Enter the new 500, the manifesto of the ‘new Fiat’, a model that represents to all intents and purposes the materialisation of a new approach, of new brand strategies, and a different approach to the car. Exactly 50 years after the launch of the first edition of the model, which was to become an icon of Italian motoring and of an entire period of history, Fiat is accelerating into the future.
Anyone could re-edit the 500, because its shape is part of our collective memory. Some industrial objects that were the fruit of Italian creativeness in the period after the war, like the 500 or the Vespa, cannot be judged purely in aesthetic terms, nor do they represent just a good engineering exercise in which form serves a function. On the contrary, they are powerful catalysts, revolutionary in their design and in the concept that defines common reference points and benchmarks. When this happens, the result is a masterpiece that is an essential part of industrial history. The 500 is one of them.
This is a story that has taken place twice. The first is the story of a very large number of owners, fans and enthusiasts who promoted the car’s image as a good, reliable and economical vehicle, which became an expression of a part of their lives, the best part, evoking a carefree spirit and a lack of worries. The 500 is linked to these memories, to strong friendships and first loves, it evokes images of a positive past which many would like to revive.
Dante Giacosa’s 500 was launched on July 4, 1957, as a cycle of rebirth was closing after the devastation of war, and a period of radical renewal of the company’s product range was also coming to an end, opening the way for a cycle of successes in the coming decade, a period that we can consider one of the brightest in the brand’s one hundred year history. The parallel with the new 500 is clear; it concludes the cycle of extraordinary rebirth of recent years, but thanks to its stylistic and technological features, it also represents the spark of a lasting process of expansion. And this is where history starts again.
It would be belittling to ‘limit’ the phenomenon of the new 500 to a simple, nostalgic reinterpretation. Fiat’s goal has not been to design a car that ‘looks like’ a 500, but one that ‘could be’ the 500 again. The new 500 opens the way for an innovative process in a number of environments that are very significant for today’s customers, clearly outlining where its ambitions lie in relation to the future positioning of the Fiat brand. The Fiat 500 respects the original concept in its shape and function, as you expect in these cases, so that it can evoke all the emotions and memories that make all ‘icons’ eternal, raising them beyond the limiting dimension of their category.
But first and foremost it is important to underline the innovations that the new model is able to bring to this class of product for the first time.
First of all, the widespread involvement in the development of the model and of the marketing plan, with the participation of over 3,000,000 enthusiasts who have submitted their ideas to the project, through the plattform \"500wantsyou\". This initiative is a new cultural approach to relations between manufacturer and client, making Fiat one of the most open organisations, close to the expectations of the public. ‘The 500, the car of the people, by the people’: this slogan sums up the philosophy behind the development of a project which, in the best Fiat tradition, ‘democratises’ access to contents and technologies that have never been offered in this segment before.
It is the first time that a car has been launched with the full range of engines (69 bhp 1.2. 75 bhp 1.3 Multijet with DPF and 100 bhp 1.4 16v) ready to meet the emissions limits set by Euro 5 standards, more than two years before the legislative deadline, a tangible sign of Fiat’s determination to reaffirm its leadership where the environment is concerned.
It is also the first time that a compact car (3.55 metres) has been built to achieve a 5-star rating in the EuroNCAP impact tests, and it is ready for the 6-star test if and when the new rating is introduced.
Safety at all costs, with no impact on prices, a bold decision, which confirms Fiat’s intention of extending its strategy of leadership to vehicle protection, totally consistent with decisions taken in recent years as regards the Panda and the Croma, right through to the Grande Punto and the Bravo.
It is a safe product, not only for its structural sturdiness, but also because of the choices made in the construction of the range of outfits and services: 7 airbags as standard equipment (it is the only compact to offer a kneebag), and an advanced ESP available with all engines (standard on the 100 bhp 1.4 16v), are absolute novelties in this segment.
It is the first ‘small’ car to offer so much in the way of content: 4 specification levels, 3 engines at the launch, 12 colours, including 6 vintage colours that will bring the 1950s and 1960s to mind, plus tri-coat white produced by a process that is usually only adopted on luxury cars, 15 types of upholstery including luxurious Cordura and Frau Leather, 9 types of wheel rims, and 19 types of stickers, making a total of more than 500,000 variants (549,936 to be precise); the most interesting include the electric fragrance diffuser, with a choice of 3 different fragrances, and coloured key cases, an approach similar to that in the mobile phone market that lets you match the colour of the key to that of the bodywork, or to select another pattern of your own choosing. There has never been such a lavish array of accessories on such an accessible car.
The 500 is an inclusive not an exclusive concept and Fiat felt that this was the best way to meet the tastes of all its potential customers, without distinction, from the most minimalist to the most eccentric. The idea of creating a product that could adapt to the needs of the individual was also expressed in the decision to surpass all the competition in the process of incorporating electronic technologies into the passenger compartment (Plug In). A second generation Blue&Me is available, and an iPod can be easily incorporated thanks to the socket and the battery charger. A new portable navigator was developed specially for the 500 with Magneti Marelli, which is fitted directly on the dashboard and connects to other vehicle functions.
The concept of customisation is not limited to the product, but extends to the world of services and forms of payment. For example, with the ‘500 Cents’ and ‘50to500’ formulas from Fiat Group Automobiles Financial Services, the customer will be able to purchase any version of the 500 including customisation, for ¤ 5 a day, and with no down payment, or to pay 50% of the sum immediately and the remainder after 2 years.
And every time that a customer takes out one of the above loans he will benefit from a 5 year/500,000 km manufacturer’s warranty and other services that Fiat is offering for the first time, and which envisage complete 24-hour roadside service. And when it is time for periodical maintenance, the car will be picked up from the customer’s home, and his mobility will be guaranteed by the reimbursement of any taxi fares.
Plenty of offers and possibilities, because the 500 must be the car for everyone: it is the car of the people, made by the people, for the people. The 500 is the ‘New Fiat’ and the ‘New Fiat’ belongs to everyone.
For the company, the birth of the 500 represents the start of a new chapter, a declaration of the role that Fiat aims to interpret in the future on the market and in society. The stimulus to a new model of conscious consumption. A model for the exploitation of experience in the automotive field that focuses on quality and emotions, on uniqueness rather than on mass-production, where simplification does not mean doing without. The 500 is the tangible synthesis of these aspirations.
With the 500, Fiat smiles at the future.
