Let's call this little guy Abarth Light. For 2013, Fiat is adding a new model to the 500 range, and if you find the base car's porridge to be a bit too cold but don't want the full viciousness of the hot Abarth, this middle child Turbo should be just right.

Fiat has employed a detuned version of its 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged inline-four, good for 135 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque.

The big change worth talking about is under the hood where Fiat has employed a detuned version of its 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged inline-four, good for 135 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. That represents increases of 34 and 52, respectively, over the standard 500, but falls 25 hp and 20 lb-ft short of the mighty Abarth. That grunt is matched with a five-speed manual transmission, and specific performance enhancements include a sport suspension, better steering calibration (to be fair, we've heard that one before with the Abarth), stiffer shocks and upgraded brakes. Sounds potent. And we certainly hope that the Turbo's sport-tuned exhaust delivers the same sort of throaty growl that we've fallen in love with on the Abarth. (In case you forgot, head over to our First Drive and hit the play button on the video to hear that superb exhaust note.)

Visually, the Turbo is set apart from base models with the addition of a unique aero kit and smoked-out headlamps. Inside the cabin there are sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and optional heated leather seats. The coolest interior feature, however, is that the 500 Turbo will employ the Chrysler Group's Beats by Dr. Dre audio system. Good, since the standard stereo in the 500 is, well, not good.

The 500 Turbo goes on sale this fall priced from $19,500, (*)excluding $700 for destination.

Which begs the question: Is this new Turbo model a better overall package than the super-fun Abarth? It's cheaper, offers the same sort of chassis upgrades, sacrifices a small amount of power and has that killer new sound system, all for a few thousand bucks less than the range-topping Scorpion. We'll have to wait until we get the Turbo out on the road before we decide. For now, scroll down for the full details in Fiat's press release.
Show full PR text
New 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo: a New Flavor Hits the Sweet Spot in the Cinquecento Line-up

Fiat 500 Turbo hits the sweet spot in the Cinquecento line-up


- New model amplifies the Cinquecento's power, performance and personalization levels while keeping intact the character of the iconic 500

- Beefed-up powertrain: turbocharged and twin-intercooled 1.4-liter MultiAir® Turbo engine for 135 horsepower, 150 lb.-ft. of torque, track-proven manual transmission and sport exhaust Precise handling: sport-tuned suspension, steering, front-lower control arms and high- performance brake system

- Dynamic styling: performance-designed fascias and side sills provide athletic appearance and deliver aerodynamic functionality

- Studio-quality sound: new segment-exclusive Beats by Dr. Dre audio system available for high- definition music experience the way the artist intended

- Fiat 500 Turbo arrives at FIAT Studios nationwide this fall with an MSRP of $19,500, becoming one of the most affordable turbo-charged vehicles in America

Monterey, Calif. , Aug 17, 2012 - Today at the Concorso Italiano – one of the largest gatherings of Italian vehicles in North America – the FIAT Brand introduced the new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo, touting a 135-horsepower 1.4-liter MultiAir® Turbo engine, sport-tuned suspension, track-proven brakes, dynamic exterior design and sport-styled interior. The new Fiat 500 Turbo answers the call for enthusiasts who are drawn to the Italian style of the Fiat 500 but want more power and performance for their daily drive.

"We listened to our customers" said Tim Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand North America. "The new Fiat 500 Turbo is the answer to all the fans that loved the style of our Cinquecento but wanted more power and performance for their daily drive. With 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque, the Fiat 500 Turbo hits the sweet spot between the regular Cinquecento and the high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth. The Fiat 500 Turbo balances and blends the best Italian flavors that our portfolio has to offer, becoming the perfect canvas for customization."

New 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo

Behind its performance-designed front fascia, the new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo features a single turbocharger, twin intercoolers and sport-tuned exhaust to deliver 34 percent more power (135 vs. 101 horsepower) and 53 percent more torque (150 vs. 98 lb.-ft.) compared to the Fiat 500's naturally aspirated 1.4-liter MultiAir engine.

Developed for high-output applications, the Fiat 500 Turbo is paired to the track-proven C510 five- speed manual transmission with a 3.35 final-drive gear ratio for quick acceleration and faster top speed, while achieving up to 34 mpg highway. In addition, the beefed-up powertrain features an intermediate shaft with equal-length and 23 percent larger (28.1 mm vs. 22.8 mm diameter in the Fiat 500) half shafts to mitigate torque steer. To handle the increased power and torque of the new 1.4- liter MultiAir Turbo engine, larger constant velocity (CV) joints with 53 percent greater torsional strength (2600 N•m vs. 1700 N•m in the Fiat 500) deliver added durability and refinement.

