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Brand New Fiat 500

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Mike Stevens | Jan 16, 2009

The battle for retro-cute drop-top supremacy is about to heat up with Fiat set to introduce a convertible version of its 500. Due to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the 500 C will have its sights set squarely on the folding roof Mini and Volkswagen Beetle.

Fiat says the conversion from fixed roof to cloth top has been made without sacrificing already snug interior dimensions. The 500 C retains seating for four with the canvas top folding into the cargo area, behind the rear seats.

Early spy shots show the door frames and C-pillar of the car intact with only the centre section of the roof and rear window folding away. Other reports claim a full-convertible version with frameless doors is in development.

Engine choices for the convertible will mimic those of the hatch with 1.2 and 1.4 litre petrol engines of offer. At this stage a diesel version is less likely. A stop-start system shuts off the engine when idling to improve economy by around 8 percent. The system will be rolled out on the hatch in the next few months and will spread to other Fiat models after that.

Hotter Abarth versions of the convertible are set to follow while the standard version will be available in time for the European summer just a few months after being shown at Geneva. Details of pricing and eqipment will be released closer to launch.

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