The 500 gets a splash of visual goodies

The 500 has been a popular car for Fiat, even in the U.S., as it recalls the brands history while giving modern city dwellers something fun to drive. While our favorite 500 is unquestionably the 500 Abarth, Fiat has debuted an interesting new 500 at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

Called the 500S, the two-door, four-seater gets several updates, including a new seven-inch Uconnect infotainment screen (something sorely lacking before) and a new appearance package. The S trim level adds sportier bumpers with fog lights, side skirts long the door bottoms, and a rear spoiler. Trim-exclusive Satin Graphite paint graces the door handles, rear hatch, mirror caps, and wheels. Standard 15-inch alloy wheels and optional 16-inch rollers are new, along with their colors, while a chrome exhaust tip, “black grained” front air intake, and revised grille update the 500’s looks.

The most welcomed change, however, is on the dash. Gone is the outdated radio with its tiny alarm clock display, replaced with a seven-inch touch screen running a version of FCA’s Uconnect infotainment system.

Powering the 500S – at least in Europe – is the 1.3-liter MultiJet diesel making 95 horsepower. Then little four-cylinder can push the car to 62 mph in 10.7 seconds while only emitting 89 grams of C02 per kilometer.

What’s more, the 500S can be had in the cabriolet form as well. The convertible soft top simply power-folds along the roof line, down the C-pillars, and folds in the cargo area. Pricing for the Fiat 500S has not been announced, though Fiat is expected to make those numbers known closer to the 500S’ production launch in the fall.

Continue reading for the full review

  • 2017 Fiat 500S
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    five-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    95
  • MPG(Hwy):
    69 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
    148
  • Energy:
    turbodiesel
  • Displacement:
    1.3 L
  • 0-60 time:
    10.7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    112 mph
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; Front Drive
  • Price:
    20000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 Fiat 500S High Resolution Exterior
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The S trim brings a lightly updated look to the 500

The S trim brings a lightly updated look to the 500. Up front, a new bumper is found with integrated fog lights. The bumper’s larger lower lip matches the new rocker panel trim pieces along the doors, along with the updated rear bumper. As mentioned above, several key pieces are accented in Satin Graphite gray, regardless of body color. Speaking of that, the 500S is only offered in Metallic Azure or Alpine Green.

Along with color, customers can choose the standard 15-inch alloy wheels that come standard, or the optional 16-inch wheels. The 15s are coated in the same Satin Graphite paint, while the 16s feature what Fiat calls its matt diamond black treatment. Yet another noticeable feature is the squared-off exhaust pipe, reminding us of a micro USB port.

Besides those changes, the 500 retails its original looks – something that hasn’t changed since the car debuted in 2007.

Interior

2017 Fiat 500S High Resolution Interior
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The seven-inch infotainment screen is similar to that of the Fiat 500X crossover.

The 500S continues the updates found on the 2016 Fiat 500 that debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The biggest update is the driver controls. Both the gauge cluster and infotainment system are vastly improved from before. The gauge cluster is now a better iteration of a digital screen, with a lager center section featuring better graphics. The seven-inch infotainment screen is similar to that of the Fiat 500X crossover. It runs FCA’s Uconnect software and is entirely more user friendly than the previous radio head unit.

Changes to the 500S include dark interior materials with bright accents, in colors that include blue, white, and yellow. The optional seating includes Frau leather with either white or azure detailing. That same Satin Graphite color from outside makes its way inside, too, with details on the dashboard and steering.

Audiophiles can opt for the 440-watt sound system from Beats Audio. The system uses eight-channel amps, with two dome tweeters, two 165 mm midwoofers in the front doors, and two full-range 165 mm speakers in the rear side panels. The bass drops through a 200 mm subwoofer then the middle of the luggage compartment. Opting for this package does eliminate the spare tire.

Drivetrain

2017 Fiat 500S High Resolution Exterior
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Fiat 500S goes from 0 to 62 mph in 10.7 seconds with a top speed of 112 mph

Under the short hood is Fiat’s 1.3-liter MultiJet turbodiesel engine. The four-cylinder produces 95 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission sends power to the front wheels, allowing the car to hit 62 mph in 10.7 seconds with a top speed of 112 mph.

The engine meets only emits 89 grams of C02 every kilometer, exceeding the Euro 6 regulations. Furthermore, it consumes only 3.4 liter of diesel every 100 kilometers, or roughly 69 mpg. Impressive

Safety

The 500S comes with all the conventional safety equipment found on the standard 500, including 10 airbags, stability control, traction control, ABS, and of course seatbelts. Despite its small size, the 500 earned a four-star frontal crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with a five-star side impact rating and a four-star rollover rating. Those are impressive scores, to say the least.

Prices

Fiat has yet to release prices for the S trim, but we suspect it will only constitute a relatively minor jump in pricing. The 500’s base price starts at $16,995, with the range-topping Abarth costs $22,500. Obviously the 500S will fall within that range.

Competition

Mini Cooper Hardtop

2014 Mini Cooper High Resolution Exterior
- image 532565

The Mini Cooper has been a staple of compact cars for quite some time. And like the Fiat 500, the Mini is a modern take on an old car. The Mini is larger than the 500S and is better suited for those who enjoy driving. Its lower center of gravity, more power lineup of engines, and better-composed suspension lead to a more refined driver’s car. The base Mini Cooper comes powered by a 1.5-liter inline three-cylinder making 136 horsepower. Opting for the Mini Cooper S brings a 2.0-liter turbo making a respectable 192 horsepower. More comparable, however, is the Mini Cooper D. This 1.5-liter three-cylinder makes 116 horses and an impressive 199 pound-feet of torque.

