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, even more customisation ideas and a Centro Stile FIAT-refreshed exterior and interior.
No fewer than 1,800 changes have been made to produce the New 500, all designed to enhance the ownership experience and refine its inimitable style. The most 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 polyellptical modules for improved night vision and extra safety. These clusters integrate the dipped-beam headlamps and turn signals, while lower light cluster integrates the main beam headlights and LED daytime running lights, which adopt the circular profile of the lamp to graphically reproduces the zeros of 500. 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' light 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 to improve safety by separating illumination functions.
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 £320 option on Pop models) with 16-inch wheels available as a £370 option on Pop models and a £130 upgrade option on Pop Star and Lounge models. An elegant, new diamond-cut design is also available across the range priced from £350 on Pop models or as a £150 upgrade on the rest of the range.
The colour palette now totals 13 hues, including seven special pastel shades (‘Bossa Nova White’ is standard, the other pastel colours are a £350 option), one tri-coat finish (‘Ubran White’ at £740) and five metallic colours (a £460 option) including two new colours: Glam Coral and Avantgarde Bordeaux. Two striking black-yellow and black-red variants are also available as part of the FIAT 500 'Second Skin' programme which offers a range of customisation options capable of satisfying every creative taste imaginable.
There are two ‘Second Skin’ options: the first features a fashionable, geometric pattern along the belt line only (£140) and is available on 500 and 500C models, while the larger skin options cover the pillars and roof (£780) – and in some cases the bonnet and tailgate as well – and is available on the hardtop 500 only. Five patterns are offered: 'Ethnic' (geometric pattern); 'Lord' (classic tartan); 'Comics' (pop decoration) in combination with the new two-colour body paintwork; 'Navy' (nautical patterns) and 'Camouflage' (fashionably military).
The interior of the FIAT 500 also benefits from numerous enhancements, most noticeably in terms of its dashboard design which now integrates the advanced Uconnect™ 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 remote controls and USB / Aux-in ports on all models.
The Lounge version is equipped with the Uconnect™ 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 £250 option on Pop and Pop Star models. DAB digital radio is also available with this unit for an additional £100.
Uconnect™ LIVE allows direct access via the touchscreen to TuneIn Internet radio, (100,000 stations); Deezer (over 35 million tracks for ’Deezer Premium’ users); Reuters; Facebook and Twitter. Uconnect™ 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. Uconnect™ LIVE even connects directly to my:Car with real time warnings, service deadline memos and an interactive owner handbook to manage car maintenance. The Uconnect™ 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 Uconnect™ 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 Uconnect™ 5” Radio Nav LIVE with voice-activated TomTom satellite navigation is available as a £600 option on Pop and Pop Star models (including Bluetooth connectivity and DAB) and as a £350 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 Uconnect™ system can be operated via a new steering wheel which features new remote 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 display, developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli, is a £250 option on the Lounge version. It also integrates with the Uconnect™ Radio LIVE and Uconnect™ Radio Nav LIVE so that the media player, telephone and navigation messages also appear on the screen and the display also reconfigures itself 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 nine colour combinations with contrasting “crescent” upper portions and head restraints in black or ivory eco-leather. Black, bordeaux or tobacco Frau leather upholstery is also available (depending on model), 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 and a relocated 12V power socket. New electric window switches, which adopt a push-down-pull-up 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 engine line-up available at launch include the 1.2 litre 69hp, the TwinAir 85hp and the TwinAir 105hp.
The TwinAir 0.9 85hp has an official fuel consumption figure of 74.3MPG or 3.8 litres/100 km on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 90g/km (74.3MPG and 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 60.1MPG (4.7L/100km) and CO2 emissions of 110g/km (62.8MPG, 4.5L/100km and 105g/km with Dualogic) while the top-of-the-range TwinAir 0.9 105hp manages 67.3 MPG (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 62MPH in 12.9 seconds and reach 99 MPH, while those powered by the TwinAir 0.9-litre 85hp, 145Nm engine can reach 62MPH in 11.0 seconds and 107MPH. The top TwinAir 0.9-litre 105hp, 145Nm engine, equipped with a six-speed maual gearbox, can propel the FIAT 500 to 62MPH in 10.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 117MPH. Performance figures for Dualogic-equipped 1.2-litre and TwinAir 0.9-litre 85hp models (500 and 500C) are identical.
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 will be 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; Uconnect™ Radio with six speakers, AUX-IN and USB ports; steering wheel remote 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 (£530); a fixed glass sunroof with sunblind (£320); rear parking sensors (£270); alloy wheels (from £320); a leather-trimmed steering wheel (£110) and a Uconnect™ upgrade with touchscreen functionality and Bluetooth connectivity (£250), DAB (plus an additional £100) and TomTom satellite navigation (plus an additional £250).
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. Useful options on the Pop Star version include front fog lamps (£160), body-colour side rubbing strips (£110), 16-inch alloy wheels (£180 upgrade), Dualogic robotised manual gearbox (£750) with paddle shifters (an additional £110) and a windstop on convertible versions (£160).
The Lounge model adds luxury equipment including a panoramic glass sunroof; rear parking sensors; a leather-trimmed steering wheel; front fog lights; chrome front grille, specific 15-inch alloy wheels (code 74B) and a touchscreen Uconnect™ infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity as standard. Exclusive Lounge options include automatic climate control (£270); a leather interior (£780); dark tinted rear windows (£160); bi-xenon headlamps (£610); an electric tilt-and-slide sunroof (£260 upgrade to standard fixed glass roof) and the seven-inch TFT instrument cluster (£250).
A full range of Mopar accessories is also available from launch, including vintage-style wheel trims; 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; 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.
New customisation kits with original roof wraps and mirror caps will also be available. Five colours are available: microcarbon black, matt silver, matt titanium, military green and jeans. The microcarbon black and military green variants also extend to the dashboard to pick up the special exterior inside the car.
The new FIAT 500 will go on sale in the UK in early September with prices starting at just £10,890 OTR.