Since its revival in 2007, the Fiat 500 has yet to receive a comprehensive styling update. Sure, the Italians launched the half-convertible version known as the 500C, the performance Abarth model, and even an electric version, but, eight years later, mostly all body panels are the same. That’s about to change with the arrival of the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, where Fiat should unveil the facelifted 500 our paparazzi just caught resting in a parking lot.

Before you get too excited, let me point out that this facelift is not as revolutionary as it sounds. Fiat may change a few things inside and out, but not to the extent that the 2016 500 will be perceived as an all-new car. The neo-retro design and most of the styling cues that made the Nuova 500 famous are here to say, despite the nips and tucks.

Last time we saw the 2016 500 testing in the wild, the hatch was only wearing camouflage to its front and rear fascias, suggesting those were the areas Fiat had focused on. These new spy shots, on the other hand, depict a completely camouflaged car, a hint that the update may include a lot more new details. We’ll probably find out more at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but until the German event begins, let’s have a look at what we already know about the upcoming 500.

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2016 Fiat 500 - Spy Shots

Facelifted Fiat 500 Parked In A Garage: Spy Shots High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
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Facelifted Fiat 500 Parked In A Garage: Spy Shots High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
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Facelifted Fiat 500 Parked In A Garage: Spy Shots Interior Spyshots
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Although these photos are far from revealing at first glance, a closer look at the front fascia reveals a larger pair of grilles above and below the license plates. Both pieces are longer that before, suggesting Fiat is gunning for a more aggressive appearance.

Though not visible here, the headlamps should be slightly larger and employ an oval shape, similar to what Fiat has created for the 500X crossover.

Though not visible here, the headlamps should be slightly larger and employ an oval shape, similar to what Fiat has created for the 500X crossover. The turn signals, on the other hand, are likely to be smaller, while the fog lamps should sit further apart to accommodate the longer bumper grille.

The rear bumper not only seems beefier and better defined in relation to the trunk lid, but it also includes a pair of lights near the bottom. While the taillights are somewhat similar in shape and size, the areas that are free of camo hint at a redesigned cluster. There’s no visual clue as to how Fiat altered the 500’s profile, but I expect a similar waistline and a nearly identical shape for the roof.

Judging by the amount of black cloth covering the car’s interior, I’d be tempted to say Fiat has designed a new dashboard for this tiny little car. I’d be wrong though, as changes will likely be limited to a new button layout, revised trims, and minor changes to the instrument cluster, steering wheel, and center stack. Updated tech is also on the table. In all, Fiat wants a fresh 500 that would remain appealing to those who fancy the original 500.

Why it matters

Eight full years on the market without a significant facelift is quite a lot today, but I can’t blame Fiat for sticking to the original recipe. The 500 is more than a vehicle built to take you from A to B. Much like the Mini Cooper, it’s a lifestyle. It must be up to date, but tied strongly to the original car that started this whole thing. And judging by these spy shots, it seems Fiat is doing the right thing. Hopefully, the Italian brand won’t take Mini’s route and update the 500 into a significantly larger vehicle. And I do hope the Italians don’t get any bright ideas and butcher this icon into a four-door.

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