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The Fiat 500 is a city car built by Italianmarker automaker Fiatmarker since 2007. The car is currently produced in Tychymarker, Polandmarker by Fiat Auto Poland alongside the Nuova Panda and second-generation Ford Ka, released in 2008, all using the same platform. Strictly a four-seater, three-door hatchback and about the same length as the Panda and Ka, the 500 is almost identical to the retro concept car Trepiùno presented in 2004. The 500 may be badged in different markets as the 500, Nuovo 500 or Cinquecento.

The car was announced on May 5, 2006 and the first images were presented on March 20, 2007. The car was launched officially on July 4, 2007, with 250,000 in attendance. This was the largest launch party held in the last ten years, a testament to the 500's huge popularity. The car was displayed in the squares of 30 cities in Italy for the launch.

The 500 is available with four different trim levels: Naked, Pop, Lounge, and Sport. Customers can choose also between 15 interior trims, 9 wheel options, 19 decals, and 12 body colours. There are over 500,000 different personalized combinations of the 500 that can be made by adding all kinds of accessories, decals, interior and exterior colours, and trims. The car is also available with Blue&Me Navigation system.

Concept

2004 Fiat Trepiuno concept


The design of the new 2007 Fiat 500 is based on the Fiat Trepiuno concept introduced at the 74th Geneva Motorshow in 2004. This car featured a distinctive retro-look, with Fiat hoping to emulate the success that the retro-styled Volkswagen New Beetle and BMW MINI have achieved in recent years, with the 500 being substantially cheaper than those cars. The basic price is €10,500 in Italy (with options, €15,000). The Trepiuno was designed by Fiat Stile Centre.

The name "Trepiuno" is a contraction of "tre piu uno", meaning "three plus one" in Italian; the car received this name because it was one step above a 2+2, as it was designed so that by deflating part of the dashboard around the front passenger's legs, and using high-tech thin-layered materials which take up less room than conventional upholstery, the front passenger seat could be slid forward far enough to accommodate another full-sized adult seat behind it; the fourth passenger, behind the driver, would occupy the smaller seat.

Specifications

Engines

Engine of 500 1.4 lounge
At launch three engines were available: two petrol and one diesel engine. All the engines met the Euro5 standards. The 1.3 Multijet was equipped with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) as standard. Despite the vehicle's name implication, the lowest displacement is 1242 cc, notably higher than the previous 500s. However, a 900 cc two-cylinder engine has been planned, but despite this, it will still put it above both 500s.

Model Engine Type Output@rpm Torque@rpm 0-100 km/h (s) Top speed CO2 emission (g/km) Notes
Petrol engines
1.2 8v I4 @5500 @3000 12.9 119 with Start-stop system 113 g/km
1.4 16v I4 @6000 rpm @4250 rpm 10.5 149
Abarth I4 turbo @5500 normal, sport @3000 7.9 155
Abarth esseesse, Abarth Opening Edition I4 turbo @5750 normal, ( sport @3000 7.4 155
Abarth Assetto Corse I4 turbo @6500 @3000 ? ? ?
0.9 SGE I2 turbo 66-81 kW (90-110 PS) Planned
Diesel engines
1.3 16v Multijet I4 turbo @4000 @1500 12.5 110


Fuel consumption (EC 1999/100)

Model City l/100 km Highway l/100 km Combined l/100 km
1.2 8v

(Dualogic)


( )


( )
1.2 8v PUR-O2
1.4 16v

(Dualogic)


( )


( )
1.3 Multijet diesel 16v DFP


Safety

The old (1966) and new 500.
The new 500 is longer than the old one.
The new 500 has seven airbags in all models. There are also electric aids available such as ABS brakes, ESP (electronic stability program), ASR (antislip regulation), HBA (hydraulic brake assistance) and hill holder device. The 500 was awarded with 5 stars by EuroNCAP, succeeding the BMW MINI as the shortest car to have a five-star rating. Fiat also said that the 500 was engineered so that it would have been able to achieve a six-star rating had EuroNCAP adopted this classification.