The Fiat 500 immediately conveys the idea of compactness, thanks to a lateral section made up of several superimposed layers and its ‘shell-like’ roof, whose measurements are decidedly smaller than those of the sides in the plane view. The proportions and a number of aesthetic features give it an ‘appealing’ air, but also convey solidity and robustness.
In a total length of just 3.5 metres, the designers have extended the passenger compartment to obtain a pleasant form that is extremely luminous in the side view, with a short bonnet and minimal overhangs. The bonnet folds down over the sides while the front combines the family resemblance of the latest Fiat models with the distinctive elements of the first Fiat 500 with great stylistic harmony. For example, the strongest reference to the historical car is the combination of the circular upper headlights together with full beam lower lights and the ‘whiskers and logo’ unit.
From the side, the waistline slopes slightly at the front to highlight the robustness and dynamism of the design. The lateral section proposes a modern interpretation of the look of the historic 500, but with more essential, modern surfaces, interrupted by the generous shape of the wheelarches. It is also possible to see the front and rear light clusters, because of the way the rounded side links up to the nose and tail. And finally, the roof pillar forms an arc which simplifies the design of the glazing which is continuous and hides the upper edge of the doors with black profiling.
The rear end of the Fiat 500 features a large shaped, chrome-plated handle which reiterates the motif of the registration plate light holder of its forebear that resembled a bicycle saddle. The rear lights are set between the edges of the tailgate and they are divided chromatically by function so that they appear more vertical and farther apart. The side view of superimposed volumes continues right to the tailgate, creating a striking wraparound shape. The rear window ‘cuts’ the tailgate at the sides, creating a simple modern look for the glazing while a small spoiler at the top of the tailgate enhances the contemporary look and improves the aerodynamic efficiency.
And finally, although there are plenty of references to the past, all the elements are only reiterated on the new Fiat 500 after their place on a modern car has been analysed in depth, reviewing their functions and materials, or even finding new uses for them. For example, the famous canvas roof of the past has now been replaced by a Sky Dome glass roof. This large roof continues the line of the windscreen, with a linear, luminous interpretation of the roof, highlighting the two arcs of the pillars (it is available in a fixed version, or with an electric opening mechanism).
Another example of a stylistic re-interpretation is found in the retro design of the front and rear light clusters which is now combined with the most sophisticated exterior lighting technology. Produced by Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting, they are precious design elements, and the front light clusters offer DRL (Day Running Light) daytime lighting as standard: this function is activated automatically when the engine is started, with a beam stronger than that of the side lights but lower than that of the dipped headlights. The DRL system meets current legislation in some countries that requires motorists to drive with their headlights on, but makes it possible not to turn the rear side lights on, thus saving on consumption. The DRL daytime light is another innovative feature that the Fiat 500 introduces in this segment for the first time.
The styling of the new car is completed by the broad choice of metallic and non-metallic colours which creates a large number of possible combinations, some of which are inspired by the ‘vintage’ appeal of the original shades of the first 500, while others have a decidedly contemporary look, and the bodywork can always be chosen to match the fabric or leather of the upholstery, with a facia the same colour as the exterior.
And finally, the Fiat 500 is the first Fiat model to use its own name as a logo, positioning it on the wheel hubs and rims.
Elegance and innovation in a passenger compartment that will not age
The designers paid the utmost attention to detail, while focusing on simplicity, which is the leitmotif of the new model. Simple does not mean ‘bare’, but embraces a particular stylistic and constructive interpretation that strives for ‘simplified enjoyment’. The passenger compartment is airy and roomy, an environment where you can enjoy the time you spend in the car comfortably and at ease. It is also an embracing, protective environment thanks to the large ring that circles the entire space inside.
The structure of the Fiat 500 cabin sums up the comprehensiveness of the modern, ergonomic outfit, in a design inspired by the historical 500. Starting with the steering column, which is made up of steering wheel and instruments, grouped in a single panel which contains the speedometer, rev counter and trip computer, all concentric and perceptible immediately and simultaneously. These elements, together with the central console and the radio-air vent unit, can be ordered in ivory or black, a choice that influences the character of the car, making it more ‘vintage’ or sporty. The instrument panel on the Fiat 500 is an ideal blend of retro styling and modern technology which adapts perfectly to the interior of the car. Built by Magneti Marelli, it comes in two versions: ‘Comfort’ and ‘Matrix’, and the latter features a dot matrix monitor at the centre of the panel which displays the pictograms for the satellite navigation system incorporated in the Blue&Me™ Nav device.
If the upper part of the facia is designed to convey a sense of refinement and elegance, the lower part conveys functionality with capacious, open storage shelves, and small and medium sized drawers for more valuable items that you want to conceal. The gear lever, which is positioned on the facia, looks like a refined mechanical component, with chromed parts and a simple but efficient black knob that is shiny or chrome-plated depending on the version. The set of most frequently used buttons was inspired by the telltales and small levers of the old 500, and is very quick and easy to use.
The seats deserve a separate mention; the various versions copy those of the 500 F of the 1960s with the same ‘split’ effect: solid tone fabric at the bottom and the upper lunette and a head-restraint that match the colour of the steering wheel. The most lavish version of the new 500 also offers elegant Cordura fabric upholstery, finished with a tubular border over the stitching, while the seats and facia on the sporty outfit show the influence of the racing world, with leather coloured or black elements, a chrome-plated gear lever knob and a more encircling shape for the front seats. Fiat 500 customers can also order prestigious Frau leather upholstery, choosing from a traditional Black, a Hide colour that recalls the earlier 500 and an ultra-sporty Red.
The door panels feature a contrast between the part upholstered to match the seats and the plastic structure that incorporates a large oddment pocket and the speakers. The door handle has a chromed ‘hook’ shape that recalls one of the best remembered features on the door of the historical 500.
What is more, in spite of its small size, the new model is amazingly roomy, thanks to careful analysis of the distribution of the storage units, such as the two compartments on the facia for the driver and passenger, the hidden compartment on the passenger side, those in the door panels, another in the gearbox support and one above the passenger seat. And the luggage compartment is also quite capacious (185 litres, or a maximum of 550 litres right up to the ceiling), and the loading threshold is low to make loading easier; the rear seat squab can also be folded down.
The rear seat is very comfortable for 2 people, and on all versions it reiterates the same attention to detail that is evident in the front seats. To highlight the fact that the car really is roomy, the upper outline of the squabs is raised to support and clasp passengers’ backs better. And finally, a console positioned between the seats near the tunnel acts as a ‘docking station’, it can hold the usual small items (glasses and cans), and houses the 12V socket and USB port to connect a range of functional accessories, and telematic devices such as an iPod or PDA, or even a fragrance dispenser which offers the customer a choice of fragrances.
