Fiat 500C: more than a "window to the sky"
Unveiled to the world for the first time at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, the new Fiat 500C pays homage to the original 1957 Fiat 500 and its fabric roof, but also offers innovative solutions in terms of mechanical design, engines and comfort. All this in line with the most authentic Fiat tradition of giving people access to segment firsts in content and technology.
In Italy, the public will be able to take it for a test drive from July 4th, the birthday of the Fiat 500 and exactly two years after the launch of the model that really raised the bar in terms of comfort, safety, technology and features.
Using a typical open-source approach (i.e. continually evolving a successful product on the basis of input from its users), the Centro Stile Fiat design centre created the 500C by interacting with the many communities of Cinquecento enthusiasts - notably the 500 Wants You website - and reinforcing the position of the model as "a car for the people, by the people".. Starting from the saloon version, the introduction of the soft top does not change the winning characteristics of the model such as its four comfortable seats and boot capacity, but it does add new functions that heighten enjoyment. These include easier access to the boot even when the soft top is fully open, thanks to a clever system of parallelogram hinges.
Another strong point of the original cabriolet version is its exceptional climate and acoustic comfort. Thorough aerodynamic research means that the turbulence experienced with the roof open has been reduced to a minimum, allowing full enjoyment of the fresh air and the company of fellow passengers.
The decision to re-interpret the original design in modern key, with an electric sliding roof but a stylistic design that retains the shape of the classic car makes the Fiat 500C less of a seasonal product and one that can be enjoyed the whole year round. In short, all these features make this new vehicle one of the most successful convertibles in the modern city-car segment.
A true object of design, the soft top of the Fiat 500C stands out for its elegant electrically controlled movements and its impressively finished and carefully selected technical features, from the glass rear window to the third brake light built into the soft top itself. Available in three colours (ivory, red and black), the clever soft top is matched with various paint finishes including three ad-hoc creations: a pearlescent Ragamuffin Red, a Tech House Grey so typical of sporty super cars, and Goth-Metal Blue (the latter available for the whole range).
The Fiat 500C has an exclusive feel to its interior, which is embellished with top quality and highly desirable fabrics, including Frau leather upholstery, and a long list of market-dependent standard and optional features: from automatic climate control to the innovative Interscope HiFi System, from the Blue&Me Map portable navigation unit to the smart wind-stop, and from the Start&Stop system to the new collection of customisable options.
A free and emotive expression of the automobile, the Fiat 500C retains the same dimensions as the base model (355 cm long, 165 cm wide and 149 cm high) and shares all three of its power units: the 75 HP 1.3-litre MultiJet turbodiesel engine combined with a five-speed manual gearbox and the two 69 HP 1.2 litre and 100 HP 1.4 litre petrol engines, both available with manual or Dualogic robotised gearbox. Each engine offers different qualities, but all three are defined by generosity and a lively temperament, as well as high performance and sophisticated technology. Among their common qualities are great reliability and respect for the environment (all are Euro5-approved). To confirm Fiat Automobiles' commitment to environmental protection and sustainable mobility, the 500C includes the innovative "Start&Stop" system, which controls the temporary cutting out of the engine and its subsequent restarting. When the vehicle stops, putting the gear lever in neutral and releasing the clutch will switch off the engine; to restart, simply put the car back into gear.
With the commercial launch of its latest convertible, the Fiat 500 continues to be talked about and confirms its status as a real Italian style icon, able to win over the public and critics worldwide. The best evidence of its success are the 30 awards it has won across the globe, the 11 million internet users that have visited its website (viewing a total of 200 million pages) and the more than 360,000 orders so far received across the 59 markets in which it is being sold.
This is all the more impressive when you consider that more than half the sales have been recorded outside Italy (50% elsewhere in Europe and 8% in the rest of the world). In each country where it has been launched, the Fiat 500 has generated enormous interest: in Japan, for example, there have been more than 5,000 orders. It should also be highlighted that 80% of Fiat 500 clients select the most expensive features and 90% ask for the Blue& Me system.
In short, as an expression of Italy's finest automotive design, the 500 is not merely a super-compact city car, but a real platform upon which Fiat Automobiles is building a whole family of cars with advanced technology and high attention to detail. The new 500C represents another step forward in this direction.