Prices for the Mini Cooper start at $20,700 before options.

Read our full review on the Mini Cooper here.

Conclusion

2017 Fiat 500S High Resolution Exterior
- image 667889

The addition of the S trim on the Fiat 500 seems like a great way to add interest to the car. Sure, 2016 brought a welcomed refresh for the 500, but new trim offerings are great attractions for those seeking a stylish ride with pizzazz. Thankfully Fiat is offering the S trim on both the hardtop and cabriolet models.

This might not be the most comprehensive list of upgrades ever to debut at Geneva, but it goes a long way in helping the 500 succeed. It goes along with the old saying, “any publicity is good publicity.” And after all, you are reading this.

  • Leave it
    • * No word on other engine options
    • * Pricing still unknown

Press Release

The star of the stand will still be the New Fiat 500, created to face future market challenges while remaining true to its own deep roots. Developed by the Fiat Style Centre, the city car has a refreshed exterior and interior design, which is unmistakably 500 and even more attractive. It has not grown in size but it is packed with more technology, engine versions and customisation ideas: the icon has evolved and further refined the features that have turned it into a masterpiece.

2017 Fiat 500S High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 667887

The "S" trim level, the sportier version of the iconic Fiat car, will be given its world première in Geneva. The distinctive look of the 500S includes sportier bumpers, with integrated fog lights at the front, plus special side skirts and spoiler; exclusive "Satin Graphite" paint for the door handles and tailgate, mirror fairings and wheel rims; rear privacy glass, chrome exhaust tailpipe and "black grained" front air intakes, as well as a bold rear grille. Alloy 15" wheel rims with special "Satin Graphite" finish and 16" rims with matt diamond black treatment are also available upon request. The exclusive sportiness of the 500S is also reflected in the new body colours: Metallic Azure and matt Alpine Green, with dark interiors. The seductive appeal of the New 500S is enhanced by the black seats and roof lining that contrast with the door panels and seat edges, which are available in blue, white and yellow. The interior is available on request in Frau leather with white or azure details. In addition, embellishing the passenger compartment, are "Satin Graphite" details on the dashboard fascia and special sports steering wheel.

The dashboard incorporates a UconnectTM 7" HD LIVE touchscreen with tablet effect and HD display, the next frontier of infotainment, as standard equipment. This system implements a wide range of functions, including UconnectTM LIVE services as standard, Bluetooth hands-free system, voice recognition and plenty of music options in addition to FM/AM radio. The driver can connect their multimedia devices via USB or using the 3.5mm auxiliary jack, or stream music from a compatible smartphone using Bluetooth. In addition, the new UconnectTM 7 "HD LIVE is available on request with the integrated mirroring system for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital radio (DAB) and a 3D integrated TomTom navigation system.

The new Fiat 500S complements the 500 range with the latest audio experience from Beats by Dr. Dre, the system designed to revolutionise the way in which music can be heard inside the vehicle.

2017 Fiat 500S High Resolution Exterior
- image 667888

On request, the customer can equip their car with the exclusive BeatsAudioTM system developed in conjunction with Beats by Dr Dre. Specifically, the BeatsAudioTM system boasts a total output of 440 watts and features a digital 8-channel amplifier integrating an advanced equalisation algorithm, which can recreate the entire sound spectrum that an artist experiences during studio recording.

The Beats AudioTM sound system consists of 8-channel amplifiers with 440 watts of power; two dome tweeters installed in the front pillars; two 165 mm midwoofers in the front doors; two full-range 165 mm speakers in the rear side panels; and one 200 mm subwoofer in the centre of the luggage compartment, in the spare wheel compartment.
With the 7" TFT screen for the speedometer and driving instruments-standard on the new 500S-the car’s dashboard delivers a fully-digital driving experience that nevertheless retains the classic 500 instrument layout, complete with circular cluster and round buttons.

Visitors to the stand can admire a 500S 1.3 MultiJet 95 HP in all-new matt Alpine Green livery, with two-tone black/ivory leather interior. The power unit represents the best of today’s small diesel engineering technology: it emits only 89 grams of CO2 per kilometre and meets Euro 6 standards while guaranteeing outstanding performance. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes only 10.7 seconds and the top speed is 180 km/h. It is also fuel-efficient and eco-friendly: 3.4 litres of diesel are needed for 100 kilometres. Finally, a little record: the New 500 is the only car in its segment, together with Fiat Panda, to offer a diesel engine.

The second 500S is a convertible with interiors upholstered in a special black and white fabric. The central seat features a "Texfilm" application with "Sportball" graphics. The seat design is completed with a two-tone embroidered "500" logo in silver and the characteristic "S" motif with white side insert. The Fiat 500S Cabrio inherits all the winning features of the sedan, including compact external dimensions, best-in-class safety, habitability with four comfortable seats and excellent engines in terms of performance, fuel economy and respect for the environment. The silhouette is enhanced by an innovative sliding roof, a marvel of design in its own right.

2017 Fiat 500S High Resolution Exterior
- image 667889

The soft top of the Fiat 500S Cabrio stands out for its elegant, electrically controlled movement and its impressively finished and carefully selected technical features, from the glass rear window to the third brake light built into the soft top itself. Additionally, the Fiat 500S Cabrio retains the solid sides of the classic version and can therefore be enjoyed all year round.

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