That bit of Italian in the title? It means "open wide and let the sun in"... we think. Either way, the 2012 Fiat 500c is doing just that. Maybe not the sun, but it is letting in the bright lights of the New York Auto Show stage.
Set to hit our shores this spring, the droptop two-door Fiat is powered by a 1.4-liter MultiAir inline-four-cylinder engine. Output is rated at 101 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque. Paired with a five-speed manual transmission, the powertrain is good for 38 miles per gallon on the highway.
The real magic of the 500c, however, sits in the cloth top that serves roof duty. With the press of a button, it slides back and can work like a soft sunroof or go all the way down and give occupants the sun's full monty. Check it out in the gallery below, and then click past the jump to read the full press release.
Live photos copyright ©2011 Jeff Glucker/AOL
* FIAT Brand North America reveals new 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio at the New York International Auto Show
* Italian by design: beautiful craftsmanship, confident handling and city-friendly proportions combined with a clever open-top design provides Fiat 500c passengers with quietest interior sound quality, most interior space, rear-seat legroom and shoulder room among key competitors
* New 1.4-liter engine with state-of-the-art MultiAir® technology, invented and patented by Fiat Group, delivers power, fuel efficiency and refinement
* Two models, 14 exterior colors, 12 unique seat color and material combinations, plus a choice of two interior environments and three exterior soft-top colors allow customers to personalize "their own" Fiat 500c at www.fiatusa.com
* The new 2012 Fiat 500c arrives in U.S. FIAT Studios beginning in spring 2011
Expanding on the iconic qualities that have made the original Fiat 500 (Cinquecento) a timeless icon, the new 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio combines open-air freedom and driving enjoyment with beautiful Italian styling, timeless functionality, efficient design and innovative technology for an entirely new generation of drivers.
"Perfectly timed with the warm weather and excitement of spring, the new 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio expands our product lineup while paying homage to the brand's rich heritage of open-air cabrios that deliver style, value and driving enjoyment," said Laura Soave, Head of FIAT Brand North America. "The new Fiat 500c has been intelligently tailored for our market – now with an added dose of sunshine and panoramic views at the push of a button."
More than 50 years of FIAT brand's successful small-car formula
The Nuova Cinquecento debuted in the summer of 1957 as a cabrio and offered a distinctive canvas roof that opened right to the rear of the vehicle. More than 50 years later, the new 2012 Fiat 500c showcases the brand's ingenuity to build world-class small cars that ignite a spirit of the times through simple design, beautiful craftsmanship and timeless value. As a result, the Fiat 500 models have continued to surprise and delight customers worldwide.
The new Fiat 500c builds on the Italian styling, all-season performance, fuel-efficient powertrain options, interior comfort for four passengers and more than 35 safety and security features that have made the Fiat 500 hatchback model an international success.
Cleverly designed with a multi-position power-retractable cloth top, fully stamped body-side silhouette and 70 percent less header shake then key competitors – the new Fiat 500c delivers leading interior sound quality (quietest at 45 mph, 70 mph and lowest powertrain noise). In addition, its longer windshield and minimized header design maximize rear-seated passengers' outward visibility, while minimizing cabin turbulence. And for easy access to the cabrio's trunk, premium "parallelogram" liftgate hinges conveniently position the liftgate out of the way, while the power-operated cloth top simultaneously retracts.
Metro-friendly proportions, now with an even greater panoramic view
The new 2012 Fiat 500c combines city-friendly proportions, iconic Cinquecento cues and a fully power-operated cloth top - all wrapped in modern Italian styling that conveys simplicity and joy.
At the front, the new Fiat 500c model's signature "whiskers and logo" face features circular projector headlamps and lower park lamps that resemble the latest Fiat models while paying homage to the distinctive elements of the original Cinquecento in stylistic harmony. To show its road-holding stance, the cabrio's front fascia features chromed trim and tapers outward toward its large wheel arches, while a horizontal cooling duct adds design character and additional engine cooling.
Differentiating the Fiat 500c from the hatchback model is a slightly longer windshield that is designed to provide passengers with a maximized outward view. In addition, the windshield elegantly conceals the reinforced upper-cross member that ensures the cabrio's rigid body structure during spirited driving.
