A new Fiat 500 was announced by Italian automaker Fiat on May 5, 2006. Images of the new Fiat 500 were presented on March 20, 2007, and the car was launched officially on July 4, 2007, with 250,000 in attendance. This was the largest launch party held in the last ten years, a testament to the 500's huge popularity The car was displayed in the squares of 30 cities in Italy for the launch..
The 500 is almost identical to the concept car Trepiùno, presented in 2004. Strictly a four-seater, three-door hatchback and about the same length as the Panda, it is intended to compete both in the city car market and the "fashion car" niche market. The 500 may be badged in different markets as the Fiat 500, the Fiat Nuovo 500, or the Fiat Cinquecento.
The 500 is available with four different trim levels: Naked, Pop, Lounge, and Sport. Customers can choose also between 15 interior trims, 9 wheel options, 19 decals, and 12 body colours. There are over 500,000 different personalized combinations of the 500 that can be made by adding all kinds of accessories, decals, interior and exterior colours, and trims.The car is also available with Blue&Me Navigation system.
The show was broadcast live by Italian Canale 5 and by a live video stream at fiat500.com, which was watched by over 100,000 people online.
The design of the new 2007 Fiat 500 is based on the Fiat Trepiuno concept introduced at the 74th Geneva Motorshow in 2004. This car featured a distinctive retro-look, with Fiat hoping to emulate the success that the retro-styled Volkswagen New Beetle and BMW MINI have achieved in recent years, with the 500 being substantially cheaper than those cars. The basic price is €10,500 in Italy (with options, €15,000). The Trepiuno was designed by Fiat Stile Centre.
The new 500 has seven airbags in all models. There are also electric aids available such as ABS brakes, ESP (electronic stability program), ASR (antislip regulation), HBA (hydraulic brake assistance) and hill holder device. The 500 was awarded with 5 stars by EuroNCAP, succeeding the BMW MINI as the shortest car to have a five-star rating.Fiat also said that the 500 was engineered so that it will be able to achieve a six-star rating when EuroNCAP starts to adopt this classification.
The Fiat 500 passed the Euro NCAP car safety tests with following ratings
It is rumored that the 135-horsepower Abarth version will make it to U.S. shores after 2010. The car would likely be sold in U.S. Alfa Romeo dealerships after Alfa Romeo (set to return to the U.S. in 2009) retains a firm foothold in the market.
Fiat chief technology officer Harald J. Wester revealed there are two new small cars in the works and the 500 minicar will be sold in North America, although he didn’t give a timeline. He also confirmed the car would be produced at either a U.S. plant or one of Fiat’s existing facilities in South America.
In May 2008, reports surfaced on a venture between Chrysler and Fiat, which could possibly see Fiat using Chrysler's excess manufacturing capacity to produce the Fiat 500 in North America for the United States market. The proposed Fiat 500 line for the United States would be sold as its own, separate brand, rather than under the Fiat name.
At launch three engines are available: two petrol and one diesel engine. All the engines meet the Euro5 standards. The 1.3 Multijet is equipped with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) as standard. Despite the vehicle's name implication, the lowest displacement is 1242 cc, notably higher than the previous 500s. However, a 900 cc two-cylinder engine has been planned, but despite this, it will still put it above both 500s.
|Name||Volume||Engine||Fuel||Output||Torque||0-100 km/h,s||Top speed||CO2||Notes|
|1.2 8v||1242 cc||4cyl||Petrol||@5500 rpm||@3000 rpm||12.9||119 g/km|
|1.4 16v||1368 cc||4cyl||Petrol||@6000 rpm||@4250 rpm||10.5||149 g/km|
|1.3 16v Multijet||1248 cc turbo||4cyl||Diesel||@4000 rpm||@1500 rpm||12.5||110 g/km|
|Abarth||1368 cc turbo||4cyl||Petrol||@5500rpm||@3000 rpm||7.9||155 g/km|
|Abarth SS||1368 cc turbo||4cyl||Petrol||@5750 rpm||@3000rpm||7.4||155 g/km|
|0.9 SGE||900 cc turbo||2cyl||Petrol||66-81 kW (90-110 PS)||Planned|
Fiat is planning to expand the 500 range far beyond the current hatchback model. The first new version will be the Abarth 500. Powered by Fiat's 1.4 multiair turbo engine, the Abarth will be available with a standard engine, or a hard-core 'ss' version incorporating the Alfa Romeo Q2 Torsen C limited slip differential. Fiat was originally planning to unveil the Abarth at the Bologna motor show, but due to unprecedented demand for the 500 Fiat has been forced to delay the official launch of the Abarth 500 until the 2008 Geneva motor show. Sales of the Abarth 500 are likely to start in LHD markets in the Summer of 2008, and will be launched in RHD markets towards the end of 2008. A cabriolet version is planned, with sales starting in early 2009. Fiat are also likely to go ahead with a 500 estate, in homage to the 500 giardanetta of the 1960s. An S.U.V version is being considered by Fiat too. If it gets the go ahead Fiat will launch this model in 2011. The 500 will be one of the first cars to receive Fiat's new generation of small engines. The all new 0.9 turbo engine will be launched in the winter of 2008. This will replace the 1.2 and normally aspirated 1.4 engines. This engine will be available in 90 and forms. As these engines are lighter than the engines they replace, performance will be improved. The big plus about these engines is not the added performance, but the extra fuel economy.. A stop-start system is also planned to be offered in the near future on the 1.2 and 1.3 Multijet.