• Oct 11th 2006 at 11:28AM
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Fiat's launch of the chic retro 500 supermini, scheduled for late next year, is bound to be at least as successful as BMW's revival of the MINI. The original iconic Cinquocente didn't have much power, but that doesn't stop Michael Schumacher from driving one. (Nor did it stop Luigi from stacking his tires in Cars.) The new 500 should follow the same formula and draw on Fiat's expertise with small cars. And although it has not been officially confirmed, Fiat execs have quietly nodded , a convertible version is in the works, and our British mates over at Auto Express have got a couple of computer renderings showing what the drop-top 500 will look like.

Wisely, the 500 barchetta won't try to crowd rear seats in with the convertible top and a useable trunk in the small package. For the same reasons, the convertible 500 is not expected to use a folding tin roof, going with a cloth top instead. Otherwise the drop-top should carry over the same features from its fixed-roof sibling. Don't expect a lot of power, but the diminutive car won't need it. 1.1 and 1.2 liter fours will be offered at the 500's launch, along with a 1.3-liter Multijet diesel, expected to be joined later by the zesty Abarth version with either a 1.4-liter turbo or 1.6-liter turbodiesel. Buyers can also expect a broad range of personalization options inside and out.

Fiat doesn't sell in the North American market, but we wouldn't be surprised to see a small firm importing the 500 on a more limited basis – Hollywood's gonna want a piece of this.

[Source: Auto Express]

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