For a more aggressive appearance, the new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo features a pronounced front fascia, pushed 2.7 inches forward of the Cinquecento's signature "whiskers and logo" face, to accommodate the new 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine. Below, larger openings provide greater engine cooling, while twin "nostrils" are precisely positioned on both sides of the front fascia to maximize airflow in and out of the two intercoolers (both intercoolers are visible through the "nostril" inlets). Finishing off the front are new Gloss Black headlamps and parking lamp bezels for a more menacing look.

The Fiat 500 Turbo features bolder side skirts to create a more vertical bodyside profile, while also enhancing its iconic Cinquecento shape. Behind the unique 16-inch aluminum wheels with Nero (black) painted pockets, the Fiat 500 Turbo features a high-performance brake system with semi- metallic brake linings at all four corners, larger 11.1-inch ventilated front rotors for greater stopping power (up from 10.1-inch) and brake calipers lacquered in Rosso (red) paint. To make sure this Cinquecento properly handles the more powerful engine, the Fiat 500 Turbo features a unique lower control arm and the 500 Sport model's sport-tuned spring rates, shock tuning and steering calibration.

At the rear, a liftgate-mounted spoiler extends the roofline of the Fiat 500 Turbo and improves the hatchback's aerodynamic behavior. New taillamps with Gloss Black bezels replace chromed units for a discrete look. Below, the two-piece rear fascia accentuates the road-holding stance of the Fiat 500 Turbo with a black-accented rear diffuser designed to optimize airflow, while a new sport-tuned exhaust provides an enthusiast-desired sound.

Exterior colors for the 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo include Argento (silver), Bianco (white), Grigio (gray), Nero (black), Rame (copper), Rosso (red) and all-new Verde Azzurro (green & blue.)

Inside, the new Fiat 500 Turbo features sport-styled seating, sport-designed leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel accented with Argento (silver) stitching, and a Grigio/Nero (gray/black) seating and interior environment. For an even more upscale look, heated leather seating in Nero/Nero (black/black) or vivid Rosso/Nero (red/black) is available.

The 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo arrives to FIAT Studios this fall with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $19,500 excluding $700 destination charge.

New Beats by Dr. Dre audio system

New for 2013, the segment-exclusive – and first-time-ever in a small car and FIAT automobile – Beats by Dr. Dre audio system offers passengers of the Fiat 500 Turbo a high-definition music experience the way the artist intended. The available Beats Audio studio-quality sound system includes six premium speakers, an 8-inch dual-voice coil (DVC) subwoofer with trunk-mounted enclosure and eight-channel 368-watt amplifier with Beats Audio digital sound processing (DSP) algorithm.

About the FIAT Brand

The FIAT Brand stands for discovery through passionate self-expression. It encourages people to be in charge of their lives, live confidently and celebrate the smallest of things with infectious excitement. That philosophy is embodied by the North American introduction of the iconic Fiat 500 or Cinquecento – a small car that lives big. Italian at heart and rooted in a rich heritage, the 500 is synonymous with modern simple design blending form, function and a pride of ownership that is genuine.