The Fiat 500 passed the Euro NCAP car safety tests with following ratings

Special versions

500 Abarth (2008-)

Abarth 500
The 500 Abarth is a performance model of Fiat 500. The 1.4L engine with IHI RHF3-P turbocharger is rated at 5500 rpm and ( in sport mode) torque at 3000 rpm. It includes 5-speed C510 transmission, low ride suspension, dualdrive electric power steering with SPORT setting, 6.5 x 16” aluminium alloy rim with 195/45 R16 tyres, 4-wheel disc brakes (front ventilated). Interior includes turbo pressure gauge, Gear Shift Indicator, aluminium foot pedals, Blue&Me MAP with Telemetry monitoring and GPS system. The car costs £13,600

The car was unveiled in 78th Geneva International Motor Show, 1 year after the rebirth of Abarth brand and company.Ferrari uses the 500 Abarth as a courtesy car in Europe.

500 Abarth Esseesse

The 500 Abarth Essesse (pronounced "SS") is a conversion kit for Abarth 500 within 12 months or of the car's first registration. Engine is upgraded to at 5750 rpm and ( in sport mode) at 3000 rpm. It also includes drilled and ventilated x front brake discs with new pads, x drilled rear brake discs, Abarth front and rear springs, 17-inch white or titanium colour alloy rims with 205/40 R17 tyres, tyre pressure monitoring system, unique key cover.

The conversion costs £2500.

500 Abarth Opening Edition

The 500 Abarth Opening Edition is a limited production (100 cars) model for Italian market. It includes the upgrades found in 500 Abarth esseesse. The car is available in 2 colours (Campovolo grey or pearlised White) while there’s also the option of special stickers including a red chequered flag on the roof (exclusive to the Campovolo Grey shade) that pays homage to the numerous sporting victories of the Abarth brand.

500 Abarth Assetto Corse

The 500 Abarth Assetto Corse is a limited production (49 cars) model, designed by the Fiat Group Automobiles Style Centre and produced by a team of Abarth Engineers and Designers. Engine is rated @6500rpm and @3000rpm. It includes white special ultralight racing wheels, low ride, sports racing mirrors and a place for a number on the sides, pastel grey body with red Abarth side stripes.

The car was unveiled in 2008 Paris Auto Show.

500 Start&Stop

The 500 Start&Stop is a model based on the 1.2 Lounge, with parts built by Bosch and Fiat Powertrain Technologies. The Start&Stop system stops the engine automatically whenever traffic conditions bring the car to a complete halt, and restarts it when the driver wants to move off again. The car reduced fuel consumption for up to 12% over 1.2 Lounge in urban driving, with 113g/km CO2 emission. Other standard features include hands-free telecommunications and entertainment system.

The car costs £9,700 in the UK.

500 PUR-O2 (2008-)

The 500 PUR-O2 was based on Fiat 500 1.2 Lounge with 1.2 with Start&Stop system, but also included Eco Drive system. Beginning in January 2009, a Dualogic transmission option is also available.

The vehicle was unveiled in 2008 Paris Motor Show.

500 by Diesel (2008-2009)

In 2008, Fiat launched a special edition 'By Diesel' 500. In a partnership with Fiat and Italian clothing brand Diesel, the special edition 500 will run, it is suspected, for two years, with a production run of 10,000 planned. The 500 by Diesel is available in a choice of three exclusive colours, and can be marked out from standard 500s with its unique alloy wheels, 'Diesel' logos and burnished metal inserts to the bumpers and side-rubbing strips. Inside, there are denim seats and a special 'Diesel' branded gear knob. Coloured stitching can also be seen throughout the car's already unique interior. The 500 by Diesel is based on the 500 Sport, using the same 1.2 petrol, 1.4 petrol and 1.3 diesel engines.

500 Aria (2008)

The 500 Aria is a concept car based on the 1.3L Diesel vehicle, but with diesel particulate filter, Stop & Start system, Dualogic transmission, recycled rubber floor from used tires, recycled and woven leather upholstery (mataleather) by Matamatamarker, Ecolabel polyester fabrics by Apollo company.

The vehicle was unveiled in 2008 Geneva Motor Show.

Ferrari version (2008)

The Ferrari version is a limited (200 units) edition of 1.4 (100 bhp) Sport for Ferrari owners, mainly used by Ferrari dealers as courtesy cars. It includes red body, aluminum pedals, red brake calipers, 16-inch wheels with 195/45 tires, sporty steering wheel and a few tuning and exhaust modifications.

