Fiat is at it yet again. Just a few weeks ago, we complained about the fact that Fiat keeps on reusing the “500” name in the U.S., and once again we are apparently in for more 500s. Just like government documents spoiled the surprise that Fiat’s subsidiary company, Chrysler, was planning a revival of the Barracuda nameplate, government documents are now spoiling the fun for Fiat itself.
Documents leaked from the NHTSA and CARB are showing two models under the 500 umbrella that currently do not exist. One of those vehicles is the 500T, and “T” in this instance obviously means turbocharged. The other, and less newsworthy, is a 500 Abarth Convertible.
For those that know Fiats, you are likely wondering what’s going on, as there is already a turbocharged 500, it’s the 500 Abarth, which has a 160-horsepower Multi-Air 1.4-liter engine. What all of us experts – or so we like to call ourselves – agree upon is that this new 500T will likely feature a slightly detuned version of the Abarth’s 1.4-liter engine, ranging somewhere in the 130 to 140 horsepower range.
What Fiat would be doing with this is trying to target buyers that want a higher performance 500, but don’t want to fork out the $22,000 that it costs to get into an Abarth. If the 500T hits 130 horsepower, that would be 29 horsepower greater than the standard engine and likely enough to satisfy the hunger for a little more performance.
Using reasonable estimations, we would assume that the Fiat 500T would have an MSRP in the $20,000 range, as to keep it less than the Abarth, but slightly more than the 500 Lounge (the top trim level before the Abarth). That would position it just under the base MINI Cooper ($20,200) and well below the MINI Cooper S ($23,800).
Given these two models pan out, and the 500X that Fiat teased us with earlier comes to be, this would put the 500 at a whopping seven models. It’s starting to get a little ridiculous, Fiat.
Italian automaker Fiat is tapping into its Chrysler ties by having the latter’s in-house aftermarket division, Mopar, partner with Italian parts supplier Magneti Marelli to develop and produce a line-up of Fiat 500 Abarth models.
The first of these special edition vehicles made its debut in Las Vegas and has been christened as the 500 Abarth Venom. A host of modifications were added to the 500 Abarth to give it that special edition feel, including carbon fiber components on the hood and side mirror housings and a large matte-black Scorpion graphic on the roof. The inclusion of the former also allows the little compact car to cut its weight by 200 lbs, which would serve it well when combined with a performance modification.
On that note, Mopar reprogrammed the car’s ECU unit while also adding a sport exhaust system that allows the 500 Abarth Venom to increase the output on the car’s 1.4-liter turbocharged engine from the standard 160 horsepower to 200 horsepower.
The ironic thing about this model and where it made its debut in Las Vegas - by the way, supermodel Catrinel Menghia was on-hand for its unveiling - is that the car won’t be available in the US.
UPDATE 04/10/2012: The Fiat 500 Abarth by Mopar was on hand at the 2012 New York Auto Show. Check out our live images in the gallery provided!
If there was ever a point when milking a car for all its worth becomes a tad too much, Fiat may have just crossed that line with the 500 hatchback. Now, it’s completely understandable to produce special variations of certain cars; everyone is doing it and will continue to do it in the future.
Unfortunately, we have a car like the Geneva-bound Fiat 500 America, which is a cutesy 500 with some unique details, including a metallic shade America Blue exterior paint finish, a dedicated beltline, mirror covers with the "Stars & Stripes" graphic, a red cap edge, badges on the door pillar, and a new set of 16" alloy wheels.
All these details sound cool, except that we’ve actually seen something like it in the Fiat 500 Nation Limited Edition, right down to the "Stars & Stripes" graphic. Seems like this Fiat is a renamed model of a pretty similar special edition model. Confused already?
In any case, the Italian automaker will be building 500 three-door versions of this model to go with 500 cabriolet versions.
Fiat is promoting their new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth with a scorpion hunt/giveaway. Find eight Scorpion (symbol of Abarth) scattered around the web and you will enter to win one for yourself!
