Fiat's TwinAir-powered 500 and 500C are now on sale in Australia. The spritely city car's local upgrade follows a global debut in 2010 - and lengthy pricing negotiations between Fiat headquarters and Australian distributor Ateco.
Importantly for Ateco, which has struggled to sell the light-sized but high-priced 500 in any great quantity, the 2012 models come with a significant price drop: down $2000 for the hardtop and $3000 for the convertible.
For the 2012 model year, the 500's 1.4 litre four-cylinder engine has been replaced by the new TwinAir system (last year's International Engine of the Year), its turbocharged two-cylinder design delivering 63kW and 145Nm of torque.
Breaking down the numbers, that's 11 fewer killer wasps and 14 more Newtons, and the little three-door's 0-100km/h time has stretched from 10.5 to 11 seconds.
What the updated 500 (barely) loses in acceleration, it more than makes up for in fuel consumption. Those numbers have fallen to 4.0 l/100km for the manual and 3.9 l/100km for the "DuaLogic" auto. The outgoing model sat at 6.3 l/100km.
Importantly for green-minded buyers, the 500 TwinAir models have also cut the car's CO2 emissions by more than 30 percent, falling from 149g/km to 90g/km in auto form and 92g/km with the manual.
Fiat expects the convertible 500C to continue as the more popular of the two variants, making up around 60 percent of sales. The Dualogic automatic transmission is forecast to be the preferred option for 70 percent of buyers.
- 2012 Fiat 500 TwinAir - manual - $22,990 (down $2000)
- 2012 Fiat 500 TwinAir - automatic - $24,990 (down $2000)
- 2012 Fiat 500C TwinAir - manual - $25,990 (down $3000)
- 2012 Fiat 500C TwinAir - automatic - $27,990 (down $3000)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.