One little car that is causing a big fuss around the world right now is Fiatâ€™s new 500 which made its debut in Europe yesterday. The timing coincided perfectly with the 50th Anniversary of the original Nuova 500 a car still remembered fondly and mentioned in the same breath as other iconic models such as Citroen 2CV, Volkswagen Beetle and Morris Mini.
The new Fiat 500 is in our opinion a beautifully styled modern interpretation of the original. With just the right mix of retro and originality it oozes Italian cool and will no doubt be a huge hit for Fiat. Check out the interior photo to see what must be one of the most beautiful small car interiors ever. Fiat are back to doing what they do bestâ€¦building small cars.
The new 500 is built by Fiat in Poland, is based on the current Fiat Panda platform and comes with a choice of diesel or petrol engines. Unlike the rear-engined original the new 500 is quite conventional with a water cooled, front mounted engine. There is a choice of two petrol engines, a 1.2-litre 8v with 51Kw and a 1.4-litre 16-valve that produces 56Kw. No doubt the best choice and probably the most popular in Europe would be the 1.3-litre 16-valve turbo-diesel with 75Kw.
As seen previously on this site there is an altogether more serious Abarth version of the little 500 currently undergoing testing and believed to be powered by a 150Kw 1.6-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder.
The obvious rival for the new Fiat is BMWâ€™s Mini and they share quite a bit in common. For starters, the man responsible for overseeing the design of the Fiat 500 is Frank Stephenson. Frank who formerly headed up Ferrariâ€™s design department was also the chap who designed the Mini for BMW.
Much like the Mini, the 500 will be available in a huge selection of exterior paint colours and interior trim choices. Customers will be able to mix and match and imbue their new 500 with a bit of their own personality.
While the Fiat 500 is smaller and less powerful than the Mini it is also lighter and more fuel efficient with all models achieving at least 5.1 L/100km and the diesel closer to 4.4 L/100km. The big advantage in the UK at least is that the base 500 is available for Â£9000 some Â£3000 cheaper than the equivalent Miniâ€¦and thatâ€™s a big saving.
The Fiat 500 will be coming to Australia and we can expect to see the diminutive new comer sometime in 2008.
You can see the Fiat 500 Abarth testing by clicking on the link:
Sources : Fiat and Car Magazine