2018 Fiat 124 Spider S-Design
Revived in 2016, 50 years after its iconic predecessor first hit the streets, the Fiat 124 Spider was the first compact to challenge the popular Mazda MX-5 Miata after many years. Ironically, the Italian roadster sits on the same underpinnings as the Miata, as Mazda and FCA co-developed most of the chassis. But the 124 Spider received its very own styling — some say that it looks more elegant than the Miata — and borrowed its engines from other Fiat models. And unlike the Mazda, it uses turbocharged units too. With less than two years on the market, the 124 Spider lineup has already expanded to include various trims, an Abarth model, and even a racing version. At the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, Fiat launched yet another variant, the 124 Spider S-Design.
If you’re tempted to think about Audi S-Line models, you’re not doing it wrong. The S-Design package is somewhat similar, adding extra features inside and out. The exterior is slightly sportier and boasts an exclusive set of wheels, while the cabin gets extra standard equipment that enhances luxury and comfort. Was another package necessary with so many trims and special-edition versions already available? Not exactly, but this is what keeps the market going and the customers coming into dealerships. Let’s find out more about the S-Design upgrade below.
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2018 Fiat 500 Abarth
Without a doubt, the Fiat 500 is an absolutely iconic automobile. First rolling off the production line way back in 1957, this tiny little go-getter found owners across Italy, eventually selling nearly 4 million units by the time it was discontinued in 1975. In 2007, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reintroduced the nameplate as a modern front-engine, FWD city car, infusing it with as much charm and fun as possible in an attempt to rekindle the old Cinquecento flame. Although bigger and heavier than those first 500’s, the new model managed to offer some real smiles behind the wheel, especially with the go-faster Abarth versions. Taking cues from the old school sport models, the new 500 Abarth gets more power, firmer suspension, and nippier steering, not to mention every aesthetic performance nod possible in such a small package. Fast forward to today, and the entire Fiat 500 lineup was upgraded for the 2018 model year with a turbo engine and a new look, but the fastest and most aggressive of the bunch remains the Abarth model. Upgrades over the normal 500 once again include all the right stuff – big wheels, big brakes, hard suspension, and more power, not to mention the requisite go-faster stripes in the flanks.
All told, the Fiat 500 remains a quirky and fun little city car with a decent splash of performance, a modern take on a classic micro machine. However, with so many other killer hot hatches on the market, such as the Ford Fiesta ST and Mini Cooper S, can the 500 Abarth keep pace, or has the scorpion lost some of its sting?
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Fiat Bringing Abarth 124 GT with a Carbon Fiber Roof to Geneva
Fiat is bringing the Abarth 124 GT to the Geneva Motor Show with something no other roadster on the market has: a carbon fiber rooftop. The new special edition model will grace Geneva with a style upgrade we rarely see from a sports car in this segment. It’s got plenty of exclusive features beyond the carbon fiber rooftop; all adopted to make this particular version of the Abarth 124 GT stand out from the rest of its kind.
2017 Abarth 695 Rivale
The Abarth 500 has been on the receiving end of some interesting special edition models in the past. We’ve seen the Abarth 695 Biposto Record, the 595 Yamaha Factory Racing Edition, and the 500 Track Experience, among others. None of them, though, can lay claim to the title of being the “most sophisticated Abarth ever.” That distinction, according to Abarth itself, now rests on the shoulders of the 695 Rivale Special Edition.
Developed specifically to celebrate the company’s close ties to yacht maker Riva, the 695 Rivale is the physical embodiment of the premium luxury that goes into the craft of building those sea vessels. Safe to say, that “most sophisticated Abarth ever” title fits the 695 Rivale. It’s inundated with aesthetic features that shine a big spotlight on the nautical theme of the compact car. Inside and out, the 695 Rivale is decked to the brim with luxury, the kind you expect from any one of the yachts that Riva has built in its 175-year history. The special edition Abarth 695 doesn’t pack any power or performance upgrades, but that’s an inconsequential omission when you compare it to the quantity and quality of cosmetic additions given to the hot hatch. There’s no word yet on how many models Abarth plans to build of the 695 Rivale, but another special edition model, the Abarth 695 Rivale 175th Anniversary, is limited to just 350 units, divided into 175 units for the coupe model and another 175 for the cabriolet version.