Engineering and Styling combined for record time to market
To create the heir to a veritable icon of our times: this was the goal shared by the engineers and designers who worked on the new 500. And with this goal in mind, the Fiat Style Centre and Engineering & Design worked closely together, applying the most sophisticated methodologies, and putting into their work all the passion that a similar project demanded.
Like the Bravo before it, for the new 500, Fiat Automobiles achieved a level of integration between the set-up, planning and virtual verification methods during the product development process that is the state of the art in the motor industry, comparable only with the aeronautical sector.
Intensive use of virtual checks made it possible to assess a virtually unlimited number of design solutions rapidly and early on in the process, guaranteeing the best trade-off of performance, and strengthening the entire project. As a result, as with the Bravo, this kept development time for the new 500 to just 18 months, from the specification “freeze” to market launch. This record is perfectly in line with the goals that Fiat Automobiles has already achieved, borne out, for example, by the fact that European customers have voted the Panda the best performer in terms of quality and reliability, thanks to the soundness of the project and processes. And with the Fiat 500 the reliability and perceived quality will be even better, due to the care that has gone into the choice of materials and design solutions.
As a result of the lessons learned from the Bravo project, the Fiat Group has drafted a plan to implement new methodologies, which synergetically embraces all the automotive sectors and revolves around further development of virtual analysis methods; in parallel, the use of standardised components was increased, and new design references were adopted to optimise costs and to curb weights.
One of the first important stages in the development process that also brings in the competent Engineering & Design centres, is the co-called ‘feasibility’ stage, during which the preliminary Styling work is analysed by Engineering, to assess any technical problems that may be presented by the ‘dress’ covering the mechanical parts, some of which already existed, and which aspects of performance may be affected by the styling. In practice, the first CAS (Computer Aided Styling) mathematical calculations, even without details such as cuts and mobile parts, seals, etc., are combined with already finalised platform calculations, so that the set-up and layout specialists can then ‘slice them up’ into specific sections zone by zone, to highlight the important dimensional parameters and decide how lines have to be adapted to house the components and to define the necessary operating spaces.
In the meantime, the aerodynamics team assesses the first Cd and air flow values for the engine cooling, deriving them from the fluid dynamic calculation, while the manufacturing team simulates component pressing in sheet steel, to highlight any problems related to the shapes. All the data from these calculations are filtered by the Performance Engineering team, which defines the trade off necessary if all the objectives set previously are to be respected.
One of the most critical areas of the 500 project, which demanded a great deal of creativity as well as patient refinement, was the nose of the car, which had to accommodate the mechanicals and the engine as well as meeting pedestrian safety standards (a problem that did not exist on the 500 of 1957 because the engine was mounted at the rear). So with the help of virtual reality, the specialists tried various combinations for the front components, until they obtained a new layout that was compatible with a smaller overhang, after having redesigned the radiator, widened the front air intake, and repositioned the foglights, verifying everything with the impact deformation calculations which confirmed the ‘feasibility’ of the compact nose (very similar to the one on the previous 500).
Another stylistic feature of the old 500 that caused problems for the feasibility of the new model was the characteristic curve of the roof at the rear. The interesting fact was that in the 1950s this line was established deliberately by the technicians to limit the roominess in the rear of the car so that it would not prove too competitive for its more expensive elder sister, the Fiat 600. The exact opposite to the new 500 of the 21st century, which was designed to accommodate 4 adults comfortably, without losing its famous rounded shape. The ergonomic experts got to work using simulations, and succeeded in lowering the rear H point, i.e. the reference point of a human body sitting on the rear seat, so as to improve headroom. But it was not enough, and there was also the risk that the foam of the seat cushion would be too thin, and that the passenger would be uncomfortably aware of the metal structure of the floor on every bump. Two types of calculation demonstrated that a solution to the problem did exist. On one hand, an increase in the ‘bearing capacity’ of the cushion foam was assessed, so as to absorb the vertical acceleration in less space, and on the other, a calculation of the structural rigidity of the bodyshell showed that the size of the rear crossbeam could be reduced, together with a ‘millimetric refinement’ of the tailgate hinges and the space necessary for the tailgate to open, and still guarantee a reasonable amount of headroom.
Still on the subject of the car’s rounded shape, the Fiat 500 has an excellent Cd, without the addition of a spoiler which would have ruined the car’s attractive line; so by infinite trial and error, experimenting with the shape of the tailgate (because in the meantime the first physical model had been prepared), a final sliver was removed that made it possible to obtain a Cd reading of 0.325 in the wind tunnel, an excellent result for a car that is just 3.5 metres long with a rounded shape.
The car comes with a choice of superb modern engines that guarantee sparkling performance. There are two petrol units (the 69 bhp 1.2 8v and 100 bhp 1.4 16v) and one Multijet turbodiesel, the 75 bhp 1.3 16v with DPF. Each offers different features, all of which are exploited fully by combining them with mechanical 5 or 6 speed gearboxes (a Dualogic sequential robotised 5-speed gearbox will also be available at a later date for the petrol engines), and they stand out for their generosity, brilliant temperament, top performance and advanced technology. However they all also share top reliability and respect for the environment. This has been demonstrated in over 1,600,000 km that the test cars have already travelled, which will become 2,350,000 km with the last tests. We should underline that all the engines are Euro 4-compliant and are designed to meet the even stricter limitations of future European standards (Euro 5), already meeting the emissions limits that will presumably be enforced in 2009. The 1.3 Multijet is also equipped with a particulate trap (PDF) as standard equipment.
All the engines mounted on the Fiat 500 are manufactured by Fiat Powertrain Technologies, the Group’s new sector. FPT draws together all the activities in the fields of innovation, research, design and manufacture related to engines and gearboxes for all types of applications: from cars to commercial vehicles, boats and agricultural machinery. With approximately 19,000 employees, 17 plants and 10 research centres in eight different countries, the Sector is one of the world’s most important organisations in its field. At FPT, approximately 3000 highly specialised technicians focus on the development and engineering of innovative technologies. More than 40 patents are filed each year, confirming the quality and seriousness of this commitment, and making FPT a huge centre of technological excellence and ongoing innovation.
