New Fiat 500 In Depth  

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Page 1: Manifesto
Page 2: In brief
Page 3: Joint effort
Page 4: Engines
Page 5: Gearbox
Page 6: Safety
Page 7: Experiencing the 500
Page 8: Standard features
Page 9: Specifications

The model in brief

On July 4, 2007, after exactly 50 years, the new Fiat 500 makes its debut in Turin, and will be marketed immediately after the launch.

Derived from the ‘3+1’ concept car that aroused so much enthusiasm at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, the Fiat 500 is the most up-to-date solution for the motorist who ‘enjoys’ his car in complete freedom, appreciates it for day-to-day use, but also wishes to drive a car that is entertaining and practical, eco-friendly and accessible, but also attractive and fun. An appealing car, which reflects the strong, winning market trends but remains consistent with Fiat’s history and mission: to build cars of original styling, with advanced technology that is made accessible to everyone and intelligent solutions that simplify and improve life on board. The Fiat 500 is certainly no exception, and it takes a quality leap forward in terms of comfort and safety, technology and equipment for this segment, with many novelties that are appearing for the first time in this category.

It is an ambitious goal for which Fiat Automobiles has recruited its best resources and most sophisticated methodologies, creating a ‘robust’ project. That is not all. For the ‘500 Project’, Fiat decided to adopt a revolutionary approach that put the concept of ‘involvement’ at the centre of the development process. For the first time in the automotive field, the many enthusiasts dotted all over the world were involved directly through the ‘500 wants you’ Internet platform, to express their wishes regarding the future car. These suggestions were then collected by the Fiat Automobiles designers and engineers, who transformed them into goals to be achieved with stylistic solutions and equipment that were as close as possible to the expectations of these potential customers.

The Fiat 500 really is a car created for the people, based on the people’s ideas.

And finally, the new model confirms Fiat Automobiles’ undisputed leadership in this category, a ‘savoir faire’ that goes back a long way, and reflects the evolution of the clientele of this market bracket. The Fiat 500 was born out of this great technical and design heritage that has been built up over the years, and from the expertise that only a company that has always led the European market in this segment can have. Uninterrupted success that demonstrates how, over the years, Fiat has won the compact segment not only with numbers but also and above all by winning the customer’s trust: trust in the brand, and in the experience of its designers.

A seductive line and cutting-edge styling

Designed by the Fiat Style Centre and built in the plant in Tychy (Poland), the new 500 is a ‘3-door’ model with compact dimensions: just 355 centimetres long, 163 cm wide, 149 cm tall and with a wheelbase of 230 centimetres. A compact car that appeals immediately for its soft, rounded line. And its ‘tomboyish’ looks bring a smile of complicity to drivers who have to tackle intense town traffic every day, with a lack of space and a frenetic lifestyle.

With its attractive shape, the car is extremely luminous from the side, with overhangs kept to a minimum, and a very short bonnet. The front combines the current family resemblance between the latest Fiat models with the distinctive elements of the first Fiat 500. For example, the strongest reference to the earlier car is the combination of the circular upper headlights together with full beam lower lights and the ‘whiskers and logo’ unit.

What is more, the waistline slopes slightly at the front and highlights its robustness while the rear end features a large shaped, chrome-plated handle which reiterates the motif of the registration plate light holder on the first Fiat 500, that resembled a bicycle saddle. The exterior styling of the new car is set off by twelve bodywork colours (metallic, non-metallic and one pearlescent), all combined with the wide range of fabric and leather upholstery.

And last but not least, the Fiat 500 is the first Fiat model to use its own name as a logo, positioning it on the wheel hubs and rims.

The new car combines an attractive, original line with new upholstery that confirms the impression of great quality that the car transmits at first glance. Thanks to the large ring that circles the interior space, the passenger compartment embraces and protects you, every detail has been honed to perfection, and there are plenty of citations from the past, reread in a modern key and enhanced by exclusive materials, such as the refined Frau Leather upholstery that makes its first appearance in this segment. Chromed elements, two-tone seats, a facia that matches the body colour and numerous storage units complete the elegant, functional passenger compartment that can seat four adults comfortably.

Green engines

The car comes with a choice of three engines that guarantee sparkling performance but are sparing on fuel and eco-friendly, combined with 5 or 6 speed mechanical gearboxes (a Dualogic sequential robotised 5-speed gearbox will be available at a later date for the petrol engines).

There are two petrol units, the 69 bhp 1.2 and the 100 bhp 1.4 from the Fire family that boasts a total output of over ten million engines to date. The third is the 75 bhp 1.3 16v Multijet with DPF, the best the market can offer in terms of small turbodiesels, of which over two million have been built so far.

This comprehensive engine range responds to a wide variety of use and distance requirements. And it also respects the ever-growing importance of the environment. All the engines in the Fiat 500 are Euro 4-compliant and designed to meet the even stricter limitations of future European standards (Euro 5), and they already meet the emissions limits that will presumably be enforced in 2009. The 1.3 Multijet is also equipped with a particulate trap (PDF) as standard equipment.

Class-beating safety

Designed to respect the most stringent standards, the Fiat 500 is one of the safest cars in its entire segment. Stable, efficient braking combined with good acceleration from the engines and predictable handling at all times, get the new model out of difficult situations without batting an eyelid.