Update 02/21/2018: Our friend Cyril stopped by a showroom in Paris and snapped a few shots of the Abarth 695 Rivale. Check them out in the gallery below!
2018 Fiat 500
One of Fiat’s most iconic nameplates, the 500 was originally introduced in 1957 and kept in production for almost two decades, until 1975. The nameplate was revived in 2007 as a neo-retro design based on the first mini car. It was Fiat’s answer to the modern Volkswagen Beetle and Mini Cooper, introduced in 1997 and 2000, respectively. The new 500 was received with great enthusiasm, and the addition of convertible and Abarth models made it that much more popular. However, unlike the Mini Cooper, the 500 soldiered on unchanged for years, with its first update launched in 2015. Three years have passed, and Fiat is again updating the small hatchback.
Unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show alongside the rest of Fiat’s North American lineup, the update is far from spectacular, but it does add a few new features to the 500’s cute exterior. The interior carries over unchanged, which is somewhat disappointing, but the drivetrain department has a new engine to brag about. It’s not as new as it is rehashed from an old model, but it’s significantly more powerful than the outgoing unit. More about that in the review below.
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If The US-Spec Fiat 500 Received an Updated Styling, Why Does it Still Look the Same?
The updated Fiat 500 has been revealed at the Chicago Auto Show, and as far as revelations go, it didn’t really reveal anything of importance other than the hatch getting a standard 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. The new 500 also received what Fiat described as a “sportier appearance.” That would’ve been great, except that, by and large, the 500 still looks the same.
The Chicago-Bound Fiat 500 Is Really Old, Including the "New" Turbo Engine
The Fiat 500 may have received a turbocharged engine at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, but it’s not something you should get excited about. The force-fed 1.4-liter four-cylinder is actually at least five years old and its introduction is more of a return to the market. The engine was first offered in the 500 Turbo model in North America in 2013 and remained into production until 2016. It was rated at 135 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, only two pound-feet short of the "new" engine. A similar unit, but with the full 152 pound-feet, was previously offered on Euro-spec Abarth models.
Fiat Adds Turbo Fun Across The 500 Lineup At Chicago Auto Show
When the Fiat 500 was first introduced way back in 1957, it was offered as a zippy little runabout that could tackle the pressures of city driving in style. While not necessarily fast, the 500 was considered quick enough, and it offered the diminutive exterior dimensions desired for urban living. Since then, the 500 has changed. It’s bigger now, and the name has been applied to other segments as well, with both a tall-riding crossover and all-electric iterations making their debut over the years. Unfortunately, as we all know, these segments aren’t necessarily bywords for fun, and the world’s standard for “quick enough” has moved on. Now, though, it looks like the Italian icon is getting a little closer to its fun-to-dirve roots thanks to a solid dose of turbocharging under the hood.
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First Ever Zero Star Rating on the Euro NCAP? Don’t Put Your Kids in a Fiat Punto
It’s rare for a car to be so bad at the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) that it scores zero stars in the crash tests. It has actually never happened in the 20 years NCAP has been crashing cars. History has arrived, though, in the form of the Fiat Punto. The aging hatchback doesn’t have many distinguishing traits about it, but from this day forth, it will now live in infamy as the first and only car to ever get a goose egg in the European crash tests.
2017 Fiat 500C - Driven
Dated and diminutive it may be, but the Fiat 500 remains a frugal and fun — and tiny — car. Adding a canvas top to the pint-size Cinquecento just increases the smiles-per-gallon it generates.
As a cheap-and-cheerful commuter, the Fiat 500 has long been a favorite of mine for its European style and driving characteristics. Among cars in its price range, the little Italian remains near the top of my fun-to-drive list. The Fiat 500C has even more charm thanks to its fully retractable roof.
For 2017, Fiat simplified the 500 lineup to just three trims: base-level Pop, leather-trimmed Lounge, and sporty Abarth. All are available with the “C” designation, which stands for “Cabrio.” In prior years, there were twice as many trims available. Most of the equipment from those additional trims is still available in the options list.