To show your investigative skills, you need to go to the Abarth Facebook giveaway page, and you will be provided with clues to find your lethal friends. The clues are tough to crack, but if you read this, you are in luck because TopSpeed is giving away one of the 8 scorpions. Check out our homepage and you should be able to grab that one easily. Be fast or they will be gone by March 4th 2012.
Happy scorpion hunting !
Update: Some of you asked us why they could not see the scorpion on our homepage. The Abarth scorpions are only showing their menacing logo if you are connected to internet from the USA.
If you are using ad blocker, you will need to disable those to see the scorpion. Here is a link to how it should look like
Fiat is adding a new special edition to its 500 line-up. Called 500 ID the new version will only be offered to the German customers and will be limited to only 500 units. Prices will start at €13,500 (or about $17,600 at the current change rates).
The new 500 ID will be offered in two-tone exterior color theme combined with matching interior items. For the exterior customers can choose between three exterior combinations: white and red exterior with ivory and red interior, white and light blue exterior with ivory and blue interior, and light grey and gunmetal grey exterior with ivory and grey interior.
The model will be offered with a 1.2-liter petrol engine that delivers a total of 69 HP and sits on a new set of 15" alloy wheels. The list of standard equipment will include: air conditioning, leather steering wheel, a chrome kit, and Bluetooth-controlled hands-free Blue & Me with USB port.
There doesn’t appear to be a sports compact car that’s been the subject of more tuning programs than the lovable Fiat 500. Now, Chrysler’s in-house tuning arm, Mopar, is joining in the fun with the 500 "Stinger."
Built as one of Mopar’s 75th anniversary models, the Fiat 500 Stinger comes to the party packed with a two-stage Mopar program that combines a unique styling upheaval with a bold, high-performance engine modification.
The Stage 1 program deals with plenty of exterior and interior enhancements. For the former, Mopar gave the 500 Stinger a more aggressive appearance, highlighted by a special "Giallo" exterior paint with a matching "whiskers and logo" face and circular Black Chrome projector headlamps. In addition, the head and tail lamps have been tinted while the bodyside was wrapped in vinyl with complimenting black checker roof graphics. Finishing off the exterior details are a new set of 17" Abarth Hyper Black aluminum wheels wrapped in wider 205/40 R 17 performance tires.
As for the latter, the interior of the 500 Stinger continues the Giallo-and-black two-tone treatment of the exterior with Katzkin leather seats. Speaking of the seats, Mopar also added Alcantara seat centers with Giallo black leather bolsters and Giallo accent stitching. A carbon-fiber instrument panel decal has also been added, as was a Mopar shifter ball finished in Gloss Black, completing an interior look that’s a far departure from the usually mild-mannered 500.
While no specific numbers were given on the 500 Stinger’s performance boost, we know that Mopar’s Stage 2 kit ensures all that and more. Included in this program kit are a cold-air intake and free-flowing cat-back exhaust and performance brakes with cross-drilled rotors, allowing the 500 Stinger to deliver even more power and torque, as well as serious track-ready brake performance.
Just like the rest of Mopar’s 75th Anniversary models, the 500 Stinger will be proudly displayed at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show this coming February.
The new generation Fiat Panda made its world debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and, just like the previous generation, a 4x4 version is scheduled to follow. The first spy shots have captured the car testing in winter conditions and considering it will be similar to the standard version, expect to see it launched by the end of the year.
The upcoming Panda 4x4 is the perfect alternative for those who want to combine the affordability of a city car with the pleasure of driving a 4x4 model. Compared to the standard Panda, the 4x4 version will sit higher off the ground and will be offered with a different suspension and bigger wheels. For the exterior, the model will get plastic elements at all the corners, but that is where the differences will end for the standard and 4X4 Pandas models.
Just like with the standard version, the future Panda 4x4 will be offered with two TwinAir twin cylinder engines: the 2011 International Engine of the Year 85bhp TwinAir Turbo, or the brand new 65bhp naturally aspirated TwinAir. Both engines are equipped with Start and Stop as standard and a 4x4 system.