60 of the Ferrari edition cars were shipped to the UK.

Felipe Massa version (2008)

The Felipe Massa version is a 1.4 Sport presented to Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa. It included a 1.4L engine rated , Pearl White body, brown Cordura interior trim, a Skydome electric sunroof, alloy wheel with diamond alloy finish, red brake callipers.

The vehicle was unveiled in Monte Carlo (Monaco).

Barbie version (2009)

Fiat Barbie 500 at 2009 Barcelona motorshow
A special edition of the 500 designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of toy icon Barbie. Created by Fiat Centro Stile and Mattel, the car was unveiled on March 9, 2009 in Milan's fashion district, and parked at the entrance to La Rinascente department store, in Piazza Duomo, where the band Nena performed live in the background. The 500 Barbie Edition will also be making an appearance at Fiat UK's flagship store at Marylebone in London.

Abarth 695 "Tributo Ferrari" (2009)

The Abarth 695 "Tributo Ferrari" is a version based on Abarth 500. The 1.4 Turbo T-Jet 16v engine was rated over . It included MTA (Manual Transmission Automated) electromechanical transmission with paddle shifter, alloy wheels with performance tyres, Brembo multi-section discs with fixed 4-piston calipers, "Record Monza" variable back-pressure "dual mode" exhaust, Scuderia Red body with Racing Grey wheels and rear air intakes, Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting xenon headlights, "Abarth Corsa by Sabelt" seats in black leather upholstery with carbon fibre shell and seat base, black leather steering wheel with red leather inserts and a tricolour hub, Jaeger instrument panel, non-slip aluminium foot wells, Scorpion racing pedals, special kick plates and a plate bearing the vehicle series number.

The vehicle was unveiled in 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

500C (2009-)

500C in Geneva 2009.
A softtop version (cabriolet) 500C was unveiled in Geneva Motor Show March 2009. It is the same size as the basic model, and features the same three engine options. It will also have Start&Stop system. The 500C is to be launched in the UK before sales begin in the rest of Europe in Summer 2009, as British buyers traditionally buy more convertibles than any other market.

International versions

La Nuova 500 in Mexico

The Nuova 500 was introduced in Mexicomarker in September 2008, powered the 1.4 L 16V engine, transmissions are dualogic for the 500 Classic, 500 Lounge and 500 Vintage trims or 6 speed manual gearbox for the 500 Sport Trim. The 500 Abarth variant will be introduced during 2009. It competes with the successful Mini Cooper. Mexico became the first country in the Americas in which the Nuova 500 is sold.

United States

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has indicated that the United States may receive the newly designed Fiat 500. “Sooner or later it is a possibility that the 500 will arrive on the American market,” he said, adding “but it will not happen now, probably after 2010."

In 2009 several press reports have mentioned that a rebadged version of the Fiat 500 might be produced under the Chrysler-Fiatmarker partnership in Tolucamarker, Mexico alongside the Dodge Journey and Chrysler PT Cruiser starting 2010.

According to Richard Gadeselli, vice president of Fiat communications in Italy, the Fiat 500 will be sold in Chrysler dealerships in the United States in about a year and a half, as of June 2009.

Fiat now owns a minority stake in Chrysler after the latters bankruptcy claim in early 2009.

Electric vehicle

The Micro Vett electric Fiat 500 has been presented at the London Auto Show by the NICE Car Company. The Micro-Vett electric Fiat 500 is powered by a Lithium polymer - Kokammarker battery with a 22 kWh capacity and is able to get to a top speed of . The range of the Micro-Vett electric Fiat 500 is and after that will need between 6 and 8 hours to re-charge it.

Future

Fiat are also likely to go ahead with a 500 estate, in homage to the 500 Giardinetta of the 1960s. An S.U.V version is being considered by Fiat too. If it gets the go ahead Fiat will launch this model in 2011. The 500 will be one of the first cars to receive Fiat's new generation of small engines. The all new 0.9 turbo engine will be launched in the winter of 2009. This will replace the 1.2 and normally aspirated 1.4 engines. This engine will be available in 90 and forms. As these engines are lighter than the engines they replace, performance will be improved. The big plus about these engines is not the added performance, but the extra fuel economy. A stop-start system is also planned to be offered in the near future on the 1.3 Multijet.