2017 Fiat 500L City Cross Edition
The Fiat 500L is effectively an oversized version of the 500 hatchback so, in essence, its identity is tied to the 500 name. Don’t mistake the 500L though for not having its own appeal because it has that in abundance, or at least enough to have become the subject of a string of special edition models over the years. Harken back to versions like the Beats Edition, the Urbana Trekking, and the Panoramic Edition, and you’ll see what’s up with the 500. Today, a new special edition version is added to the list. It’s called the City Cross Edition, and as the name suggests, it’s coming to the party with a host of rugged features.
There’s a lot to like with the Fiat 500L City Cross Edition. Apart from receiving new exterior bits and pieces, it also carries an exclusive paint color, upgrades to the interior, and a set of new wheels that can be availed in as many as nine different color options. There are no engine upgrades to speak of so don’t even bother looking for one. If that isn’t a problem, the 500L City Cross Edition holds a lot of appeal, especially to those who want to see more personality out of the high-riding 500 SUV. At least then, in that regard, Fiat did its work on this new special edition. It may not be the flashiest SE we’ve seen out of the 500, but it’s certainly bubbling with identity. That should be more than enough for a lot of people.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Fiat 500L City Cross Edition
2017 Fiat 500C Missoni by Garage Italia Customs
The fashion and automotive worlds have crossed paths many times in the past, often in the form of special edition creations such as this Fiat 500C. The ventures have not always yielded good results, but all of them are magnets for attention, for better or worse. The latest in a long line of these special editions come by way of Garage Italia Customs, which created this bedazzling 500C in the name of fashion designer Angela Missoni, the creative director of the Italian brand that wears the same name.
Those who are familiar with the Missoni fashion brand will know that it prides itself on colorful design palettes, something that we see in all its glory on the 500C. Garage Italia Customs’ treatment is also what you’d expect from an automotive custom shop whose past design works include the Fiat 500 Paco Rabanne Edition, another glistening collaboration with the fashion and automotive industries. The Missoni-inspired 500C is colorful to a hilt, and whether you like it or not, it received enough attention to gather what Garage Italia Customs called a “generous” bid when it was auctioned off at the ninth annual charity event organized by amfAR in Milan, Italy last September 21. The proceeds of the car’s auction are earmarked for AIDS research, so whoever ended up paying the “generous” amount to take home this one-off 500C should be happy that his money is going to the right place. Even better, he gets to take home arguably one of the most colorful Fiat 500Cs to come out in recent memory.
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2017 Fiat 500X Urbana Edition
The Fiat 500 is, without a doubt, the Italian automaker’s most famous and popular model. Drawing from the legendary and hugely successful model of the same name produced between 1957 and 1975, the modern 500 is a small, quirky little runabout designed for faultless urban transportation duty. The diminutive dimensions assist in tight parking spots, while a fun-loving attitude and nippy suspension set-up make it a blast behind the wheel. Don’t forget a stylish exterior as well. In 2014, Fiat reimagined the 500 as an ultra-compact crossover, and thus, the high-riding 500X was created. Given the popularity of compacts crossovers like the 500X, it makes sense that Fiat is giving it a new aesthetics package. It’s called the Urbana Edition, and it adds unique trim and colors to help it stand out from non-Urbana’d editions.
Based on the Trekking trim level, which Fiat has declared as the most popular trim level for the 500X, the Urbana Edition keeps all the same bits and pieces buyers have come to expect, including a functional interior with lots of space for hauling things, and the option for AWD as well. Mechanically, the Urbana Edition goes unchanged, and still gets the same 2.4-liter gas-burning engine producing 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque through a nine-speed automatic transmission (lower trim levels get a 1.4-liter engine with 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque). If you’re looking for a unique take on this Italian compact crossover, then continue reading for the details.