From the side, the Fiat 500c's pillars stand out and present strong arches, while the shape of the soft top provides a more slender silhouette compared with the hatchback version. Below, the black or available chromed belt molding, the signature body-side A-line slopes forward for a dynamic look, while its lateral section features clean surfaces and flared wheel arches to deliver a modern interpretation of the historic Cinquecento. To keep its design simple and modern, the hood-to-fender seam is elegantly cut at the A-line. Filling the wheel wells are four unique wheel designs, all with the "500" logo on the center caps. For more design character, bi-halogen projector headlamps and clear-lens taillamps are visible from the side profile thanks to the way the cabrio's rounded sides link up to the front and rear. Providing enhanced durability, new lower-sill spats protect the body-side from stone chips.
At the rear of the new Fiat 500c, a roof-mounted and color-matched spoiler improves aerodynamics, while elegantly integrating the center high-mounted stop lamp that cleverly functions with the roof up or down. Separating the premium cloth top from the liftgate is a chrome trim accent that also highlights the cabrio's width. To keep the rear design clean, the lighting functions are divided vertically following the liftgate's cutline. Finishing off the iconic styling of the Fiat 500c is a chromed license plate brow, a motif from the original Cinquecento that was inspired by a bicycle saddle.
Intelligent power-cloth top stylistically reinterprets the past
As a contemporary solution to the famous canvas roof on the original Cinquecento, the new 2012 Fiat 500c features a premium dual-layer power-operated cloth top that is designed to deliver all-season driving pleasure with the top up or down. Directly inspired from the historic Cinquecento, the Fiat 500c features a wide glass backlight to retain the same visibility as the hatchback, while its rounded corners are a direct inspiration from the historic model.
With just the push of a button, the Fiat 500c's power-operated cloth top retracts up to the rear spoiler during speeds up to 60 mph (a midway point can be chosen by pressing the button anytime between). Press the roof button again, and the roof will neatly fold all the way open and tuck neatly behind the rear head restraints (up to 50 mph).
The power-cloth top is also intelligent. When the liftgate is opened for trunk access, the power-operated cloth top automatically retracts back to the rear-spoiler position to avoid any obstruction.
Modern elegance inspired by timeless design features
Even with the top up, the interior of the new 2012 Fiat 500c is airy and roomy, and an environment designed to be comfortable and enjoyable for any destination.
The interior design theme of the new Fiat 500c is an artistic blend of clean lines and conveniently located features inspired by the historic model. Through the available leather-wrapped steering wheel, the cabrio's single concentric instrument cluster features the speedometer, tachometer and trip computer in a distinct and effective manner. Integrating the latest in portable vehicle navigation for improved route guidance, the instrument cluster features a central LCD monitor that shows pictograms from the TomTom® navigation with BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication. These elements, together with a highly integrated center stack and a uniquely designed radio and climate control system, can be ordered in Ivory or Black for an extra level of personalization while also influencing the interior theme to be more sporty or vintage.
The instrument panel of the new Fiat 500c continues the perfect blend of modern simplicity with iconic Italian styling. The upper instrument panel is designed to convey a sense of refinement and elegance and features color-matched exterior accents for added detail. Frequently used vehicle buttons are highlighted with chromed circular rings and are centrally located on the exterior-matched instrument panel trim for a premium appearance. The lower instrument panel and center console highlight the new cabrio's space utilization with large- and small-sized storage spaces to keep mobile devices at a convenient reach.
A new passenger glove box stores valuable items, while concealing the BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication system's USB port for instant integration of mobile devices including an iPod. For an integrated look, the new automatic- or manual-transmission shifter and bezel are ergonomically located into the lower instrument panel and feature a mechanically styled shift knob accented in black or leather depending on the model.
The new Fiat 500c's interior features highly detailed driver and passenger seats available in 12 color and material combinations for maximum personality with an added touch of personalization. Inspired by the historic Cinquecento of the 1960s, the new seats offer the same unique split-color effect: monotone fabric at the bottom and the upper seatback, while the head restraint is matched to the Ivory or Black interior environment. On the Fiat 500c Lounge model, uniquely designed cloth seats provide an upscale look and feel, while premium leather seats are available in traditional Nero (black), a Marrone (brown) hide or ultra-sporty Rosso (red) and deliver a sophisticated look.
