous 500 Turbo and Abarth models were offered exclusively with a five-speed manual gearbox.

Fiat will introduce the new six-speed at the New York International Auto Show in its 2015 Abarth and Abarth Cabrio 500 models. The six-speed auto, sourced from Aisin, will also be offered in the mid-level 500 Turbo for 2015, but Fiat hasn't announced if that model will be on hand in New York.

"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,” said Jason Stoicevich, Head of FIAT Brand for North America.

In both Abarth and Turbo applications, the six-speed transmission will mate to Fiat's 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine. Fiat says it has tuned the auto gearbox to hold gears longer and rev-match on downshifts.

Fiat's entire 2015 500 lineup is scheduled to arrive in dealer showrooms this July. In addition to the new automatic option for the turbocharged models, all 2015 Fiat 500s will receive a new instrument panel with a 7-inch high-definition screen.

Pricing will be announced closer to July.

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