2012 Fiat 500 Sport: It Doesn't Matter
December 13, 2011
Fiat will sell you an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission on the 500; it has a manual shift mode and shorter 1st through 4th gears (plus a shorter final drive). Nevertheless, on a car with almost no low-end torque, it does no favors to performance. We tested a 500C (the cabrio, so it was 100 pounds heavier), and it was over second slower through the quarter-mile (18.7 @ 73.6 mph vs. 17.5 @ 76.6).
However, even if the automatic somehow improved acceleration on the Fiat 500, there's no way I'd get it. Shifting is my greatest source of entertainment in this little car. The driving position is awkward in here, the throttle response is bit slow, the steering is sleepy, so I'm not going to get to do anything too fast. So then, I might as well occupy the mind getting my upshifts perfectly smooth and my downshifts tidy.
If you took this one activity (shifting gears) away from me, I'd never be able to drive the Fiat 500 -- I'd have absolutely no affection for this car. Know what I mean?
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 10,636 miles