NEW FOR 2015:

-Optional automatic transmission
-Interior upgrades include customizable gauge cluster display, Bluetooth streaming audio and redesigned console

Like the 500 Turbo, the high-test Abarth gets an automatic transmission to its option sheet for 2015. It’s an upgraded version of the one used in lesser 500 models, but beefed up to handle the Abarth’s extra power. A customizable gauge cluster display is standard here, now; you’ll recognize the technology from other recently-redesigned Chrysler group vehicles.

Other mechanical changes include different power ratings from the 1.4-litre turbocharged motor when paired with the automatic. With the self-shifter, it makes 157 hp and 183 lb-ft of torque, while stickshift cars get 160 hp and 170 lb-ft.

The 500 Abart comes in a single trim, the only choice (besides automatic versus manual) being between the hardtop or convertible body styles.

Standard kit includes the turbo engine with twin intercoolers and a five-speed manual transmission, dual exhaust, performance-tuned suspension, torque transfer control, turbo boost gauge, 16-inch aluminum wheels, Abarth-exclusive front and rear fascias and sill cladding, high-back performance bucket seats with racing harness pass-through, leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel with thumb rests, aluminum pedal covers, Abarth badging, red brake calipers, fog lights, cruise control, gloss-black head- and taillight treatment, seven-inch customizable gauge display, Alpine stereo, Bluetooth handsfree communication with streaming audio, USB charging port in centre console, tire pressure monitor display, wide-angle driver’s side mirror, and driver’s knee blocker airbag.

Convertible (Cabrio) models add a sliding fabric roof and rear park assist.

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