Exactly eight years and more than 1.5 million units since it was launched (on the 50th anniversary of the original car's launch) the successful and iconic FIAT 500 makes way for its successor: The New FIAT 500. Retaining the unmistakable look that has made it a global best-seller, the new FIAT 500 hasn't grown in size (L 3.57m / W 1.63m / H 1.49m / WB 2.30m) but instead has grown in maturity with advanced technologies, improved efficiency and a Centro Stile FIAT-refreshed exterior and interior.
No fewer than 1,900 changes have been made to produce the new FIAT 500, with the aim of enhancing the ownership experience and refining its inimitable style. The most obvious changes can be found at the front: New FIAT 500 retains the "face" of its predecessors with headlights which are still circular in shape but which adopt innovative poly-elliptical modules for improved night vision and extra safety. These clusters integrate the dipped-beam headlamps and turn signals, while lower light clusters integrate the main beam headlights and LED daytime running lights, which adopt the circular profile of the zeros of the 500 logo. The bonnet retains its distinctive, traditional clamshell form, another nod to its legendary predecessor, while the trapezoidal nose gets more pronounced ribbing and the auxiliary air vent is now fed via a three-dimensional grille (with chrome-effect buttons on the Lounge version) flanked by chrome brightwork to give the New FIAT 500 stronger visual presence.
New 'empty' tail lamp clusters, comprised of ring-shaped structures with body-coloured centres, define the revised look of the rear, with the fog light and reversing light relocated to the edges of the redesigned bumper trim thereby improving safety by separating the illumination functions. Both front and rear bumpers also have squarer edges, giving the New FIAT 500 a more solid stance and more confident overall shape.
New alloy wheel designs are also introduced on the New FIAT 500: Pop Star and Lounge models have 15-inch alloy wheels as standard (a €300 option on Pop models) with 16-inch wheels available as a €450 option on Pop models and €300 upgrade option on Pop Star and Lounge models, including an elegant, new, 16-inch, diamond-cut design.
The colour palette now totals 13 hues, including standard "Bossa Nova" white and two brand new colours: "Glam Coral" pastel and "Avantgarde Bordeaux" metallic. In total, there is a choice of six special pastel shades (€350), five metallic colours (€450) and one tri-coat "Urban White" finish (€650) available. There are two new ‘Second Skin' personalisation options available as well: The first enhances the look of the top half of the car (€750) and offers customers one of the following finishes: "Lord", a classic tartan pattern across the roof and up the B-pillar; "Camouflage" military-inspired finish on the roof, bonnet, beltline and A- and C-pillars (plus contrasting lime green mirrors) and "Navy" which covers the roof, belt-line and pillars in a cool seaside pattern. The second option is a more comprehensive "Comics" second skin which decorates the bonnet, pillars roof, beltline and mirrors of a black vehicle in vibrant yellow or red (€1,075), effectively giving it a two-tone appearance.
The interior of the FIAT 500 also benefits from numerous enhancements, most noticeably in terms of its dashboard design which now integrates the advanced UconnectTM infotainment across the range. The unit is not only easier to read and more intuitive to use, it also improves connectivity and functionality with steering wheel-mounted audio controls and USB / Aux-in ports on all models.
The Lounge version is equipped with the UconnectTM 5" Radio LIVE system which is a touchscreen unit complete with Bluetooth hands-free calling and music streaming; voice recognition and an SMS reader for reading text messages received on compatible telephones. It is available as a €350 option on Pop and Pop Star models. DAB digital radio is also available with this unit for an additional €100.
UconnectTM LIVE allows direct access to TuneIn Internet radio, Deezer music streaming and Reuters news feeds, as well as Facebook and Twitter, via the touchscreen display. UconnectTM LIVE can also be used to access eco:Drive, the award-winning driving style app which assists drivers to improve fuel consumption by up to 16 percent by providing driving tips in real time. UconnectTM LIVE even connects directly to my:Car with real time warnings, service deadline memos and an interactive owner handbook to manage car maintenance. The UconnectTM LIVE app can be downloaded from Apple Store or Google Play Store and as soon as the smartphone is connected to the New FIAT 500 Lounge, many applications can be viewed and controlled via the touchscreen of the UconnectTM system. The apps have been designed and adapted for use while driving to keep users concentrated on the road ahead.