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FCA Could Be Bought by a Chinese Automaker
Formed in 2014, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) alliance has been doing very good these past three years, which is why Sergio Marchionne is on the lookout to either sell the company or make another merger with a big brand. FCA was refused by General Motors back in 2015 and Marchionne’s attempts to find a new collaboration have been unsuccessful so far. However, it seems that FCA is actually on the brink of finding a new owner. According to new reports, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has received at least one offer in August from a "well-known Chinese automaker."
That’s the word from Automotive News, which claims that the over was slightly higher than FCA’s current market value, but the Italian-American alliance rejected it for not being enough. There’s no detailed information as to what Chinese automaker made the offer, but speculation has it that FCA is negotiating with more than one company. Also, a source close to FCA said that company executives have traveled to China to meet with Great Wall Motor Co., while different sources claim talks with Dongfeng Motor Corp., Zhejiang Geely, and Guangzhou Automobile Group.
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Hoonigan Names New Female Racer For Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Rally Car
For the past few months, Hoonigan and Fiat have conducted a talent search to find the “Next Female Hoonigan” racer. Today, it was announced that the search was over and a winner has been found. Taking the title is Sara Price, a 24-year-old hot shoe hailing from Canyon Lake in Southern California. Price started in motocross racing before taking on trophy trucks and side-by-side racers, and will bring that experience to rally racing in the Hoonigan Fiat 124 competition machine.
Price managed to secure her ride by beating five other finalists in a three-month long competition, which started with more than 150 individual entries from across the nation. To take the win, Price first had to take a road trip to the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Phoenix, Arizona, before continuing on to the Gridlife Music & Motorsports festival at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven Michigan. Eventually, Price showed she had what it took to be the next Hoonigan racer, and subsequently took the wheel of a 400-horsepower turbocharged Fiat 124 at the Mt. Washington hillclimb event in New Hampshire. Specs on the car include a six-speed pneumatic sequential transmission and anti-lag system, which is the right combo when tackling the 7.4 miles and 4,500 feet of elevation change at the hillclimb. Check out the video of Price’s run by hitting play above, including a glimpse at all the hard work it takes to run at the front at such a prestigious event.
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Fiat’s Feeling Mighty Generous With a Record-Breaking Giveaway
In case Oprah Winfrey decides to do another car giveaway in the near future, she’s going to have a tough time beating out what Fiat and an Italian supermarket chain known as Esselunga. Together, the two Italian companies did something that earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records: they gave away a staggering 1,495 Fiat 500s as part of Esselunga’s 60th anniversary, a staggering total made even more impressive by the fact that all these models are actually special editions in their own right.
Winners of the Essalunga-hosted competition all dropped to Fiat’s Mirafiori plant to take delivery of their new special edition 500 models, referred to officially as the Fiat 500 Essalunga. The model is based on the 69-horsepower, 1.2-liter variant of the Fiat 500 and comes with an exclusive Pastel White body paint finish, an Ivory-dressed interior, and a set of 14-inch wheels. In addition to these features, the car also receives a trove of equipment, including seven airbags, climate control, Uconnect 5 infotainment system, AUX-IN and USB ports, steering wheel controls, and LED daytime running lights. Needless to say, all 1,495 cars that were part of the giveaway at the Fiat plant were collected in less than two days by grateful owners from all over Italy. I’d be grateful too if was part of that list.
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A quick look at today’s automotive offerings and you’ll notice that almost all passenger cars are front-engined, while most sports cars come with a mid-engined configuration. The Porsche 911 is the most known exception from this rule, having its engine mounted above the rear axle. The 911 isn’t the only rear-engined car on the market, the Smart ForTwo and ForFour, Renault Twingo, Tesla Model S, and Tata Nano have similar configurations, but all of them are part of the minority. However, it wasn’t always like this.
Decades ago, rear-engined vehicles were significantly more popular. The first notable rear-engined car dates back to 1886, when Karl Benz launched the Patent-Motorwagen. The concept gained more traction in the 1930 and remained somewhat popular until the 1980s. Mostly found in small, affordable cars, the layout allowed for the rest of the vehicle to be used for passengers and luggage. It was also preferred by many carmakers since the drivetrain can installed easily at the factory compared to front-wheel-drive layout where the driven wheels also steer the car.
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