The 69 bhp Fire 1.2 8v
The tried and tested Fire engine that will power the Fiat 500 has a capacity of 1242 cc, and has undergone a series of refinements designed to make it a champion of fuel economy, but without detracting from performance. The engine delivers 51 kW (69 bhp) at 5500 rpm, and peak torque of 102 Nm (10.4 kgm) at 3000 rpm, with a top speed of 160 km/h. That is not all. With the 1.2 8v engine, the Fiat 500 leads its class for consumption, delivering 5.1 l/100 km in the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 119 g/km. Acceleration over 100 metres is also excellent at 12.9 seconds. This figure is even more significant in view of the car’s low consumption. The credit goes to the structure of the engine, which achieves a generous torque at low revs (this makes for more enjoyable driving and outstanding flexibility) and ratios chosen to highlight fuel economy.
A sparkling engine that is sparing on fuel. This has been achieved thanks essentially to:
1)The adoption of an electronic throttle valve control system known as ‘drive by wire’ (with no mechanical connection between the accelerator and the throttle), while it is the electronic control unit that delivers the torque on the basis of the driver’s demands (torque-based system).
2)Fluid dynamic optimisation achieved by a new high turbulence combustion chamber combined with a continuous variable cam phaser. This innovative system allows a substantial part of the exhaust gases (about 25%) to be recirculated in the combustion chamber, significantly reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions when driving with a partial load.
3)The timing components have been made lighter and the valve springs are of the low load type, to reduce friction.
Another interesting feature of this engine where fuel consumption is concerned, is the use of an active knock sensor capable of managing the advance in the best possible way in all conditions and, above all, the multipoint sequential phased injection system by Magneti Marelli.
The quality of life on board has also been improved by optimising the performance of the intake and exhaust systems, optimising the coupling play between the crankshaft and crankcase, through the computerised selection of the main bearings, and the development of a specific installation of the engine in the engine bay. This keeps the transmission of vibration from the engine to the bodyshell to a minimum. A special engine support system has been adopted, that comprises two blocks and a reaction link, which acts as a tie rod, in which the new bearings are aligned on an axis that goes through the engine’s centre of gravity in order to obtain reaction forces with a neutral arm.
On the environmental front, the 1.2 8v fits a catalytic converter in the engine bay, welded to the exhaust manifold flange. In this position the device is extremely efficient because it reaches high temperatures very rapidly thus abating emissions even while the engine is warming up.
The engine has been made even more reliable. The coils have been mounted closer together in a single block. This new type of coil means less spark plug wear, more energy available to ignite each plug thanks to the elimination of the lost spark, better cold starting due to the additional energy available for the spark plug (more energy supplied by the coil and no losses caused by the transfer of high voltage due to the adoption of very short cables), and finally, a significant reduction in the risk of disturbance to the onboard instruments due to high voltage cables.
The 75 bhp 1.3 Multijet 16v
The Fiat 500 would not be complete without the 1.3 16v Multijet engine, the smallest and most advanced second generation direct injection Common rail diesel unit, of which more than two million have been built to date.
Fitted with a Borg-Warner fixed geometry turbo (of the waste-gate type) with an intercooler, the engine delivers a maximum of 75 bhp (55 kW at 4000 rpm) and torque of 14.8 kgm (145 Nm) at 1500 rpm. With this engine, the Fiat 500 guarantees excellent performance: it has a top speed of 165 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 12.5 seconds. Fuel consumption is also among the best for this segment: 5.3 l/100 km in the urban cycle, 3.6 l/100 km out of town and 4.2 l/100 km in the combined cycle, and CO2 emissions are among the lowest on the market at just 111 g/km.
The engine is a straight-4 with a capacity of 1248 cc, a bore of 69.6 mm and a ‘long’ stroke of 82 mm. There are four valves per cylinder, governed directly by a twin overhead camshaft with maintenance-free hydraulic tappets and automatic play take-up. That is not all. The 1.3 Multijet 16v is a miniature masterpiece: ‘dressed’ with all its accessories, it weighs just 130 kg, it is small, just 50 cm long and 65 cm tall, and the component layout was designed to take up as little space as possible. Designed by criteria of maximum rationality, efficiency and reliability, the engine guarantees excellent efficiency and is practically ‘for life’: it was designed to travel 250,000 km without needing any maintenance to the mechanical components.
The compact, sophisticated engine is also extremely eco-friendly, thanks to an emissions control system that envisages an EGR valve triggered electronically and managed directly by the engine control system, a heat exchanger to cool recirculating exhaust gas (EGR) and a ‘close coupled’ catalytic converter. A particulate trap (DPF), the ‘for life’ system that abates fine dust and does not need additives to be regenerated, is standard equipment.
The 75 bhp 1.3 Multijet 16v therefore represents a technological leap forward which, for the customer, translates into lower consumption and emissions, without even taking into consideration the reduction in noise (due to the multiple injections), the increase in comfort (fewer alternating masses means less vibration), the smooth, responsive steering (due to the really smooth torque delivery, which is guaranteed by the improved combustion control), the elasticity and prompt response of a diesel that resembles a petrol engine for the vast excursion in the number of revs (for example, you are no longer aware of the fuel ‘cut-out’ just above 4000 rpm), and the ecological elements that enhance the diesel’s main environmental credentials (consumption) while minimising its main defect (particulate emissions).
The 100 bhp 1.4 16v Fire engine
One hundred horsepower on hand on such a compact car points up a brilliant, agile character, which allows it to slip easily and cheerfully through congested town traffic. The engine has a capacity of 1368 cc and four cylinders in line, with a bore of 72 mm and stroke of 84 mm. There are four valves per cylinder, driven directly by the overhead camshaft. The engine was developed focusing particular attention on performance and consumption, fields in which the Fiat 500 leads its class. All credit to the volumetric efficiency which has been optimised throughout the operating range, thanks to careful fluid dynamic development of the entire intake system and timing phasing.
The 1.4 16v delivers a maximum of 73.5 kW (100 bhp) at 6000 rpm and peak torque of 131 Nm (13.4 kgm) at 4250 rpm. Performance is excellent: the new car has a top speed of 182 km/h, and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.5 seconds. It is a sparkling engine with excellent performance enhanced by an electronic throttle valve control system known as ‘drive by wire’. This engine also proposes a number of changes that help to keep consumption down. For example, the timing components have been made lighter and the valve springs are of the low load type, to reduce friction.
Other features of the new 1.4 16v Fire are the increased compression ratio and the generous torque at low engine speeds, characteristics that have made it possible to limit consumption: for example, in the combined cycle it returns 6.3 l/100 km. This target was achieved by the calibration of the latest generation engine control system, which succeeded in reducing consumption as much as possible, compatible with the requirements of driveability, performance and emissions.