For the first time on the FIAT 500, an integrated UconnectTM 5" Radio Nav LIVE with voice-activated TomTom satellite navigation is available as a €650 option on Pop and Pop Star models (including Bluetooth connectivity and DAB) and as a €300 upgrade for Lounge models (including DAB). The TomTom IQ Routes® function calculates the fastest route based on real-time average speeds (updated every two minutes courtesy of 100 million kilometres of traffic data collected every day) and for maximum safety and ease-of-use the system includes an advanced lane indicator and turn-by-turn instructions which are conveniently displayed on the instrument panel. Users also benefit from the information on the location of fixed and mobile safety cameras and real-time weather forecasts.
For added safety and convenience, the UconnectTM system can be operated via a new steering wheel which features new audio control buttons which are easier to operate and, thanks to their chrome-plated edging and high-quality materials, more pleasant to touch and to behold.
The circular instrument cluster, with analogue dials for speed and engine revs and digital secondary gauges, is retained for Pop and Pop Star models, while the innovative seven-inch TFT instrument display, developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli, can be ordered for €300 and replaces the analogue dials on the Lounge version with a vibrant, full-colour display. It also integrates with the UconnectTM Radio LIVE and UconnectTM Radio Nav LIVE so that the media player, telephone and navigation messages also appear on the screen and the display can also reconfigure itself (throttle and turbo gauges appear, for example) when the Sport button is activated on 0.9 TwinAir Turbo 105hp engine versions.
The front seats adopt a more ergonomic shape and the interior upholstery is available in ten colour combinations on Lounge models with contrasting "crescent" upper portions and head restraints now finished in black or ivory eco-leather. Black, bordeaux or tobacco Frau leather upholstery is also available for €1,000 on the Lounge version, with embroidered 500 logos on the crescent and contrasting bolster accents.
Further enhancements include a new lidded glove box on the passenger's side and a revised centre console with new cup holders, relocated USB/Aux-in ports and a more conveniently positioned 12V power socket. New electric window switches, which adopt a push-to-lower-pull-to-raise operation, complete the visible interior revisions, while additional soundproofing panels in the wheelhouse and firewall making the passenger compartment even more comfortable and refined.
The New FIAT 500 is powered by a range of environment-friendly, Euro 6-compliant engines combined with five- and six-speed manual gearboxes or a Dualogic robotised transmission (depending on the model). The engines line-up available at launch include the 1.2 litre 69hp, the TwinAir Turbo 85hp and 105hp and the 1.3-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel,
The TwinAir Turbo 0.9 85hp has an official fuel consumption figure of 3.8 litres/100 km on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 90g/km (88g/km with the Dualogic transmission), remarkable figures which not only have positive environmental implications but which also ease the burden on the owner's pocket. The 1.2-litre 69hp has a combined fuel efficiency figure of 4.7L/100km and CO2 emissions of 110g/km (4.5L/100km and 105g/km with Dualogic) while the top-of-the-range TwinAir 0.9 105hp manages 4.2L/100km with emissions of 99g/km (no Dualogic option with this engine). Economy and emission performance is identical for convertible 500C models.
In terms of performance, 500/500C models equipped with the 69hp, 102Nm 1.2-litre engine can accelerate to 100km/h in 12.9 seconds and reach 159km/h while those powered by the TwinAir Turbo 0.9-litre 85hp, 145Nm engine can reach 100km/h in 11.0 seconds and 172km/h. The top TwinAir 0.9-litre 105hp, 145Nm engine, equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox, can propel the FIAT 500 to 100km/h in 10.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 188km/h. Performance figures for Dualogic-equipped 1.2-litre and TwinAir 0.9-litre 85hp models (500 and 500C) are identical to their manual counterparts.