Production sold out

Within three weeks of the 500's launch, the entire year's production of 58,000 had been sold out. To date, Fiat has received more than 205,000 orders for the 500. While Italy has been the 500's main market (In October 2007, some 9000 cars have been sold in Italy, making it the 3rd bestselling car there), the 500 has gained a strong following in many countries. Fiat France had received more than 10,000 orders by the end of October 2007. To cope with demand Fiat has announced that production has been increased to 200,000 in 2008. The 500 was launched January 21st 2008 in UK. By 2010 production (including the new Abarth, cabriolet and estate versions) is likely to break the 350,000 barrier.

Marketing

The launch show

Presentation of Fiat 500 in Piazza dei Signori in Vicenza, in this occasion the new Fiat 500s were covered with a cloth resembling the old Fiat 500.
The launch show, which took part in the Turinmarker's Murazzi del Po region, was a huge firework spectacle that also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the old 500 launch. The show was coordinated by Marco Balich, who was also responsible for Turin's 2006 Winter Olympic Games, and was an event never made before for a car launch. Several artists performed during the show, including Lauryn Hill, Israelimarker dancing group Mayumana and others. In the first part of the show, artists reproduced scenes of the 60s, such as scenes from films by Federico Fellini, a Beatles show made by a cover band and Marilyn Monroe's iconic Happy Birthday, Mr. President, which became "Happy Birthday, dear Cinquecento" (sung by a Marilyn cover to celebrate the original 500's fifty years). Several bikes also represented the Giro d'Italia competition, filmed by a camera man inside an original 500, just like in the 60s. Both the 500 and the bikes floated on the river.

The show was broadcast live by Italian Canale 5 and by a live video stream at fiat500.com, which was watched by over 100,000 people online.

"500 wants you"

A project called "500 wants you" was launched by Fiat as part of a major online advertising campaign. The project uses the Internet to involve the public in planning the evolution of the new vehicle. The official 500 Internet page has been visited by over four million people.

Awards

  • What Car? readers' affections 2007
  • CAR Magazine: Car of the Year 2007
  • EuroCarBody 2007 award
  • European Car of the Year for 2008
  • The World’s Most Beautiful Automobile (City Car and Small Car category)
  • AUTO EUROPA 2008
  • Fifth Gear: Best Small Car 2007
  • Top Gear: Best 'City Car' 2007
  • Auto 1 Europa 2008 - (Auto Bild)
  • 2008 ‘What Car?’ Green Car of the Year Award
  • Auto Express: "Best City Car" 2008
  • evecars.com Best Supermini/City Car Award 2008
  • evecars.com readers Sexiest Car of 2008
  • Best Compact Car Consumers' Choice Award-Car of the Year in Japan
  • 2009 World Car Design of the Year
  • Auto Express: "Best City Car" 2009


Further reading

  • Fiat 500 - by the people for the people, di Alessandro Sannia, ed. All Media, 2007, ISBN 8890300205
  • Fiat 500 - l'evoluzione del mito, di Alessandro Sannia, ed. Gribaudo, 2007, ISBN 9788879063852


References

  1. Geneva 2008: Fiat 500 Abarth punches above its weight
  2. Fiat 500 Abarth SS Gives Mini Cooper S Italian Job
  3. Exclusive: Fiat 500 Abarth Opening Edition with 160Hp plus 42 High-Res Images
  4. Fiat 500 Abarth Opening Edition
  5. 2008 Fiat 500 Abarth Assetto Corse
  6. Paris 2008: Fiat 500 Abarth Assetto Corse
  7. New 500 Start&Stop gets started in the UK
  8. Fiat will unveil new PUR-O2 line in Paris
  9. Serious Wheels - 2009 Fiat 500 by Diesel
  10. Fiat 500 Aria Concept Debuts in Geneva
  11. Fiat to show 500 Aria concept in Geneva
  12. Fiat 500 Ferrari Edition - but only for Ferrari owners
  13. Fiat 500 "Ferrari" Special Editions
  14. Ferrari presents Felipe Massa with custom Fiat 500
  15. Barbie turns 50, Fiat 500 turns pink and Nena rocks the hizzy
  16. Officially Official: Fiat confirms Abarth 695 "Tributo Ferrari" for Frankfurt debut


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