2015 Fiat 500 1957 Edition Cabrio
It may be an economy car first and foremost, but the Fiat 500 is still driven by style. I can’t get enough of it. The modern version uses those retro looks and cheerful attitude of the classic Cinquecento to elevate frugal motoring to a decidedly fancy place. Fiat provides a good reminder that you don’t have to spend $50,000 to get a fun car that reflects your personality these days.
In 2014, Fiat augmented that bottom line with the 1957 Edition, which dressed up the 500 with even more of the classic style of the original. Even better! If you’re going retro, go all the way, hubcaps and all! And you’ll never catch me complaining about body-colored wheels, though I’m sure some aftermarket company will find a way to make me eat those words. The popular limited-edition “1957” is back for 2015, and this time it’s available as a ragtop. An open-air version of the adorable little Italian seems like a natural step.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Fiat 500 1957 Edition Cabrio.
2015 Fiat 500 1957 Edition Cabrio
0-60 time:10 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:125 mph (Est.)
The diminutive Fiat 500 is defined by its short and tall dimensions. It’s the stubbiest car this side of aSmart fortwo, but it wears the look well, with a character crease bisecting the fat body, round headlights and a neat little chrome moustache. Saying that I like it is probably redundant, since I’m a fan of small, weird-looking cars. But the strong sales of the 500 suggest that I’m not the only one who appreciates this car’s flair.
Saying that I like it is probably redundant, since I’m a fan of small, weird-looking cars.
Short overhangs and a slope that’s similar front and rear complete the basic look. But seriously, the Fiat 500 doesn’t have a “basic look.” There’s a bit of character in every curve of its sheetmetal. The 500 Cabriolet is a subtle ragtop, with the side rails intact and a canvas center section that folds down to a visible stack at the rear. The result is an open-air experience without any cowl shake or wind buffeting at speed (as if you’d get much cowl shake from a gumdrop in any case).
The 1957 Edition takes things even further, with classic-style Fiat badging, contrasting-color mirror caps and body-color and chrome-accented wheels that mimic the partial hubcaps of the original. I like to think Audrey Hepburn would approve and have one to match each of several outfits. ("Why-y yes, i-it’s cute as a bu-ug’s eah!") Fiat’s broad color palette would encourage this, and the 1957 Edition sports three unique, very ’50s colors: white, pale green, or pale blue.
|Wheelbase||90.6 Inches (2,300 MM)|
|Track, Front||55.4 Inches (1,406.8 MM)|
|Track, Rear||55.0 Inches (1,397.0 MM)|
|Overall Length||139.6 Inches (3,546.7 MM)|
|Overall Width||64.1 Inches (1,627.0 MM)|
|Overall Height||59.8 Inches (1,519 MM)|
Note: Fiat 500 Edition 1957 automatic transmission interior pictured.
On the inside, the Fiat’s good looks continue. This car may be small, but it doesn’t feel like an entry-level vehicle by any stretch. Body-color trim on the dash and doors brings the outside inside, and the instrument panel’s cream-colored backing offers some added visual flair. Can you get four passengers inside? Why, yes, you can. Can you blast your eardrums out with a 276-watt premium sound system? Of course! The 1957 Edition sports elegantly styled brown-and-ivory leather upholstery and interior appointments.
Motivation for the Fiat 500 comes from the 1.4 liter MultiAir four-cylinder that sees duty in the standard Fiat 500. It’s producing just 101 horsepower. I try not to get hung up on horsepower numbers; what matters is how the car feels on the road, and the flyweight 500 accelerates like it should. It’s enthusiastic and responsive in the way that a good lightweight economy car should be, but it’s also obviously not a sports car.
It’s enthusiastic and responsive in the way that a good lightweight economy car should be, but it's also obviously not a sports car.
The best adjective I can find for this car’s performance is “cheerful,” and that is definitely influenced by the 1957 Edition’s funky style. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, with a six-speed automatic available. The manual has a crunchy feel, as if it’s trying to remind drivers that this is an economy car at heart. The 31/40 fuel economy is unaffected by the 1957 Edition, so you can have your stylish Italian subcompact and save gas too.
It’s hard not to be nimble with barely 2,500 pounds to toss around. The suspension uses MacPherson struts up front and a twist beam at the rear and is responsive and communicative, but really Fiat probably could have stuffed the crude rear trailing arms from the original car under there and it would still be a good time. Of course, you wouldn’t get the stability control or anti-lock brakes, so I’m not complaining, just observing that the bar is comfortably low when your competition includes cars like the Mitsubishi Mirage and Toyota Yaris.
Actually, though neither company likes to admit it, the Mini Cooper is also a competitor to the Fiat, and it absolutely blows the 500 away in terms of handling, but that’s a different matter entirely. The 1957 Edition has a tweaked suspension for a slightly sportier ride, and the wheels are 16-inchers. The suspension change is minimal, and for the most part the 1957 Edition drives just like the regular model.
|Type and Description||Inline four-cylinder, liquid-cooled|
|Displacement||83.48 cu. in. (1,368 cu. cm)|
|Bore x Stroke||2.83 x 3.31 (72.0 x 84.0)|
|Valve System||Belt-driven, MultiAir, SOHC, 16 valves, hydraulic end-pivot roller rockers|
|Fuel Injection||Sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless|
|Construction||Cast iron block with aluminum-alloy heads and aluminum-alloy bedplate|
|Power (SAE net)||101 HP @ 6,500 RPM|
|Torque (SAE net)||97 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM|
|Max. Engine Speed||6,900 rpm (electronically limited)|
The Fiat 500 1957 Edition Cabrio starts at $24,700, a premium of $1900 over the 500c Lounge model.
As the other stylish and retro European premium subcompact on the market, the Mini gets compared to the Fiat 500 quite frequently. The box-like styling hides a serious sporty car, even in base form. Mini’s got a special flavor of lightheartedness, with go-kart handling and a number of performance hop-ups available from the factory. A massive color palette and customizable roof and mirror-cap coloration ensures that almost no Mini looks quite the same as another.
Read our full review here.
The fortwo appeals to a much narrower market than the Fiat 500, but makes no less of a fashion statement. And yes, it can keep up with traffic on the freeway just fine, thank you. It’s got a polarizing, bug-like design, an equally polarizing dual-clutch transmission and lacks a back seat, but this car is committed to shouting your personal style as loudly as possible. A number of special editions and personalization features make the fortwo a decent fashion accessory as well.
Read our full review here.
Cars have always been about style, but the Fiat 500 has succeeded in making them just as much about your personal fashion. The 1957 Edition takes the car’s retro styling to the next level. This is already a distinctive ride, and with classic-accented styling it’s positively irresistible.