Continuing the clean interior design theme, the door panels of the new Fiat 500c feature a contrast between the upper trim upholstered to match the seats, while the surrounding area elegantly incorporates large map pockets and a specially designed space- and weight-saving BOSE® Energy Efficient Series premium audio system. Paying homage to the past, the chromed "hook" door-handle shape recalls one of the most remembered features on the original model while integrating modern-day power door locks.
A small cabrio that lives big
Thanks to careful analysis of the interior cabin, the new 2012 Fiat 500c features the most interior space (76.2 cubic feet) among key competitors, while numerous built-in storage locations quickly and conveniently store mobile devices and travel gear. Even the Fiat 500c's rear seats deliver the most rear-seat legroom and shoulder room among key competitors, providing comfort for two adults, while delivering the same high-quality comfort and craftsmanship as the driver and front-passenger seats. To highlight the fact that the cabrio is roomy, the rear passengers' raised and bolstered seat backs are identical to the hatchback model, while even more headroom is present with the dual-layer roof up.
In addition, the luggage compartment is spacious, accommodating 5.4 cubic feet of gear with the seats up and a maximum of 23.4 cubic feet of gear with the 50/50 split-fold rear seats folded down. To more easily load all of the gear, designers maximized the liftgate width and kept the trunk lift-over height low.
Fiat 500c embodies a new vision of technology's role in the achievement of sustainable mobility
Adapted for U.S. customers, the new 2012 Fiat 500c features an all-new 1.4-liter 16-valve engine with state-of-the-art MultiAir® fuel-saving and emissions-reducing technology – the quietest powertrain versus its competitors. Invented and patented by Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT), MultiAir provides world-class levels of power, best-in-class 30 mpg city (manual transmission) fuel efficiency, quality and refinement.
Delivering spirited driving and well-suited for the Fiat 500c's lightweight design and city-friendly size, the efficient and responsive 1.4-liter MultiAir in-line four-cylinder engine provides 101 horsepower (75 kW) at 6,500 rpm and 98 lb.-ft. (133 N•m) of torque at 4,000 rpm. When paired with the five-speed manual transmission, the Fiat 500 delivers up to 38 highway mpg.
Helping to achieve 10 percent greater fuel efficiency and power while decreasing CO2 emissions up to 10 percent compared to engines without the system, the new Fiat 500c features the world's first Fully Variable Valve Actuation (FVVA) system on a production engine. Also known as MultiAir, this innovative intake-valve system replaces a traditional overhead cam with hydraulic actuation controlled by four, fast-responding, electronic solenoids – delivering instantaneous air-fuel adjustment at any time in the engine cycle for maximum efficiency and power.
eco:Drive™ Application helps to improve driving efficiency
The new 2012 Fiat 500c with state-of-the-art eco:Drive™ Application demonstrates that an automaker's environmental responsibility should not stop when the car leaves the production line but rather extend into the actual way customers drive their cars.
Fiat's eco:Drive Application collects all necessary data relating to vehicle efficiency and, through the BLUE&ME™ USB port, transmits it on to any USB memory stick. Once the driver plugs the memory stick into his or her personal computer, the system presents the driver with the Fiat 500c's detailed environmental performance, including the CO2 emission level for each trip. In addition, FIAT's eco:Drive Application analyzes the driver's style and provides recommendations on how to modify his or her driving style to help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Originated in Europe, Fiat's eco:Drive Application has encouraged drivers to set challenges – CO2 reduction targets for specific journeys or over a set period of time. And as part of a global "eco:Ville" community, the system encourages all drivers to come together and pool their fuel and emissions savings to illustrate how many drivers' individual contributions help the greater good.
All-new six-speed automatic delivers added performance and fuel efficiency
The new 2012 Fiat 500c offers two reliable, robust and sophisticated transmissions uniquely designed for improved efficiency and driving fun.
An all-new six-speed automatic transmission with driver-selectable gear changes provides the new Fiat 500c with smooth shifting and excellent fuel economy. For more engaging driving, the driver can select the "Sport" mode.
Should the driver select 'Sport' mode on the instrument panel, the all-new six-speed automatic transmission provides greater driving enjoyment. Through advanced powertrain management, 'Sport' mode enables quicker gear changes, a unique throttle map for improved engine responsiveness and allows each gear to be held for longer periods near the redline.
