Most of the time we come to major auto shows knowing exactly what to expect. But once in a while an automaker throws us a curveball we weren't anticipating. Like Fiat did, for example, with this Zagato-bodied 500.
Unfortunately just a concept (for the time being anyway), the 500 Coupé Zagato is actually a throwback to a similar coachbuilding joint-effort from the 1950s. The sleeker bodywork features Zagato's trademark double-bubble roof and almond-shaped side glass, lacquered in special three-layer Pop Yellow paintjob.
Fiat also used the occasion to demonstrate a 105-horsepower version of its TwinAir two-cylinder turbo engine, which you can read about in the press release after the jump. But you'll want to check out the images in the galleries below for all the sumptuous angles.
Live photos copyright ©2011 Noah Joseph / AOL
The concept "500 Coupé Zagato" makes its debut in Geneva
The "500 Coupé Zagato" - the concept created by one of the most famous automotive design names in the world, with the collaboration of the Fiat Group Automobiles' Centro Stile - makes its debut at the 2011 Geneva International Motor Show.
Presented at the Fiat stand, the prototype stands out for its sinuous yet decidedly sporty and contemporary contours, inspired by the namesake predecessor built in the 1950 by the famous Italian bodyworker on the chassis of the 500. Yet while Zagato had then completely revamped the exterior style of the basic model, today the designers emphasised the silhouette of the Fiat 500, already similar to a coupé, giving it an even more aggressive appeal. In addition, the unique shape of the roof features the characteristic "double hump", the true emblem of Zagato, teaming the lowering of the car with retaining excellent interior comfort.
Like many historic custom-built cars, the concept car affords the classic "2+2 seater" formula, retaining the compact dimensions of the basic model: indeed, it is 355 centimetres long, 163 cm wide and 149 cm high, with a 230 centimetre wheelbase. So it is a compact car which "conceals" under the bonnet the revolutionary TwinAir 105 HP engine which maximizes the "fun to drive" of this car, while ensuring, consistently with the downsizing philosophy, excellent performance levels against a considerable reduction in fuel consumption and emission levels. To achieve this objective, the engine features a specific "turbomatching" (engine-turbocharger coupling).
The 105 HP TwinAir engine, which has never been used on any of the Group's models yet, is therefore the ideal engine to be installed in compact sized sporty cars, as demonstrated by the high torque delivered (155 Nm at 2,500 rpm) and the absolute world record in terms of absolute power (105 HP at 5,500 rpm). In addition, at 124 HP/litre, this engine is also one of the world leaders in specific power. All while ensuring reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions unrivalled in this category: 95 g/km.
Designed mainly for a young and dynamic male target, the "500 Coupé Zagato" also accommodates the needs of a female target owing to the painstaking pursuit of stylistic solutions resulting from the most interesting trends on colours and materials. For instance, the prototype livery is Pop Yellow, a specific three-layer bodypaint colour tending towards white which emphasises the vehicle contour while giving it a pop image, full of energy and brimming with personality.
The same styling effect can be found in the interiors, specifically the seats, inspired by the traditional sporty "diamond" seats and high-tech fabric teamed with yellow chamois leather and the black natural leather of the surrounds which give it a young, contemporary look. The decidedly sporty appearance can also be found on the steering wheel - also covered in leather with contrasting stitching the same colour as the yellow chamois leather grips - and on the dashboard surround, matching the exterior colour, which was treated in burnished "eco-chrome" to give it a more aggressive appeal. Lastly, another typical feature of coupé vehicles is the lining of the roof panel with dark high-tech fabric embellished by a transparent single-filament yarn that gives it a delicate shine.
In perfect synch with its sporty personality, the "500 Coupé Zagato" features burnished chrome exterior elements, 17" "chrome shadow" wheels with a brand new double spoked shape and synthetic inserts (made of APP-TECH), 205/40 R17 tyres and 4 perforated brake discs.
A car of enormous appeal, this prototype is consistent with Fiat's history and mission: to make cars distinguished by an original style, advanced technology made accessible to all and intelligent solutions that simplify and improve life on-board. An example? Just like the basic model, the "500 Coupé Zagato" also features "my-port", the practical multimedia port installed on the dashboard allowing the driver to link up to the world via a latest generation smartphone enabled to access the Internet and satellite navigation.
Turin, 1st March 2011