• Jul 24th 2009 at 9:29AM
  • 27

Fiat 500C – Click above for high-res image gallery

With the Fiat 500 still selling like hotcakes, the Italian automaker's performance division is reportedly working on a new combination to further bolster interest in the retro hatch. Melding the best elements of the 500 Abarth and the new 500C convertible, Fiat is said to be preparing a 500C Abarth for launch overseas in time for the next sunny season.

Porting over the engines from the fixed-roof 500 Abarth, the cabrio would be offered with the 133hp 1.4-liter turbo four, upgradable to 157hp with the optional Esse-esse kit. But while most convertibles loose their rigidity and gain weight when the top is lopped off, the 500C's unique roof rail structure keeps torsional twist at bay – to say nothing of the Cinquecento's iconic profile. Pricing would be competitive with the new Mini Cooper Cabrio, and with both the Abarth and convertible variants expected to appear Stateside by 2011, there's a good chance Fiat will throw this one into the mix, too.

[Source: Autocar]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      "But while most convertibles loose their rigidity..."

      Please tell me this is a horrible pun and not a typo. The correct word is "lose", but convertibles tend to get loose (versus tight) because their tops are removed.

      If this wasn't a bad pun, please replace "loose" with "lose".
        • 6 Years Ago
        Lighten up man, it's crystal clear to everyone what the author is saying. Commenters instructing bloggers to edit specific typos is assy.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What's with the hate, everybody? I'd love to have one of these. I only wish I lived someplace where it would make sense. Like the Mediterranean coast.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Strewth! It's only a little 500: leave it alone, it didn't hurt you.

      It is just as much a convertible as the original 500, which it mimics almost exactly - except it's bigger of course - and far more convenient than a full drop-top. It's great, and with the extra Abarth power will be huge fun.

      Not everybody wants a huge three box car with a V8 stuck under the bonnet you know.

      Why does such a delightful car stimulate so much American anger? This could be a thesis subject.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's just too "cute." I don't know why it bothers me, it just does. Like those little troll dolls with the frizzy fluorescent hair and Hello Kitty.

      There are cars in this world that occupy an important rung on the socio-economic ladder. The Yaris, the Focus, the Versa. They are small, yes, but purposeful. People may buy them for a number of reasons, but the first is generally cost, which I understand and appreciate very much. The second is fuel economy - also a noble pursuit. The third is physical dimensions because, let's face it, trying to parallel a Taurus into the post-card sized slot that passes for a parking space these days stops being fun after probably the second try.

      So I understand the case for compact cars. What makes me want to slap around Mini and 500 Abarth drivers is that they aren't REALLY concerned with any of these constraints and driving around in these rolling fashion statements is a slap in the face to the people who would love to own something else, but can't because of reason 1, 2, 3, or any combination thereof.

      There's a community-college biology teacher living next door to me who owns a Yaris, and if you ask her, she'll tell you she loves her car, which she genuinely does. But, if you ask her what car she'd like, it's a 4Runner. I know, I know, people can buy whatever car they want and that's the beauty of this country, and really is reason enough to own just about anything, but there's something about the person who can afford to option out a Mini, a value-proposition that brings MANY superior cars into play, but chooses to stick with the little Brit that smacks of smugness.

      Maybe you're all right. It's been a bad day at the hospital so far. Maybe I can get into one of these pharmacy cabinets...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Very true, Colin. Apologies all around. I'm having a bad day. I drive a Saab and God knows there are plenty of people who scratch their heads at that line of reasoning.

      One more analogy and I'm done with my tirade: The 500 is like the obnoxiously cheery receptionist at your office who has no clue that you're two weeks into FY'10 and haven't finished the budget or closed the last period, and your boss, who has a 2:00 PM tee time, put "Please contact skablaw with all urgent matters" in his out of office message.

      As soon as you're through the door she fires off a "Good MORNING! How ARE you? T G I F, right???" And you smirk while thinking to yourself, "a touch tone menu system used to do your job lady^" It's too bubbly for the real world. There, that's what I think of it. Am I seriously the only one who feels this way?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Dear EU_reader,

      Your SN lends some insight into the subsequent babbling of your post so I can at least identify the root of your prejudice, if not understand it. Where to begin? *sigh*

      It matters to me what people drive because I a) have to see them driving it while I, too, am on the road, and b) because in addition to the other aspects of American culture you take issue with, in this country we need no particular reason to hate, or for that matter, like anything. We simply can do it as a manifestation of our freedom of expression.

      You mentioned a few vehicular references in your post, which is good considering the subject of this blog. I do think the Yaris is worth owning if that's what you need to fit your budget and lifestyle. I didn't reference the Golf because of its price-point, but I also think it is a great car so if that's all you need, great because you'll be getting more than you expect. You want so much for this to be about size, but it isn't. I think the Elise and Exige are glorious, the Miata a triumph, I even briefly fancied the MR2 Spyder.

      I currently live primarily in the Kansas City, MO area, which is home to a significant domestic car production epicenter, in addition to being a bastion of Midwestern traditions and culture - two aspects of which are the aforementioned F-150 and Harley Davidson. No doubt it comforts you to assign prejudicial and baseless stereotypes to me in your mind's desperate struggle to rationalize why anyone would challenge your opinions and preferences. "Whew, skablaw is just some hick Yankee cliche... I was worried I might actually be lame for a second there." Unfortunately for you, Harleys do nothing for me, nor do F-150's (though I am respectful of both).

      While your selective vision was excising portions of my post to better accommodate the erroneous picture of me you were constructing, you may have missed the part about my car... a SAAB. Not only is SAAB not a typical American ride, it's not even a typical European ride. In fact, I'll go so far as to say it is the most "niche market" mass produced marque in the world. It also is not a car that engages in any penis-envy posturing. It is discreet, it is reasonably economical, modest in dimensions and a highly personal choice.

      As for Fiat's patronage of Ferrari and Maserati... well, yes, people should buy them, they are exceptional expressions of the epitome of motoring bliss, and while you obviously could never buy one because your defeatist attitude and, no doubt, wealth-demonizing socialist European leanings will prevent you from ever aspiring to earn the requisite income, there are plenty of more intelligent and motivated individuals who can.

      I'm chuckling a little to myself because it just occurred to me: you are exactly the type of person I would expect to be first in line for a 500 Abarth cabriolet, and have gloriously made the case for, and reinforced ten-fold, my reasoning.
      • 6 Years Ago
      An Abarth convertible? Awesome! I don't like convertibles, but I think this would rock.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I will gut-punch anyone I meet who drives this. There was a time when I was convinced no car could annoy me more than the Mini, but this thing rewrites every definition of repulsiveness I previously comprehended.

      I can now tolerate the existence of Fiat only as a vehicle for cash flow to Ferrari and Maserati. And for those who say, "well get on board because your tax dollars are tied up in it," I couldn't care less. Why? Because I'm the kind of guy who is willing to spend his own money to watch things that disgust me wither and die.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love V8 muscle cars, and I think this thing is pretty cool.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is not a convertible
      • 6 Years Ago
      >>>I will gut-punch anyone I meet who drives this.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's like Helen of Troy, only I'm calling her ugly instead of shacking up with her.

      You have to admit, this has been laudably civil compared to an Evo X vs. WRX STi debate.
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