The FIAT 500 also remains the only vehicle in its segment to be offered with a diesel engine - the 1.3-litre MultiJet II turbo-diesel engine is ideally suited to drivers with, for example, restricted parking at the end of long commutes or those who drive between cities regularly. Employing sophisticated second-generation MultiJet technology and a variable-geometry turbo charger, the new FIAT 500's 1.3-litre, turbo diesel engine produces 95hp at 3,750rpm and 200Nm of torque from 1,500rpm with 170Nm available from just 1,250rpm. This helps the FIAT 500 feel brisk and responsive in all gears, reaching 100km/h from a standstill in just 10.7 seconds with a top speed of 180km/h, while its advanced efficiency technologies - including a smart alternator, rapid engine warm-up, variable oil pump displacement and Start & Stop - combine to greatly reduce running costs and improve its eco-friendliness, with an official combined cycle fuel economy figure of 3.4 L/100km and CO2 emissions of just 89g/km.
Engineered to comply with the toughest standards, the FIAT 500 is one of the safest cars in its segment. The popular 1.2 69hp version is now equipped with 257mm front disc brakes for even more effective and powerful braking, and seven airbags (front, window and side airbags, plus a driver's knee airbag) remain standard across the range as before. Active safety systems include ABS with electronic brake distribution (EBD), advanced electronic stability control (ESC), anti-slip regulation (ASR), Hill Holder and hydraulic brake assistance (HBA) to help with emergency stops.
The New FIAT 500 is available with three trim levels - Pop, Pop Star and Lounge - and in hatchback and convertible versions.
Standard equipment across the range includes seven airbags; remote central locking; electric front windows; electric mirrors; UconnectTM Radio with six speakers, AUX-IN and USB ports; steering wheel-mounted audio controls; Start & Stop; a space-saver spare wheel and LED daytime running lights. A fully-electric convertible roof with heated glass rear screen is standard on all 500C models.
Key options on the entry-level Pop version include air conditioning (€675); a fixed glass sunroof with sunblind (€450); rear parking sensors (€250); alloy wheels (from €300); a leather-trimmed steering wheel (€150) and the UconnectTM upgrade audio system with touchscreen functionality and Bluetooth connectivity (€350). DAB digital radio can be added for an additional €100 and TomTom satellite navigation for a further €300.
Standard equipment on the Pop Star version adds air conditioning; body-coloured mirror caps with defrosting function; 15-inch alloy wheels (code 4WQ) and a 50/50 split folding rear seat with adjustable rear headrests. Popular options on the Pop Star version include front fog lights (€150), body-colour side rubbing strips with FIAT 500 logo (€100), 16-inch alloy wheels (€300 upgrade), Dualogic robotised manual gearbox (€900) with paddle shifters (an additional €100) and a removable wind-stop on convertible versions (€100).
The Lounge model adds luxury equipment including a panoramic, fixed glass sunroof; rear parking sensors; a leather-trimmed steering wheel; front fog lights; chrome styling kit, specific 15-inch alloy wheels (code 74B) and a touchscreen UconnectTM infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity as standard. Exclusive Lounge options include automatic climate control (€400); a leather interior (€1,000); dark tinted rear windows (€250); bi-xenon headlamps (€800); an electric tilt-and-slide sunroof (€300 upgrade to standard fixed glass roof) and the seven-inch TFT instrument cluster (€300).
A full range of Mopar accessories is also available from launch, including vintage-style wheel trims (Pop only); a range of alloy wheels with different designs, colours and finishes; mirror caps either in chrome-effect or painted in a variety of colours; distinctive side badges; chrome roof mouldings; a rear spoiler and a range of decals for sides and the roof. A tailgate rack is also available with two systems for transporting winter sports equipment, like skis and snowboards.
The new FIAT 500 is on sale in Ireland now with prices starting at just €13,450.