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2008 Fiat 500 Convertible

Fiat has announced at the 500’s media introduction in Turin last week, that the company wants to make another versions for the newly launched 500. A convertible version will be the first to be unveiled in the Summer of 2008. Like the coupe, the convertible version will be limited to 500 units.

Even if Fiat hasn’t decided the final configuration of the 500 convertible, it is said that the company is considering a pillar-less version. Also Fiat may limit the weight increase and reduce investment costs by keeping the side pillars and cross members and offering only a canvas roof that opens.

But is for sure that the 500 Convertible will keep the trademark styling cues and will use a hood that maintains the cute, curvy profile.

Under the hood we will see the same engines used in the Coupe version: a 75 bhp 1.3 16v Multijet turbodiesel unit and two petrol engines, the 69 bhp 1.2 8v and the 100 bhp 1.4 16v, all of which will be available with five or six speed mechanical gearboxes.

Next to this three choices of engines, Fiat will also offer a new range, including a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol with upwards of 120bhp and a new 1.6-litre turbodiesel that will arrive in 2009. The engines will be available with both manual and automatic transmission.

Fiat 500 Convertible

The 500 Convertible will feature a complex electric folding metal roof. Being an exclusive two-seater, the new 500 Convertible will have room behind the cockpit for the folding roof and a useful luggage area. It will feature a metal-coloured dash with a large central speedo and leather trim on top-of-the-range models.

Like the newly launched 500, the Convertible will be offered with a large choices of colors and options. Sales will begin in 2008.


History


1957 Fiat 500

The 500 is a small economy-car produced by the Fiat company of Italy between 1957 and 1975 and when relaunched in 2007.

The car was a successor to the Topolino model. (Topolino means ’mouse’). The designer was named Dante Giacosa, an individual who would later become an automotive legend for his contributions to the industry.

Fiat 500 Convertible

Measuring less than 3 m (10 ft) long, and powered by a tiny 479 cc two-cylinder (economical and hard wearing, so long as you can resist the temptation to drive flat-out all the time), aircooled engine, the 500 redefined the term "microcar".With 13 horsepower the 500 never set any land speed records. It had a top speed of 85 km/h.

The Fiat 500 became an icon of the times, and it was a model with which Fiat completed a revival that had begun immediately after the Second World War.

In summer the huge fabric sunroof provides excellent ventilation and great views, if you dare to drive in winter then make sure the heating system is working - it relies on ’wafting’ cooling air from around the engine up the central floor-tunnel to vents in the dashboard.

From 1958 through 1960, Fiat offered a Sport version. These Sport versions offered a 21 horsepower engine, and a one piece roof. The standard 500 version had a fold-back sunroof.

In 1965, the 500F lost its suicide doors in favor of the more popular hinged doors. The horsepower rating was once again improved and now offered 19. The top speed was 95 km/h.

Fiat 500 Convertible

From 1969 through 1975, a Lux version was offered. This featured full carpeting and plastic revised dashboards.

In 1975 production of the Fiat 500 ended. 3.6 million examples had been produced during its life span.


Competitors


Mini Cooper Convertible

The 2007 Mini Mini Convertible has been launched at Geneva Motor Show. It is a new model that combines the distinctive pleasure of driving an open car with the unique enjoyment you can only feel at the wheel of a genuine MINI.

For the design features and proportions so characteristic of the MINI have been consistently carried over to the MINI Convertible: The steeply raked windscreen and the optimum seating position enjoyed by the driver ensure an unforgettable open-air experience also when driving with the roof down. So the new model version leaves no doubt that motoring pleasure is an outstanding factor on all four seats of this uniquely popular cult car.

Fiat 500 Convertible

With its roof down, this classy convertible really looks at its best. The waistline gradually rising to the rear gives the car a strong and distinctive profile further accentuated by the chrome strip continuing along the complete window line. The steeply raked windscreen, complete absence of a B-pillar, the rollbars made of extra-strong aluminum pipes behind the rear-seat backrest, as well as the compact, folding roof all bear testimony to the unique style of a classic convertible.

The new MINI Convertible is entering the market initially in the guise of the 115 hp MINI Cooper. The top-of-the-range MINI Cooper S Convertible will be following later. It reaches a top speed of 75 mph.

Nissan Micra C+C

The Nissan Micra C+C was designed, engineered and built in the UK. The Micra C+C allows owners the best of both worlds: fresh air when the weather allows and coupe protection when it’s inclement.

The Micra C+C is available with either the recently enhanced 65kW
(88hp) 1.4-litre petrol engine or a 1.6-litre 16 valve petrol engine (110hp).

Fiat 500 Convertible

The new engine is Nissan’s new light-weight, low friction, 1.6-litre
twin cam as first seen in the Micra 160SR. Developing 81kW
(110hp) and 153Nm of torque, the all-aluminium design is notably
lighter than similar capacity units from rival manufacturers and is
some 25kg lighter than Nissan’s existing QG 1.6 engine, as used in
the Primera.

The Micra C+C remains resolutely practical, enjoying class leading luggage space. With the roof lowered the boot area provides 221 litres of stowage space, which rises to an impressive 426 litres when it is in place.

Volkswagen Beetle

The New Beetle convertible have always been real head-turner, whether they were seen as hardtop or convertible - top up or down. The 2007 Beetle is more eye-catching than ever, in vibrant new hues.

The 2007 New Beetle convertible is offered with the advanced Volkswagen 2.5-liter, in-line, five-cylinder gasoline engine. The 2.5 L engine delivers 150 horsepower at 5,000 revolutions per minute and 170 lbs.-ft. of torque at 3,750 rpm.With four valves per cylinder, aluminum alloy cross flow heads and double overhead camshafts, the engine is strong, quiet, and efficient. Hydraulic lifters are maintenance-free. Digital electronic ignition and Motronic sequential multi-point fuel injection help allow the engine to operate on regular unleaded gasoline.Power is delivered to the front wheels using one of two transmissions.

Fiat 500 Convertible

A five-speed manual transmission operates smoothly with a hydraulic clutch. An available six-speed transmission with Tiptronic allows for both automatic and driver-selected gear changes using the gear selector.

The 2007 New Beetle convertible with automatic transmission achieve an EPA-estimated fuel efficiency of up to 32 miles per gallon in highway driving and 23 mpg in city driving. With a manual transmission, the EPA estimates are 31 mpg highway and 22 on the city cycle.



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