Reminiscent of the original Cinquecento, the 2012 Fiat 500 and Fiat 500c (Cabrio) build on the vehicle's global popularity. Since its initial launch in 2007, more than 800,000 Fiat 500 vehicles have been sold in more than 80 countries around the world. The model's unquestionable popularity is the result of the Fiat 500's great ability to deliver unmatched personalization options with advanced solutions in terms of quality, engine and passenger comfort. In addition to success on the sales front, the Fiat 500 has earned more than 80 awards, including being named the 2008 European Car of the Year, 2009 World Car Design of the Year, Best New Engine of 2010 (FIAT MultiAir Turbo) and a 2012 "Recommended Pick" by Consumer Guide.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 58 Comments
      Bill Burke
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another model for Fiat that further expands its appeal. After a slow start with only one model, the 500 is selling up to expectations. With new Fiat models besides the 500 about to launch, the unsettled Fiat dealers should have the floor traffic they have always anticipated. The Fiat brand's integration into the US market was never predicted to be easy but it has two big things going for it... It's sold by Chrysler and it's Italian by design. Fiat will be a mainstay brand in this hemisphere and the US before long.
        over9000
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bill Burke
        unreleased models does not guarantee future outlook of the brand's success, your argument is flawed.
          RJC
          • 2 Years Ago
          @over9000
          They've done well enough on the rest of the planet. Why not just one more country?
      David Thompson
      • 2 Years Ago
      No matter how many times I look at Autoblogs montly sales numbers, I still can't believe there's a single person in the world buying a "smart" car when 500's are available.
      Gordon Chen
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is beats by dre really an upgrade over the Bose speakers of the middle trims?
      Toujou
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well this car beats the specs of the Basic Mini Cooper now! But the Fuel efficiency isn't announced yet for 500T and it's a 5 speed manual Mini Cooper: 121hp 114 lb-ft / 2535 lbs./ 6 speed manual - 20,400 Fiat 500T: 130 hp 150 lb-ft / N/A so I used the Sport model to Abarth 2363-2533 lbs/ 5 speed manual - 19,400
      spa2nky1
      • 2 Years Ago
      No...bad Chrysler group, repeat after me... twin-air...twin.....air!
      Jonathan Ippolito
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oh great another overpriced Fiat 500 that nobody wants and that won't sell that can sit at a dealership and gather dust . This post was a complete waste of time .
      desinerd1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice joke from Fiat. What kind of loser would pay $20K for this?
        lasertekk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @desinerd1
        Generally speaking, about 4000 a month in the US. No data on Canadian, Mexican, or South American sales.
      Dzinziruk
      • 2 Years Ago
      What an overpriced POS.
        gtv4rudy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dzinziruk
        @Dzinziruk, you can't compare this to a Yaris, a Sonic, a Versa, a Fit, a Fiesta or an Accent. You are buying nostalgia.
      ngiotta
      • 2 Years Ago
      $20k is a lot of cheddar for 135hp and zero cargo room. Cute little car, but a niche at best.
        Mike Pulsifer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ngiotta
        0 cargo room? We can fit two weeks worth of groceries back there. We went on a trip recently and fit a couple suitcases and a backpack back there. All without folding down any seats.
        Gordon Chen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ngiotta
        U have to consider its amenities. It has bluetooth and the dr dre beats speakers and many nice things.
      The Wasp
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm not really a fan of half-steps but it sure sounds nice to get a little bit more pep for less than $20k.
        csrecord
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        But, there are other choices that have more hp and are less money. And not chick like. /ducking
          dan1malk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @csrecord
          Those cars have 500(!) pounds on the Abarth. And I'm sorry, but you'll have a real thin case arguing they aren't "chick-like" either.
          David Donovan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @csrecord
          @ dan1malk, a Sentra SE-R Spec V comes to mind right off that bat, and so does a Scion tc
          David Donovan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @csrecord
          They may have 500 pound on it but they have a hell of a lot more hp and tq to move it around. And if you're really worried about them being chick-like then you must be really insecure with what you drive
          dan1malk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @csrecord
          Like?
      domingorobusto
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Abarth I test drove had barely enough power to suit me, so I don't think I'd ever be happy with this detuned version. And a lot of the extra kit that comes with the Abarth (especially the limited slip) is completely worth the extra $2k IMO. So I see this as the bad side of a middle ground, where it aims at bridging the the economy and performance camps and ends up just kind of as a failed half measure to both. It's not inexpensive and cheap to operate like the Sport and not the tiny giant slayer that the Abarth (sort of) is. Personally I fail to see the point when the Abarth is just $20 a month more. I'd eat out one time less a month and not constantly berate myself for not getting the real deal.
        Gordon Chen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @domingorobusto
        The abarth does not have Limited slip actually.
        gtv4rudy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @domingorobusto
        domingorobusto, ...cars this size don't come more powerful than this except the Cooper S and it's not much more.
        NightFlight
        • 2 Years Ago
        @domingorobusto
        Not everyone wants the hardcore performance model.
          csrecord
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          Nightflight - Lol "hardcore performance model"
        domingorobusto
        • 2 Years Ago
        @domingorobusto
        After some research, right you are about the LSD. I wasn't allowed to push it hard enough on my test drive to really tell. The e-diff program must be pretty decent though, I didn't really notice the lack of an LSD on the one hard launch I was allowed to do. But the Abarth isn't particularly hard core IMO. the ride is quite comfortable, the clutch is still nice and light, the heavily bolstered seats are still very comfy, etc. And the Turbo comes with most of those features that would make the Abarth less comfortable anyway (stiffer shocks etc.). So you're not really giving up much in the way of comfort, just sacrificing some performance in the name of a fairly small amount of money saved on initial purchase. This is all just my personal opinion. I tend to go towards one end of the spectrum or another when the cost of going over the midrange is so small. Why bother with the midrange package when for a small amount more will get you the rest of the way up the ladder, especially when the upgrade doesn't come at the cost of comfort?
      ELLIOTT RAFAEL
      • 2 Years Ago
      this sounds like a great car. i would be interested in a test drive when it comes out to the dealerships this fall. :-) im so glad that FIAT has made a comeback with newly designed high performance vehicles. My next purchase will be a fiat regardless. :-)
        David Donovan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ELLIOTT RAFAEL
        You must be from Europe Elliott if you think 135 hp = a "high performance vehicle"
          dan1malk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @David Donovan
          You must be very insecure David if you think horsepower is all that matters.
          David Donovan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @David Donovan
          You must be new to the website then 2o6 if you don't think people complain about it being slow.
          2o6
          • 2 Years Ago
          @David Donovan
          People don't complain about the Veloster being slow. They complain about it being a total bore to drive.
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