In order to guarantee low emissions, special injectors have been adopted that optimise the spray phase, thus reducing the quantity of petrol that adheres to the walls of the intake manifold during cold starting and in transients (when you depress the accelerator). This reduces the quantity of hydrocarbons in the exhaust, guaranteeing respect for the environment and for increasingly stringent legislation.
Reliable, robust gearboxes
A range of reliable, robust, sophisticated gearboxes has been developed to match the engine range available on the Fiat 500: one is a mechanical unit (with 5 speeds for the 1.2 and 1.3, and with 6 speeds for the 1.4), the other is of the sequential robotised type, and will be available after the launch on petrol-engined versions.
The mechanical gearbox is very compact and gear-shift manoeuvring is excellent. This was made possible by the reduced inertia of the driven clutch plate and the introduction of new seals. The gearbox configuration is transverse with two cascade shafts, while the speed control is internal, with four selection levels.
The external drive is dual hose type, which filters out engine running roughness and vibration transmitted by the engine to the gear lever. The gears have teeth with extra covering, as well as fifth speed and final drive pairs that are given an extra finish after heat treatment (this improves quiet operation). The gearbox housing is light and absorbs noise efficiently, and has been fine tuned using the Finite Element Method.
The mechanical gearbox of the Fiat 500 has a ‘syringe’ mechanism that prevents the involuntary engagement of reverse.
The Dualogic gearbox is a jewel of mechanical engineering and deserves a separate mention. It will be available after the launch combined with the mechanical gearbox that equips the 1.2 8v and 1.4 16v versions and it features an innovative transmission system. It automates the clutch and gear lever controls by means of an electrohydraulic servo, but maintains all the advantages of a dry clutch and a mechanical gearbox (weight, sturdiness and reliability, low energy consumption).
This sophisticated system improves the performance of the manual mechanical transmission components and increases driving safety because it avoids errors by the driver and prevents faulty manoeuvres of the transmission system.
There are two operating modes: semiautomatic and automatic.
The first adopts the most advanced control strategies to guarantee the best performance. Gears are engaged using the lever on the facia. Because there is no clutch pedal, the device is controlled simply by moving the lever: forward to change up (towards the ‘+’ symbol), back to change down (towards the ‘-‘ symbol). A simple push is sufficient to ensure the transmission makes a fast, accurate gear change.
This is how the Dualogic transmission functions in semiautomatic mode. Most of the electric signals reach the control unit by CAN (Controller Area Network) and can be grouped in two large subgroups. In one, the data from the gearbox area, which make it possible to identify the engagement position, the selection, the clutch, and the operating pressure of the hydraulic kit, as well as the rotating speed of the clutch. In the other, all the signals coming in from the control lever on the tunnel or the levers on the steering wheel (which are optional), that let the driver decide when he wants to change gear, and those from the other systems on the Fiat 500 (for example, the engine and braking system), which help to define the gear change precisely and repeatably. For example, coordination with the engine control unit makes it possible to change up without having to release the accelerator pedal or to automatically increase engine speed when changing down (double de-clutch).
Using these two groups of signals, the Dualogic gearbox can manage gear changes in a comfortable or sporty way, in the manual or automatic mode, interpreting the driver’s needs by analysing the pedal position and the engine speed.
Once the engine on the Fiat 500 is started, any pressure on the brake pedal confirms that the driver is at the wheel, and enables first or reverse to be engaged (on a slippery surface it is also possible to set off in second). And to guarantee safety and prevent incorrect gear engagement, the system engages neutral automatically when a door is open with the engine running. The Dualogic device also prevents errors that might damage the engine or gearbox, by notifying the driver of emergency situations or incorrect manoeuvres with warning lights and beeps.
The automatic mode of the Dualogic system offers two settings on the 1.2 version: Normal and Economy. The Normal setting provides outstanding driving comfort, with brilliant acceleration and gear changes in all conditions. The Economy setting, on the other hand, is used to reduce fuel consumption, while still maintaining outstanding handling and comfort. On the version for the 1.4 16v engine, the two settings are Normal and Sport (with the Sport button on the facia). The Sport setting activates a faster gear change logic that minimises the torque gap and thus makes the car more ‘fun to drive’ for the driver.
In automatic mode, the system recognises the road gradient (by means of a software algorithm) and modifies the gear shift point to ensure the best possible compromise between the driver’s needs, ground conditions and vehicle situation (speed and engine rpm). Another feature peculiar to the Dualogic gearbox is its ability to measure the vehicle deceleration and adapt gear changes accordingly. For example, in semiautomatic mode, and particularly with a sporty driving style, the system changes down when the driver asks for a lower speed to take a corner with more gusto. In automatic mode, the system anticipates the change down so that the driver has the best speed to maintain the level of comfort or fuel economy.
The Dualogic system is the best compromise for drivers who prefer the enjoyment and entertainment of a manual shift, but like to know they can count on the convenience of an automatic.
The Fiat 500 does not only offer styling with plenty of personality, modern, reliable engineering, lavish equipment and outstanding comfort. It is also an extremely safe car. More than individual devices it is a combination of various systems that make it one of the safest cars in its segment.
The new model is the first car in this category to offer up to 7 airbags (front, side, curtain- and knee-bags are all standard throughout the range, except for the Naked version). And the new 500 also proposes a number of sophisticated technical solutions to control the car’s dynamic behaviour. They include ABS complete with EBD, the sophisticated ESP (Electronic Stability Program), ASR (Anti Slip Regulation), HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance) and a Hill Holder device. And to guarantee the safety of the occupants, the bodyshell of the new model is designed to respect all the latest impact resistance criteria (it is the first super-mini with a front structure designed specifically to improve compatibility between vehicles in a head-on impact), and is rigid around the passenger compartment to protect occupants with high-absorption areas on the outside.
Seat-belts with double pretensioners and load limiters are standard on the front seats, with three-point belts at the rear. The front and rear seats are fitted with antisubmarining devices that prevent the occupant from sliding forward, under the seat-belt. Isofix attachments for child seats are standard throughout the range.
The Fiat 500 is fitted with all the dynamic and comfort features that ensure occupants can tackle any type of road comfortably and safely. The credit also goes to the suspension: an independent MacPherson system at the front, and semi-independent interconnected wheels with a torsion axle at the rear. The two layouts have evolved from a Magneti Marelli design and have been used on other Fiat models in the past; they have now been revised and modified for the new car, to guarantee outstanding handling and the highest possible level of comfort.
The braking system on the new car has two independent cross-over circuits to guarantee prompt, smooth braking and shorter stopping distances. The pedal has a short stroke, so that the characteristics of the servo assist are exploited in full.
