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Geneva show: Fiat’s 500 branches out

Double-bubble: Zagato-designed Fiat 500 coupe was seen on display at Geneva.

500-based Zagato Coupe could be Fiat’s answer to the Mini Coupe

8 Mar 2011

FIAT has presented a bold Zagato coupe concept version of its 500 baby car that might take on the upcoming Mini Coupe.

The Italian car-maker revealed the striking machine at last week’s Geneva motor show, but it is unclear if the concept will make it into production.

Spy shots from Europe suggest Fiat is testing various 500 prototypes, including a high-riding all-wheel drive and a wagon, as well as examining the coupe option.

Fiat had Italian design house Zagato shape the concept coupe which features its traditional double-bubble roof that was originally designed to provide more headroom for occupants wearing helmets.

The show car is a two-plus-two, meaning only two full size front seats, with another two in the back for smaller folk or to be used only on short trips.

The 500 Coupe business case has strengthened after Mini’s announcement that it would produce a coupe to keep the brand fresh.

36 center imageFrom top: Fiat 500 Gucci, Fiat 500 Abarth Esseesse, Fiat 500 Ferrari Tribute.

The Zagato Coupe concept also featured a new two-cylinder engine that is expected to be rolled out across the Fiat Group’s compact models soon.

Fiat hints that the engine is less than 900cc and runs a turbocharger to generate 105HP at 5500rpm and 155Nm at 2500rpm. It says the Zagato Coupe would emit just 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, but does not make a fuel economy claim.

Fiat also used the show to present a limited-edition Gucci version of its 500, a high-end tie-up with the Italian fashion label that is not slated for sale in Australian.

One limited edition Fiat 500 that might come to Australia is the Ferrari Tribute.

Australian Fiat importer, Ateco Automotive, is in negotiations with Fiat to secure a small batch of the special 500 model.

Ateco spokesman Edward Rowe said the deal to secure up to 25 of the unique cars had not been finalised.

“We are still negotiating. If it happens, it will happen this year,” he said.

Anyone interested in a Ferrari Tribute 500 should not get their hopes up, Ateco has more than 25 orders.

“They are all spoken for we have firm deposits on them,” he said.

The Ferrari Tribute features a higher output engine and other performance revisions, but it is the Ferrari badges and bright red paint that has appealed most to those who laid deposits.

Pricing is still being negotiated, but GoAuto understands the discussions kicked off with the price starting at a whopping $80,000.

Ateco hopes to bring that number down, given it managed to source a red-hot Abarth Esseesse performance 500 model, which it is launching in Australia this week, for $34,990.

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