TV presenter Melanie Sykes gets a 500C

Abarth represents the performance division of Fiat which makes the 500 and 500C small cars. The discovery of the Abarth convertible came particularly welcome to Sykes.

At first she thought she faced the choice of either performance of an Abarth 500 or the freedom of the Fiat 500C. However, upon discovering the Abarth 500C, offering small car performance with the thrill of wind-in-the-hair motoring in one stylish and well-equipped package, she was doubly delighted.

Melanie, the new presenter of BT Sport’s MotoGP TV coverage, has previously owned a Fiat 500C and wanted another. But she was also looking for the added performance that a 140bhp Abarth 500 can offer.

"Having owned the Fiat 500C before, I knew I wanted to go back into a convertible, but I also had my eye on an Abarth," says Melanie. "So when Abarth told me there was 500C version, I was really excited. And just look at it – it’s fabulous."

The soft top of the Abarth 500C stands out for its refined electric linkage and quality engineering solutions, such as the foldaway glass rear window and the built-in centrally positioned high mounted stop light.

The car also features Abarth’s Competizione gearbox, a five-speed automated manual transmission, which also allows drivers to change gear using paddles mounted behind the steering wheel for a sportier feel.

A 1.4-litre turbo-charged engine gives the 500C a top speed of 128mph, and 0-62mph time of just 8.1 seconds.

The Fiat 500C is currently priced from £13,160 and offers several trim levels, starting with ‘Pop’.The main draw for buyers will no doubt be the Fiat 500C’s canvas roof, which not only keeps the rain and snow out in winter but can be lowered in the summer to enjoy the warmer weather.

The roof can be lowered at speeds of up to 37mph – which is ideal for the fast-changing British weather – and the car can seat four in comfort. There is even a 185-litre boot for extra storage.

The Fiat 500C Pop comes with a range of equipment as standard including electric windows, an MP3/CD player with six speakers and body colour bumpers. The 500C also comes standard with a host of safety kit such as electronic stability control (ESC) and driver, passenger, side and window air bags.