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Geneva show: New top-spec Cult joins Fiat 500 range

Small change: Fiat’s refreshed 500 range includes a new range-topping Cult, as well as some cosmetic and technological changes to the city-friendly range.

Midlife facelift adds a new range-topper to Fiat’s city-friendly 500

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Fiat logo3 Mar 2014

By BARRY PARK

FIAT has pulled the wraps off a fresh-faced version of its city-loving 500 hatchback, adding a new variant to the international line-up.

To make its world debut at this week’s Geneva motor show and set for an Australian launch later this year, the Fiat 500 ‘Cult’, as the new range-topper is known, introduces a midlife refresh for the reborn Italian brand that includes cleaner looks and an all-new driver interface.

A key to the fresh-faced model is a subtle makeover to the front of the car’s “whiskers” that extend to each side of the 500 from the Fiat logo in the centre of the grille.

The 500 also gains different-look wing mirror covers, and a bit more chrome treatment around the doorhandles and hatchback release.

Inside, the major change is a seven-inch LCD screen that functions as a digital speedometer, as well as showing vital information about the car’s state of health to the driver. It will be standard across the 500 range.

The circular instrument cluster includes a turbo boost indicator, with European customers given the choice of either a 72kW 1.3-litre diesel four-cylinder, a 51kW 1.2-litre petrol four-cylinder that can also run on LPG, or a new 63kW turbocharged 0.9-litre twin-cylinder powerplant.

The engines are paired with either a six-speed manual or ‘Dualogic’ robotised manual gearbox.

Despite its small size, the 0.9-litre turbocharged engine produces its peak power at 5500rpm, while peak torque of 145Nm arrives at 2000rpm, helping the Fiat 500 Cult make the sprint from 0-100km/h in 10.0 seconds.

Fuel consumption for the new engine on the European cycle is rated at 4.2 litres per 100 kilometres, while emissions are capped at 99 grams per kilometre.

The Cult will sell in Europe with 16-inch alloys, single-zone climate-control air-conditioning, leather-trimmed seats, rear parking sensors and a sunroof with a blind as standard.

Owners will also have a choice of options to fit to the car, including different wing mirror fascias and extra chrome highlights for the bodywork.

Fiat Australia aims to have the new-look 500 in local showrooms later this year. Company senior manager of corporate communications, Nick Raman, said the make-up of variants that will sell here – including the Cult – was still being discussed.

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