The Fiat 500 can be fitted with up to 7 airbags as standard equipment (two at the front, two curtain-bags, two sidebags and one to protect the knees): a record for this vehicle class. The new model also adopts sophisticated technical solutions to guarantee that the driver is in complete control of the car at all times (active safety): from ABS complete with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), to the sophisticated ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and ASR (Anti Slip Regulation), plus a Hill Holder, to help the driver on hill starts, and HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance) which steps in for emergency stops.

And the Fiat 500 can boast all the dynamic features and comfort that enable its occupants to tackle any type of route comfortably and safely. The merit also goes to the suspension: an independent MacPherson system at the front, and semi-independent interconnected wheels with a torsion axle at the rear. The two layouts have evolved from a Magneti Marelli design and have been used on other Fiat models in the past; they have now been revised and modified for the new car, to guarantee outstanding handling and the highest possible level of comfort.

500,000 ways to ‘experience the Fiat 500’

On the major European markets, the model will be offered with four outfits (Naked, Pop, Sport and Lounge), three engines (1.2 - 69 bhp, 1.4 - 100 bhp and 1.3 Multijet - 75 bhp – with DPF), 12 body colours, 9 types of wheel rims, 7 of which in alloy, with a choice of 15” and 16” tyres. But if we add all the many accessories and devices on offer, the Fiat 500 reaches an absolutely unique level of customisation for the car market: no fewer than 500,000 possible combinations. For example, the customer can decide to make his car more distinctive by adding a range of original stickers on the sides, the roof and the bonnet, choosing three different graphics: from a chequered flag to the Italian flag, a barcode or racing stripes. He can also choose a number of chrome-plated elements such as the wing mirror cases, bonnet trims or the nudge bar on the front bumper.

Inside, elegance, innovation and practicality blend in an ideal environment. One example is the new ‘fragrance diffuser’, with a choice of three fragrances, and the practical jacket hanger on the head-restraint. Or the mobile phone holder or iPod player, USB and 12V sockets, aluminium pedals, the 500 logo on the kick panel of the door, and three types of leather upholstery for the gear lever knob, to match the steering wheel. And then there are the free-time accessories, like the original luggage rack that fits on the rear window and a convenient storage unit that lets you pack away items of various sizes in the loading floor.

The long list of accessories terminates with the car covers decorated with a picture of the Fiat 500 of the 1960s, an original way of remembering the new model’s forebear. With the dedicated Customisation programme, the new model confirms its vocation as a car with Italian class and plenty of content and excellent value for money. A new type of ignition key also makes its debut on the new model, on which you can change the protective covering, choosing from 9 covers that match the bodywork or the stickers.

To continue the concept of customisation of the new model, Fiat Group Automobiles Financial Services has created two innovative solutions: ‘500 cents’, the ideal product for the customer who pays in instalments, which lets him purchase his new car, no matter what version or engine he chooses, paying just ¤ 5 a day. Those who prefer to pay cash, on the other hand, can try out the new ‘50to500’ financial formula, paying for the car in two instalments: 50% immediately and 50% after two years.

Both financial products include 5 years or 500,000 km warranty and the ‘500 Free’ package at a discount. This means that the customer does not have to worry about anything: a mobile workshop will be at his disposal 24 hours a day to guarantee complete roadside service, even if he runs out of petrol or fills up with the wrong fuel, has a puncture or a flat battery; and when it is time for periodical maintenance, the car collection service will pick the car up from the customer’s home, and his mobility will be guaranteed by the reimbursement of any taxi fares (bonus up to ¤ 50). These two products will be available on all European markets, starting in Italy, through Sava, and in France, from Fiat Crédit, which are the first two markets where the Fiat 500 will be launched.

Exclusive equipment for superior comfort

The Fiat 500 introduces numerous novelties for its segment with the precise intention of making the exclusive features hitherto reserved to drivers of up-market cars accessible to everyone. The customer can choose either the basic level Blue&MeTM (which includes a hands-free function with Bluetooth® interface and evolved voice recognition, USB port, MP3 reader and text message interpreter) or the latest version (after the launch): Blue&MeTM Nav which adds the functions of a navigator, at an extremely competitive price. And Blue&MeTM Nav is already wired to enable a series of ITC services in future, such as SOS Emergency, Info Service and insurance services.

Another example of sophisticated technology being made accessible to all, Blue&Me™ MAP 500, also makes its appearance on the new Fiat, a multi-function portable navigator developed by Magneti Marelli, which opens up new frontiers in the market of portable navigation systems (it will be available after the launch).

And the Fiat 500 is the first model in its segment to introduce a sophisticated Hi-Fi system known as ‘Interscope Sound System’. This optional system was designed and developed for the Fiat 500 and is combined with a radio with a CD and MP3 player. The novelty of the Interscope Sound System is the simultaneous use of three different methods to process the signal, which make for unique enjoyment of the sound on board the car.

In addition to a conventional heater and a manual climate system, the Fiat 500 is also available with a sophisticated climate system that incorporates an electronic control unit, which automatically controls the temperature, air flow, air distribution, compressor engagement and air recirculation. The array of equipment on the new model also includes headlights with a daytime DRL function (Day Running Light), a large glass sunroof (available in either a fixed or an opening version with electric drive) that accentuates the luminosity inside and pays tribute to the 500’s famous canvas roof of the 1950s and 1960s, and finally, an electro-chromic mirror that removes the annoying ‘glare’ effect of cars behind.

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