The front discs have a diameter of 240 mm; they are solid for versions with the 1.2 8v engine and ventilated for the 1.3 Multijet, with a diameter of 257 mm for versions with the 100 bhp 1.4 16v. The rear brakes mount drums (180 mm) on the 1.2 8v and 1.3 Multijet, and discs (240 mm) on the 1.4 16v. The 9” brake servo makes braking easier and more effective, decreasing the effort needed on the pedal.
The ABS on the Fiat 500 has four active sensors, four channels, a hydraulic control unit with eight solenoids and comes complete with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution). The system can guarantee the best possible braking effort even with each wheel close to locking, which means it is possible to control the direction of the car fully in emergency situations using the steering wheel.
The strong points of the system are the active sensors, which process the wheel speed data themselves (without having to send them to the control unit); they can read values very close to nought (passive sensors do not register speeds below 2.5 km/h) and are less sensitive to disturbance caused by electromagnetic fields.
This advanced ABS system is supplemented by electronic brake force distribution, EBD, which distributes the braking force between the front and rear wheels to prevent the rear wheels from locking, guaranteeing a balanced response from the car in all conditions. The system also adapts to the grip conditions of the wheels and the efficiency of the brake pads, and it reduces the temperature of the front brakes and the effort demanded from the brake servo.
ESP (Electronic Stability Program)
The new Fiat 500 offers the sophisticated Electronic Stability Program to guarantee complete control over the car; this program cuts in when conditions are close to the limit, and the car’s stability is at risk, to help the driver to control the vehicle (the device is standard with the 1.4 engine and an option with the other two).
To do so, ESP constantly verifies how the tyres grip the ground, longitudinally and laterally, and if the car does skid, it cuts in to recover the trajectory and trim stability. It incorporates sensors that measure the wheel speed, the vehicle’s rotation around its vertical axis (yaw speed), the lateral acceleration and the steering angle set by the driver (which indicates his chosen direction). It then compares these data with the parameters processed by a computer and uses a complex mathematical model to establish whether the car is taking a bend within the grip limits, or whether the front or rear is about to veer (understeer or oversteer).
To bring it back to the correct trajectory, the system generates a yaw moment opposite to the one that caused the instability, singly braking the appropriate wheel (nearside or offside), and reducing the engine power by adjusting the throttle valve. This is where the device developed for the Fiat 500 differs from other systems. Its intervention on the brakes is modulated to be as gentle as possible (therefore without disturbing the driving), and the reduction in engine power is limited, to guarantee excellent performance and enjoyable driving at all times. ESP is always engaged.
ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) and MSR (Motor Schleppmoment Regelung)
To limit any slipping of the driving wheels when grip on the road is poor, the new Fiat 500 is equipped with a sophisticated device that controls traction automatically. It is known as ASR (Anti Slip Regulation), and is standard equipment on all versions that mount the ESP system. ASR functions at all speeds and adjusts torque on the basis of the grip detected.
Based on the number of wheel revs calculated by the ABS sensors, the device calculates the degree of slipping and activates two different control systems to recover grip:
- when an excessive demand for power causes both drive wheels to slip (for example when aquaplaning or accelerating on an uneven, snow-covered or icy road surface), the system reduces engine torque by decreasing the throttle valve aperture and thus the air flow;
- if only one wheel slips (for example the wheel inside a bend following acceleration or dynamic changes to the load), this is automatically braked without the driver having to press the brake pedal. The effect obtained is similar to that of a self-locking differential.
ASR helps to maintain vehicle stability, and it is particularly useful when there is a loss of grip (just think of the ramps in a garage in Winter) and when the paving does not guarantee homogeneous friction.
Another advantage of ASR that should not be overlooked is the reduction of stress on mechanical organs such as the differential and gearbox, which is achieved by controlling take-off and traction at low speeds.
ASR is engaged automatically every time the engine is started, but can be excluded by a switch on the centre console. When ASR is activated a telltale on the instrument panel flashes. If the telltake in the control panel comes on, but the LED on the switch is off, this indicates a malfunction or irregularity in the system. ASR must be de-activated when snow chains are mounted, because in order to transmit torque to the ground, the wheel has to be able to ‘pile up’ snow with small slips that the ASR system tends to avoid.
If the driver changes down suddenly and grip is poor, the MSR device (Motor Schleppmoment Regelung) takes over, returning torque to the engine and preventing slipping due to wheel lock.
HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance)
The Fiat 500 adopts a device that assists in emergency braking. On cars fitted with ESP this function is performed electronically by the ABS control unit and it is called HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance).
During ‘panic’ braking, most drivers recognise an emergency situation and put their feet down very rapidly on the brake pedal, but not with the necessary additional effort. Because, unless he is a professional driver, the motorist is accustomed to braking by applying a certain ‘load’ to the pedal, and like all automatic gestures repeated over and over again, he tends to use the same effort in all circumstances.
On the new model, at this point the Brake Assist devices are triggered, and although the pressure on the pedal remains the same, they ensure the same deceleration that you would achieve by braking with every possible force.
The panic braking assist is also useful for more expert drivers who do brake rapidly, and with the right amount of energy when necessary. Because in any case the system reduces braking implementation time, i.e. the time between the moment he applies the force on the pedal and the moment that the circuit reaches maximum pressure and can give its best performance.
The Hill Holder is a system that helps the driver on hill starts. It cuts in when the ESP control unit perceives a difference in the inclination of the car through a longitudinal acceleration sensor on the floor under the front passenger seat. During a hill start, the control unit prepares to intervene when first speed is engaged and the brake and clutch pedals are depressed. The pressure on the front brake callipers is maintained for about 2 seconds after the driver releases the brake pedal, allowing him to set off without difficulty. The Hill Holder is not activated when the car is started downhill with first speed engaged. Similarly, when reverse is engaged, the system is activated for downhill starts, and it is not activated for uphill starts.
Exclusive features for superior comfort
Blue&Me and Blue&Me Nav: communicating and travelling without frontiers
Just one year after its launch, the Blue&Me™ system is proving to be a huge commercial success (in fact it is requested by 20% of purchasers of all Fiat Group Automobiles models) and it has won several prestigious international awards. The Fiat 500 will be available with either the first level Blue&MeTM (including a hands-free function with Bluetooth® interface, advanced voice recognition, USB port, MP3 player and SMS text message interpreter) or the latest version of the device, Blue&MeTM Nav, which adds a navigation function at a very competitive price. The Blue&MeTM Nav will be available after the launch and is already wired to enable a range of telematic services such as SOS Emergency, Info Service and insurance services.
