Speed and power was never the calling card of this cute, little Italian import we’ve come to love as the Fiat 500. Despite not having the trademark Italian machismo than it’s more powerful compatriot – hello, Ferrari – is known for, the Fiat 500 is special for a very different reason. It’s cute, it’s affordable, and it’s a lot of fun to drive. Safe to say, it’s three of the most important things that people look for in a car. And if you’ve ever wondered how popular the little hatch is, look no further than the 60 plus awards it has bagged, including the 2008 European Car of the Year and the 2009 World Car Design of the Year.
And now that Fiat has a stake in Chrysler, it would have been a crime if SEMA came along and the Fiat 500 wasn’t there to introduce itself to the land of Ford and the home of Chevrolet. Fortunately, the neckties over at Chrysler thought of the same idea and, together with Mopar Underground, have decided to give the 500 a nice dress up for its introduction to the American market.
Continued after the jump.
INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR
If we’re going to give some props now, we’re giving it in the direction of Mopar Underground. These guys certainly did their homework. When you’re tasked to build up a car that’s only in the stages of introducing itself to America, the pressure intensifies significantly. Fortunately, the Mopar team was up to the challenge, dressing up the 500 with an array of features that gave new definition to the term ‘hot hatch’.
Among the new items they gave the 500 include a front airdam/lip, a spoiler, a rear valance, lower sill, brake ducts, new side skirts, and race-inspired flared wheel arches. The boys at Mopar also lowered the ride height of the 500 before adding 18-inch Alcoa wheels shod in Pirelli tires to give the car a meaner and more aggressive look.
The interior of the car is still not available for viewing – they’re waiting for SEMA to show that – but from what we’ve gathered, it looks like there’s enough red on the insides to make it look like Valentines Day. The red seats and red door inserts are complemented by black accents, including the piano black finish on the car’s instrument panel.
Speaking of performance, Mopar Underground put in a checklist of parts that effectively gives the Fiat 500 a package worth it’s sporty tag. Mopar gave it a new exhaust system that boosts up the car’s horsepower and torque figures, as well as a strut tower brace that should improve the hot hatch’s handling and driveability.
Pricing for this Mopar-tuned Fiat 500 has yet to be announced, but you can be sure that this car, together with an armada of 500s with different trims – the Sport, Lounge, and Pop variants – is coming to Stateside next year. If you’re thinking of getting one, why not shoot for the stars and get one that’s got Mopar Underground’s imprint all over it?
In a market that’s slowly falling in love with hot hatches, the Fiat 500 is entering a market that’s as competitive as it’s ever been. And while the choices are as abundant as a three-island buffet line, the 500’s appeal as an international bestseller, coupled with the warehouse full of awards it has received, should make it a formidable option in the ever-growing segment of hot hatchbacks in America.