An upgraded five-speed manual transmission features new gear ratios for the U.S. market, allowing the new Fiat 500c to deliver improved fuel efficiency and quicker off-the-line acceleration. For improved durability and pedal feel, a new self-adjusting hydraulic-clutch system is standard on the manual-transmission-equipped Fiat 500c.
Two new well-equipped Fiat 500c models
The new 2012 Fiat 500c offers two exciting models infused with style, technology and convenience features to make life under the open sky more personalized and fun.
Fiat 500c Pop
Designed for the individual who wants Italian style, efficiency and personalization options, the new 2012 Fiat 500c Pop model includes a premium dual-layer power-cloth top, manual transmission, 15-inch steel wheels with chrome-accented wheel covers and all-season tires, seven standard air bags, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD/MP3 radio with auxiliary audio input, chromed exhaust tip, power windows, power door locks, power heated mirrors, speed control, BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology with USB port, eco:Drive Application and iPod control capability, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, reconfigurable Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) with trip computer, miles-to-empty, average fuel economy and tire-pressure monitoring display (TPM).
The 2012 Fiat 500c Pop model arrives at FIAT Studios in late spring.
Fiat 500c Lounge
Tailored for the individual who wants their cabrio to reflect their fashion-oriented lifestyle, the new 2012 Fiat 500c Lounge model features premium amenities (in addition to the Fiat 500c Pop features) including the all-new six-speed automatic transmission with driver-selectable gear changes, front- and rear-fascia chromed accents, chromed mirror caps, fog lamps, 15-inch aluminum wheels with all-season tires, premium cloth seats, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, automatic climate control, and BOSE® Energy Efficient Series audio system with six premium speakers and subwoofer and security alarm.
The 2012 Fiat 500c Lounge arrives at FIAT Studios in late spring.
More than 500,000 ways to stylize and personalize the new Fiat 500c
With 14 paint colors available in metallic, non-metallic and premium tri-coat pearl finishes, and three available cloth top colors, every new 2012 Fiat 500c will be distinct. In addition, the interior is available in two interior environments, Nero (Black) or Avorio (Ivory), with 12 unique seat color and material combinations for an individualized look.
A full line of authentic Fiat 500c accessories by Mopar® will offer customers even more personalization possibilities at their local FIAT Studio, including unique striping packages, exterior and interior styling accessories and authentic FIAT-styled merchandise.
Customers are now able to configure their own Fiat 500c on-line at http://www.fiatusa.com.
More than 35 safety and security features
State-of-the-art connectivity combined with a heritage of top international safety ratings and more than 35 safety and security features keep passengers of the new 2012 Fiat 500c connected, comfortable and secure.
In Europe, the Fiat 500 was the first A-segment vehicle to achieve a five-star Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) adult occupant protection rating.
The new 2012 Fiat 500c features seven standard air bags including: driver and front-passenger advanced multi-stage air bags, driver's knee air bag, full-length side-curtain air bags and standard seat-mounted side pelvic-thorax air bags, all to offer enhanced protection to all occupants in the event of a collision. Reactive head restraints, which activate during a rear impact, are another innovation helping to minimize injuries by reducing the gap between the head restraint and the passenger's head.
Innovative TomTom® Navigation with BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication technology
Developed as a collaboration between Fiat and Microsoft, BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication technology is an in-vehicle, voice-activated communication system that allows the driver to operate a Bluetooth®-compatible phone while keeping his or her hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Using a series of voice commands, the driver can place phone calls, access the phone's address book or listen to MP3s. BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology supports most mobile phones with Bluetooth technology.
With the available TomTom Navigation with BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology, the system integrates an innovative 4.3-inch (10.9 cm) TomTom hand-held navigation unit that docks on top of the new 2012 Fiat 500c's instrument panel. With its large touchscreen display, simple map displays with available real-time traffic, weather and more than 7 million points of interests, TomTom navigation with BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology is intuitive for the driver to use. And with its direct integration into the Fiat 500c's interior system, the driver is able to use steering-wheel-mounted controls to make operation even easier.
FIAT FORWARD CARE™ takes care of the new family members
All 2012 Fiat 500c models will come with a standard four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and four years of unlimited roadside assistance. In addition, the new Fiat 500c includes a three-year/36,000-mile maintenance program that includes wear-and-tear items and trip-interruption reimbursement.