Blue&Me™ Nav offers a simple, intuitive pictogram navigation system that features an innovative method of introducing the destination using voice controls.
The destination is located in real time: the map of the country is memorised on the USB pen drive, and this makes access to the data faster and quieter than when a CD is used. And with Blue&Me™ Nav, all the functions are built-in, and the telephone, music and navigation information is available on the instrument panel. What is more, as he navigates, the driver can listen to his favourite music, which he has memorised, together with the map, on the same USB pen drive or media player, or make a telephone call using the hands-free device.
All the strong points of the system
Blue&Me™ was developed in 3 years by Fiat Auto and Microsoft. The partnership was ratified in June 2004, with the long-term goal of designing innovative telematic systems for cars, and it has created a product that has established itself on the market, exploiting a perfectly integrated technology that is in complete harmony with the user, as its name suggests.
Based on the Windows Mobile for Automotive system, this device features an open system that is always in step with the times, updateable, flexible and modular. With the help of Magneti Marelli, Fiat Group Automobiles and Microsoft offer a platform that adapts to most cell phones, music players and other personal devices, replacing current expensive, rigid hardware, with the great benefit of being able to constantly adapt to innovations on the market, remaining perfectly integrated into the car. All at an accessible price.
Blue&Me™ is extremely safe and easy to use. The voice control system, which is perfectly integrated into the controls on the steering wheel and the information on the instrument panel, allows a customer with a Bluetooth® cell phone to use it even if the phone is in a jacket or bag, without taking his hands off the wheel. And the advanced voice recognition system allows immediate interaction, because the voice does not have to be ‘learned’, even allowing incoming text messages to be interpreted aloud.
Occupants can listen to hours and hours of digital music in MP3, WMA and WAV format recorded on an iPod, a cell phone, an MP3 player or a USB pen drive, by connecting the digital device to the USB port.
The customer who purchases the Blue&Me™ Nav system will receive a navigation kit comprising a USB pen drive with the memorised map, and a back-up CD that can be used to transfer the map onto a personal MP3 player or iPod.
The Nav key on the dedicated control board on the roof panel connects directly to the navigation menu, which can also be accessed via the controls on the steering wheel, or vocally. The USB key is inserted to start navigating, and the driver uses the keys on the steering wheel to choose his destination by selecting the initial letters of the address; he can even complete it vocally.
Like all other information, navigation details can be displayed on the control panel: destination address, pictograms of the directions to follow, information on arrival and the usual vocal suggestions of the manoeuvres to make, reproduced through the speakers. Unlike other navigators, on which it is not possible to navigate and listen to music CDs at the same time without a CD changer, with Blue&Me™ Nav the driver can navigate as he listens to the music saved in the media player.
The navigation program can be used on a personal computer together with the back-up CD, to save the maps of a number of countries, purchased separately, on the USB pen drive. Then the driver can select a whole country (for example Italy, France, Germany, etc.), or part of a country (for example northern/central/southern Italy), or even a region that groups together maps of different countries (for example northern Italy and Switzerland, Austria and southern Germany).
Blue&Me™ MAP 500: a latest generation portable navigator
Six months after the launch of the Blue&Me Nav™ system, which has attracted a great deal of interest on the international automotive market, Fiat Automobiles now announces the world première of a new development for the Blue&Me™ platform: MAP 500, a multifunction portable navigator with an original design developed for the Fiat 500 that is incorporated in the car using innovative technology.
Available after the launch and developed with Magneti Marelli, leader in the first equipment navigation systems market, the device represents a new frontier in the portable navigation systems market, as a safe user-friendly system that is incorporated perfectly on board the vehicle from both an electrical/mechanical viewpoint and in terms of connectivity.
This new architecture offers numerous advantages via the Blue&Me™ technology, which simplifies the direct integration of the portable navigator and the car: the data from the CAN network on the vehicle improve the accuracy of the navigator and the voice messages are reproduced through the car audio system. This guarantees higher standards in terms of comfort and of safety. In addition to map satellite navigation, the Blue&Me™ MAP 500 system also incorporates a number of multimedia functions that can be exploited in portable mode, such as the reproduction of music and the display of films and pictures.
Another feature of the device is the excellent mechanical and electrical integration on the car, which does not call for loose cables or temporary supports. Fiat Automobiles has taken great care over the incorporation and ergonomic positioning of the new device in the facia so that it is easy to install and to remove, respecting the latest automotive standards.
The new portable navigator uses a wireless connection with the Blue&Me to exchange information, so that it can be used in complete safety and the utmost comfort.
Some advantages for the user:
• More accurate navigation compared to conventional portables; possibility of navigating even in tunnels or areas where GPS reception is poor.
• Simultaneous management of all the audio, radio, CD, telephone and navigation sources.
• All the Blue&Me functions: hands-free, USB port, steering-wheel controls, voice recognition and text message reader.
The radio and the ‘Interscope Sound System’ Hi-Fi system
The Fiat 500 offers a radio complete with audio CD and MP3 file player, and a choice of two Hi-Fi systems. The radio is part of the design of the dashboard, in an ergonomic position in the upper part of the facia (the best position for the driver), where it can easily be reached by the passenger. The device can easily be connected to the Blue&Me system so that, thanks to the hands-free function with Bluetooth® interface, the driver can use a Bluetooth® cell phone even if it is in a jacket or bag, without taking his hands off the wheel. And because the Blue&Me incorporates an advanced voice recognition function, interaction is immediate and the voice does not have to be ‘learned’; the system can also interpret incoming text messages.
The original sound system has six speakers: two 30 Watt tweeters and four full-range (two 40 Watt and two 35 Watt).
The second system is available on request. Known as the ‘Interscope Sound System’ it is an absolute novelty in this segment, characterised by refined technology, and ideal for the motorist who wants a particularly sophisticated Hi-Fi system, because it was designed and calibrated specifically for the Fiat 500 passenger compartment.
The new Interscope Sound System comprises six speakers (two tweeters, two woofers and two full-range, all 40 W), one 100 W sub-woofer and a 30 W amplifier. What makes the sound experience on board the car really unique is the fact that the Interscope Sound System uses 3 different methods of processing the signal and the related acoustic effects simultaneously: the first (TruBass) extends the perceived frequency field towards the bass without needing a subwoofer so that the listener has the sensation of listening to a system that produces extended, very deep basses.
