First Look: 2011 Fiat 500

By Brandon Turkus

September 20, 2010

Fiat is planning on having its 500 in showrooms by the end of 2010, and in keeping with that timeline, the Italian brand has revealed the North American version of its diminutive city car. Designed to take the fight to the Mini Cooper in the boutique small car market, the 500 will be available with one engine (initially)—Fiat’s award-winning 1.4-liter turbocharged MultiAir inline-four. Power figures haven’t been released yet, but we would expect anywhere from 100 to 120 horsepower. Mileage figures look to range from the low-thirties in the city to the mid-forties on the highway, which is a nice improvement over the Mini.

It stacks up pretty nicely with its main competitor, the Mini, in terms of size, as well. The Mini is longer, wider, and has a longer wheelbase, but only by about a foot. The Fiat is only about three inches taller. Critically, the Fiat is likely to be several hundred pounds lighter than the Mini, with European models weighing in at around 2000 pounds.
The retro-chic 500 has been a hit for Fiat in Europe, where it won the 2008 European Car of the Year, due to its miserly use of fuel, low price, and extensive personalization. The 500 will be available in three trim levels when it goes on sale in the U.S. (Sport, Pop, and Lounge), with a convertible (500C) launching in the Spring of 2011. An Abarth version is also likely, designed to compete with the Mini Cooper S.
We will have more on the 500 (including a first drive) in the coming months, so be sure to check back.
Please scroll down for the official press releases from Fiat.
The Fiat Brand Arrives into the U.S. with the Iconic Fiat Cinquecento
September 14, 2010 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Fiat brand is synonymous with modern, simple “Italian” design, and its models offer unique world-class technological solutions. The brand is known for the development of environmentally- friendly cars, and its wide product range in Europe includes agile city cars, compact and midsize vehicles, station wagons, and has been the source of many success stories such as the Fiat 500 (Cinquecento). For the last three years, Fiat was the lowest CO2 producer among Europe’s best-selling automotive brands, and the Fiat 1.4-liter MultiAir™ turbo engine was named “Best New Engine of the Year” in 2010.
The reintroduction of the Fiat brand in North America will be led by the modern generation of the Fiat 500, which will be available at the end of 2010 and followed by the Fiat 500C (cabrio) in 2011.
“The modern version of the Fiat 500 is the symbol of true Italian design and is a perfect expression of what the world expects of Italian cars,” said Laura Soave, Head of Fiat Brand North America. “The unique character of the Cinquecento, along with class-leading safety, fuel economy, quality and a focus to offer a unique experience to our customers, will help us to reestablish the Fiat brand in the North American market.”
The North American version of the Fiat 500 will be equipped with Fiat’s 1.4-liter, in-line four-cylinder Fully Integrated Robotized Engine (FIRE) featuring the MultiAir system. MultiAir is a sophisticated technology that delivers an increase in power up to 10 percent and a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions up to 10 percent when compared to similar engines. The Fiat 500 also will feature advanced technology intelligently adapted for the North American market.
Prima Edizione
In July, Fiat fans attending the Club Fiat-Lancia Unlimited annual convention in North Carolina were given the opportunity to place reservations and select their vehicle build number for the unique Fiat Cinquecento ‘Prima Edizione’ (First Edition) model.
“The Fiat Cinquecento Prima Edizione was developed especially with the Fiat fans in mind,” said Soave, who personally presented the opportunity to the Fiat club aficionados. “For over a quarter of a century, the members of this Club have kept the spirit of the Fiat and Lancia brands alive in North America through their unique and passionate support for true Italian design. We really value their loyalty, and the Prima Edizione is our gift of appreciation to these fans on behalf of Fiat North America.”
The Fiat 500 Prima Edizione will be exclusively available in three colors: Bianco (White), Rosso (Red) and Grigio (Gray). These limited-edition Fiat 500 models will be equipped with a manual transmission and will feature an exclusive Prima Edizione badge. Each of the 500 Prima Edizione vehicles will feature a sequential VIN and badge according to production order.
Worldwide Success
The modern generation of the Fiat 500 was launched on July 4, 2007, and since its introduction, it sold more than 500,000 units in more than 80 countries around the world.
This sales success and the model’s unquestionable popularity are the result of the Fiat 500’s ability to generate new versions. This was demonstrated by the debut of the Fiat 500C, the original cabriolet version of the Fiat 500 that pays homage to the 1957 soft-top but comes packed with advanced solutions in terms of quality, engines and passenger comfort.
In addition to success on the sales front, the Fiat 500 has already won 40 international awards, including being named the 2008 European Car of the Year and 2009 World Car Design of the Year. Also, the Fiat MultiAir technology was recognized as the “single most innovative engine technology” of 2010 by the International Engine of the Year Awards panel.
In the latest stage of its global growth, the Fiat 500 and 500C will be built in Toluca, Mexico, for distribution in the United States, Canada, Mexico and key markets in South America.
The Fiat 500 Sport – Arriving Soon to America
September 14, 2010 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The reborn and reimagined Fiat 500 is arriving soon to America. Born in Italy, perfectly tailored for America, the Cinquecento is as vibrant and engaging as it is fit and nimble. The Sport model, featured in these images, illustrates Fiat’s smart and stylish design aesthetic. Like the original Fiat 500 a half-century ago, the new Cinquecento continues its timeless value while embracing individual expression and opportunity – all infused with world-class craftsmanship.
The Cinquecento offers unique adaptations for the North American market and is designed for individuals who demand that style and fashion can coexist with practicality and functionality. Matching its sport-tuned suspension, the Fiat 500 Sport features athletically styled front and rear fascias with a larger grille and flared aerodynamic treatment. Between its unique 16-inch aluminum wheels with Mineral Gray painted pockets, the Cinquecento incorporates new body-side sill cladding for an enhanced sport appearance.
Completing this athletic vehicle's appearance are Performance Red painted brake calipers, a chromed exhaust tip and gloss black shadow-line window trim. The Fiat 500 Sport also features an available SkyDome power sun roof for an ultra-open view of the world. The Fiat 500 will be also available in the Pop and Lounge models with unique exterior cues and different equipment options.
The world-class 1.4-liter engine with Fiat’s state-of-the-art MultiAir™ technology powers the Fiat 500 Sport. MultiAir significantly reduces emissions while improving fuel economy and power delivery by up to 10 percent when compared to similar engines.
The Fiat 500’s technology, driving dynamics and interior features have been intelligently adapted for the North American market, and it will offer small-car buyers a stylish, high-value alternative. The all-new Fiat 500 will be available for ordering later this year in the Sport, Pop and Lounge models, followed by the all-new Fiat 500C (cabrio) in the spring of 2011.