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Future models - Fiat - 500 - C convertible

First look: Fiat raises 500’s roof

Beaut bambino: Fiat has remained faithful to its original Topolino in creating the Fiat 500C convertible.

Funky Fiat 500 convertible emerges more than a year ahead of Australian launch

17 Feb 2009

THERE were never going to be any prizes for guessing what form the first derivative of Fiat’s new-generation 500 hatchback would take.

In fact, the only surprise accompanying our first look at the new 500C convertible, revealed yesterday ahead of its global motor show debut at Geneva on March 3, is the fact it is so well-executed it doesn’t look new at all.

On sale in Europe from May but not due here until mid-2010, the 500C’s ‘sardine tin’ convertible roof brings a whole new level of cheekiness to Italy’s born-again bambino.

The 500C is totally faithful to the original 1957 ‘Topolino’, and fits so well in the modern ‘cinquecento’ model range released here in April 2008 that it is puzzling why Fiat took so long to pull it out of the drawer.

Of course, the 500C’s electrically-operated sliding soft-top roof is the biggest change from the hatchback upon which it is based, with the four-seat micro-car’s basic dimensions remaining unchanged at 3550mm long, 1650mm wide and 1490mm high. Similarly, the luggage capacity also remains unchanged at 185 litres.

36 center imageThe three-door 500’s engine line-up remains the same too, comprising a 1.3-litre Multijet turbo-diesel mated to a five-speed manual transmission, or 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrol fours matched with either manual or automated Dualogic transmissions.

However, in this case Fiat has seen fit to provide the 500C as standard with its new fuel-conserving ‘Start&Stop’ idle-stop function, which shuts down the engine when the transmission is in neutral and the clutch is released.

Designed by the Fiat Styling Center and made at Tichy in Poland, the 500C will be available in three colours (ivory, red and black), matched with several bodywork colour schemes – two of which are new for the 500C – including Pearl Red and Warm Grey.

When it eventually arrives in Australia next year, expect the cabriolet version of Fiat’s smallest city-car to come with a price premium of around $3000 over the hatch, which is priced between $21,990 and $28,990.

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