The second method (Focus) raises the apparent position of the sources of sound to ear level. This gives the sensation of listening to speakers positioned higher than they actually are, and simultaneously the response in perceived frequency goes back to being ‘natural’, because the ‘colouring’ caused by the filtering of the head has been removed.
And finally, the third method (3D) which spatially equalises stereo reproduction, correcting any errors due to the position of the speakers and improving spatial perception. The result is a more embracing sound, which recreates a correct stereophonic effect even for listeners who are positioned further away from the symmetrical axis of the speakers (as in the case of the car).
The Sky Dome fixed or opening panoramic roof
The quality of life on board the new Fiat 500 is also confirmed by the availability of two types of roof that accentuate the luminosity of the interior and enhance the exterior line. The elegant glass roof is available in both a fixed version and with an electrical opening mechanism.
The large sunroof on the Fiat 500 is of the Sky Dome type, comprising a mobile panel of glass and a fixed front panel of shiny black sheet metal that creates a continuous stylistic effect with the windscreen.
The sunroof creates a new relationship between the occupants and the surrounding environment, and they can enjoy all the luminosity and feeling of freedom that the large glazed surface can provide. If they want to illuminate the interior, the glazed part can be closed and the blind underneath opened. And if they prefer to travel ‘in the open air’, it only takes seven seconds for the entire front glazed panel and the blind to open, providing a true ‘window on the sky’.
The climate inside the car is a major factor of comfort on the road, and it is also important for preventive safety, because the temperature, humidity and ventilation affect the driver’s well-being and therefore his attention level. And it is the heating and ventilation system that demists the windscreen and side windows. This is why the Fiat 500 offers a choice between a conventional heating system, manual climate control and a sophisticated climate system that features automatic control of the temperature, air flow, air distribution, compressor engagement and recirculation.
The system on the Fiat 500 implements an ‘equivalent temperature’ climate control strategy. A number of sensors register the indoor and outdoor temperature and evaluate the feeling of thermal well-being perceived by the passenger, i.e. the energy exchange between the human body and the passenger compartment, which is affected by the humidity, the temperature and the flow of treated air.
All these parameters are measured constantly and used to adjust the distribution, ventilation and mixture constantly. This regulates the air flow to the air vents and the fan speed, so that passengers in the car enjoy the sense of thermal well-being they requested (when setting the temperature). The result is a constant climate, even if the outdoor conditions change. And to make sure that the air issuing into the car reaches all corners of the passenger compartment, the system can be adjusted to one of five combinations. The customer can also modify the temperature gradually, by half a degree at a time, until it is comfortable for him. The knob allows an adjustment of 16°C.
Manual settings always have priority over automatic settings. They cause the ‘Auto’ LED to go out, and the setting is memorised until the control is annulled. Every time the system is turned on, it will return to the status memorised when it was turned off, except for the ‘MAX DEF’ function, which is cancelled. It is also possible to turn the system off manually, de-activating the climate system completely.
Standard and optional equipment
It is no exaggeration to say that everyone will find a Fiat 500 that meets his or her needs and tastes. Suffice it to say that there are over 500,000 ways of customising the car, thanks to the combination of 12 body colours, 4 specifications (Naked, Pop, Sport and Lounge), 3 different fabric or leather interiors (in a choice of 3 shades) and 9 types of wheel rims, (7 alloys), as well as 100 accessories created specifically for the model. A range where everyone will find their ideal car, equipping it with all the devices that are available on a car today. Including those that until a short time ago were reserved for cars in higher brackets.
The Naked version will not be sold in Italy, where the range will start from the Pop version, which envisages a very interesting array of equipment: two front airbags, two curtain-bags, two sidebags and one knee-bag, ABS complete with EBD, front headlights with DRL function (daytime lights), specific upholstery with a choice of Ivory or Black elements, Dualdrive electric power steering, black electric wing mirrors, height-adjustable steering wheel, centralised locking and electric windows, 175/65 R14” sheet metal wheels with integral wheel hubs. The 500 Pop specification is available with all three engines, but with the 100 bhp 1.4 16v the outfit includes the sophisticated ESP system and an instrument panel with sporty graphics.
For people who want the maximum in terms of content and customisation, there are the Lounge and Sport specifications, which add exclusive equipment to the generous outfit of the 500 Pop. Designed for a customer who demands aesthetic refinement, the Lounge version includes the Chrome kit which features elegant chrome-plated inserts in the seals of the side windows, on the exhaust terminal, on the trim of the inside door handle, the gear lever and the front and rear bumpers. On the outside, the new 500 Lounge features 185/55 R15” alloys, electric body-coloured wing mirrors and a fixed glass roof with sunshade. Inside, it features special fabrics, a leather-upholstered steering wheel with the controls of the Blue&Me system, manual climate control, a radio, CD and MP3 player, a height adjustable front seat, a 50/50 split rear seat with head-restraints, a key with customised remote control and an active handle on the tailgate.
And finally, the Sport specification addresses customers who prefer ‘stylish sportiness’ and appreciate a dedicated kit that includes sporty seats with special foam, a rear spoiler, interior upholstery in exclusive colours and fabrics, a chrome-plated exhaust terminal and chrome inserts in the door sills. The Fiat 500 Sport also offers 185/55 R15” sporty alloys, manual climate control, a sporty steering wheel in two colours with the controls for the Blue&Me system, a radio with CD and MP3 player, and electric wing mirrors painted the same colour as the bodywork.
The Sport and Lounge equipped with the 100 bhp 1.4 16v engine also offer the sophisticated ESP system as standard equipment and an instrument panel with sporty graphics.
And finally, the Fiat 500 can be equipped with some special devices from the Autonomy Programme, the initiative introduced by the company more than eleven years ago to develop services and vehicles that provide individual and collective transport for people with reduced motor capacities, in line with the latest product novelties, and to encourage the use of the car by the disabled.
An outfit by Guidosimplex developed specifically for the new car has an electronic ring accelerator under the steering wheel with a vertical service brake. And to make it easy to fit a wheelchair on the rear seat and make the driver completely autonomous, the driver’s seat can swivel 90°.
Last but not least, a large number of other devices will be on offer from the launch of the Fiat so that customers of the 500 will be able to order the car that meets their wishes and needs. The systems are easy to install and they fit perfectly into the passenger compartment without detracting from ergonomics, roominess, comfort or safety. They supplement the car’s standard controls so that this can still be driven by someone without motor difficulties. And they are easily dismantled, which means that the car can be sold either fully equipped or as a normal car. And there is a whole range of financial products reserved for disabled people.