Following the 500 (Cinquecento) and the 500 Cabrio, Fiat has also brought the 500 Abarth - otherwise known as the most powerful 500 currently available - to the American market. The American 500 Abarth made its debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. It brings world-class performance and precision, purposeful and aggressive styling, and high power-to-weight ratio. The model will be offered in a limited edition.
The new Fiat 500 Abarth still maintains all of the elements from its European version, designed for track-day enthusiasts and driving-purists who want the ultimate high-performance small car with the pedigree of an exclusive Italian exotic. It is powered by a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine that delivers a total of 135 HP and a peak torque of 152 lb-ft of torque. The list of standard equipment includes an Abarth-tuned suspension and brake system, a race-inspired design, and technology features not traditionally included on a small car.
"Bringing the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth to the U.S. enables us to reach out to driving enthusiasts who want Italian performance at an attainable price," said Olivier Francois, Head of FIAT Brand and Chief Marketing Officer — Chrysler Group LLC. "With its lightweight, track-tuned handling and purpose-built design, the Fiat 500 Abarth brings to life the legendary racing heritage of the brand and becomes the Italian high-performance car for everyday driving."
UPDATE 12/06/2011: Before its official market launch, the new 500 Abarth made its first stop at Jay Leno’s Garage. Find out what he thinks about the car by watching the video after the jump!
UPDATE 01/12/2012: Chrysler has announced prices for the American version of the Fiat 500 Abarth. The model will go on sale at a starting price of $22,000 (not including destination).
UPDATE 05/02/12: Romanian model Catrinel Menghia is back, only this time, it’s three times bigger, better, and hotter than before. Fresh off of the success of their Super Bowl collaboration, Menghia and Fiat have returned with three new commercials featuring the smoking hot super model and the equally lovely Italian hatch. Check out the ads and enjoy them!
Now that Alfa Romeo is set to return to North American after a lengthy absence, Fiat is looking at a number of measures on how it plans to return to the US and Canada with a bang as well.
One option that the Italian automaker is planning on pursuing is building a ’more affordable’ sports car to compliment the Alfa Romeo 4C soon after the latter is released in 2013. Word is that this affordable sports car will be built as an Abarth, one that is being pegged to take on a market heavyweight like the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Easier as that is said than it is done, Fiat understands that the Alfa Romeo 4C might not be up to the budget of a lot of American consumers, especially considering that the car is already being touted as a possible rival to a couple of Porsche sports cars: the Cayman and the Boxster.
Should Fiat push forward and build a front-wheel drive sports car under Abarth, we expect it to carry an output of somewhere around 200 horsepower, possibly even going up north to 250. No details have been made as far as what the car is going to look like, but we’d love it if the Italian automaker brushes off an old Abarth classic - the 1968 Scorpione - and build a modern-day take on what we consider one of the sexiest sports cars of the 60’s. That or they could just make some modifications on the Abarth Scorp-Ion Concept that we saw earlier this year.
The Fiat line-up that’s headed to the 2011 Bologna Motor Show will also include a special edition 500 model that has been designed to commemorate the car’s introduction to the US market.
The special edition Fiat 500 model is called the "Nation Limited Edition" and it will come in hard-top and cabrio trims. As far as the former is concerned, Fiat dressed it up in an "America Blue" exterior paint finish and it comes with a bevy of unique trims, including a "Stars & Stripes" package on the sides and on the mirror casings, and a new set of 16" alloy wheels.
Meanwhile, the 500C version will come in a "Tri-Coat White" exterior paint finish and will also feature the same "Stars & Stripes" package on the sides and the mirror casings, as well as a new set of 16" alloy wheels. A different wrinkle on the 500C is the red soft-top roof, further enhancing the color scheme of the car as a celebration of our beloved land.
Powertrain figures for both the 500 and 500C remains the same - a 1.4-liter, in-line four-cylinder engine with state-of-the-art MultiAir technology that delivers 101 horsepower and 98 lb/ft of torque - although customers who opt for the 500C will have to shell out more money to be able to buy one.
Both models will be limited to 500 units apiece with the hard-top version coming with a price tag of €14,500, which is about $19,500 based on current exchange rates. As for the 500C, that one will cost you €18,000, which when converted, hits $24,200.