2015 Fiat Bravo Benefits From Facelifted Styling, New Technology & Exclusive Brazilian Production

Fiat has high hopes for the Italian-styled and now exclusively Brazilian-made Fiat Bravo but buyers will appreciate the sleek five-door hatchback's innovative Blue&Me entertainment & communication system developed in partnership with Microsoft.

Introduced in 2007 and initially manufactured only at the company's Piedimonte S. Germano plant in Cassino, Italy, Fiat expanded production of the Fiat Bravo to Brazil in 2010. With the curtailment of Italian production in July of 2014, however, the plant in Minas Gerais province is now the only place the Bravo is being made.

Though the Bravo's sculpted body panels reflect the extensive use of CAD engineering and computer simulations conducted by Centro Stile Fiat and Austrian-based Magna Steyr throughout the Bravo's design phase, the hatchback embodies less visible but more practical high-tech features on the inside.

Developed with Microsoft and debuting with the Fiat Grande Punto, the “Blue&Me” system is currently a standard feature on the Bravo's Dynamic and Sport trim levels. The system is centered around an integral Bluetooth hands-free unit complementary to the user's mobile phone. The system can also display SMS text on an in-dash screen and works in concert with built-in voice activation.

The enhanced entertainment quotient of the system features a built-in USB connector that allows the user to plug in their own MP3 player or USB flashcard, allowing the car's entertainment system full access to “outside” MP3 files.

While sales of the Fiat Bravo in Brazil this year have been disappointing – just 4,000 or a  six-percent domestic market share in the five-door family car segment – Fiat expects strong growth in the segment over the next five years. Such expectations can better be realized by infusing the vehicle with the latest tech goodies... and a mild styling facelift can't hurt either.

The latter include some freshening up of the front bumper, grill and headlights while powertrain choices remain an 1.8 litre, 130 HP four-banger with manual or automatic transmission or the 1.4 litre, 140 HP T-Jet inline four with manual transmission only.

The updated Fiat Bravo is the latest Brazilian vehicle to attract international notice, joining the new Ford Troller T4 and the legendary Volkswagen SP2 Sports Coupe. (via Le Blog Auto)