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Fiat lifts lid on 500C details

Top down: Fiat says it has 360,000 orders for the 500C, half of them from Italy.

More details emerge for the upcoming Fiat 500 convertible’s sardine-tin roof

22 Jun 2009

FIAT has released more details on the electric sliding roof that will set the 500C apart from the hardtop 500 on which it is based.

The born-again 500 convertible will be faithful to both Fiat’s original 1957 open-top ‘Topolino’ and the new-generation 500 model range released here in April 2008 by featuring a ‘sardine tin’ roof and maintaining the new hardtop’s basic dimensions.

Likely to be powered only by the existing 500’s range-topping 74kW 1.4-litre petrol engine when it goes on sale here in mid-2010, the 500C is expected to carry a $3000 premium over the equivalent hardtop, which in this case is the Fiat 500 1.4 Sport ($27,990).

On top of offering the same four-seat layout as the hardtop 500, Fiat says the 500C, which debuted at the Geneva motor show in March, will make access to the boot easier even when the roof is up due to its parallelogram-design hinges.

Fiat says the 500 cabriolet’s climate and acoustic comfort will be exceptional following extensive aerodynamic testing that has reduced roof-down turbulence to a minimum.

The electrically-operated sliding soft-top will feature a glass rear window and an integrated third brake light, and will be available in three basic colours: ivory, red and black.

36 center imageFull Australian specifications and prices will be released closer to launch, but European buyers will be able to match the soft-top to a number of paint colours, including three unique to the 500C: pearlescent ‘Ragamuffin Red’, ‘Tech House Grey’ and ‘Goth-Metal Blue’.

Inside, the 500C will be available with a number of high-quality options, including Frau leather trim, automatic climate-control, an Interscope HiFi System and a wind-blocker. A new range of customisable options will also be offered in Europe, along with Fiat’s Blue&Me Map portable navigation unit and Start&Stop idle-stop system.

Like the 500, the topless 500C measures 3550mm long, 1650mm wide and 1490mm high, and in Europe will also be available with the hardtop’s 55kW 1.3-litre MultiJet turbo-diesel and the 51kW 1.2-litre petrol four. All three Euro V-compliant engines will be available with manual and Dualogic automated manual transmissions.

Fiat says that it has received more than 360,000 orders from the 59 markets in which the 500 is sold, with more than 50 per cent coming from outside Italy but just eight per cent shipped outside Europe.

More than 5000 orders have come from Japan alone, with 80 per cent of global customers allegedly requesting the most expensive options.

Fiat sold 584 examples of the 500 in nine months last year in Australia. Combined with a further 158 to May this year, the local tally is 742.

Read more:

First look: Fiat raises 500’s roof

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