Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The Abarth 500C gets the same 1.4-litre turbocharged Multiair engine found in the Abarth 500 model, but improvements means the power output has been increased by 5bhp up to 140bhp. This means a top speed of 128mph and 0-62 time of 8.1 seconds. Acceleration is excellent right through the gears and the 500C isn’t found wanting for performance at any point.

In Normal mode throttle response is a little sluggish, but this is easily rectified with the Sport button that quickens the throttle and stiffens steering. It comes with an Abarth Competizione five-speed automatic as standard. The Manual Transmission Automated system is operated with paddleshits on the steering wheel but can be switched to a full automatic mode.

Unfortunately it’s not the slickest or most refined gearbox and with every upchange drivers get a strong jerk forward which means any journey can quickly become frustrating.

As you’d expect from a small performance car like this, the ride is quite stiff but not too bone-crunching to be able to live with. The steering is engaging enough to make the driver feel confident at high speeds and there is little roll in tight bends at speed. Pressing the Sport button makes it even more composed in the corners and also engages TTC – Torque Transfer Control.

This acts like a limited slip differential and improves the drive out of slow corners and improves body control.