The Fiat 500 wins hearts and wallets by trading in large measure on its unassailable cuteness and compact dimensions. But that's not enough for Sergio Marchionne and Company, who are looking to broaden the range's appeal with this new 500L. Certainly, it's bigger by nearly every measure, but after having clapped eyes on this thing in person at the Geneva Motor Show, we think it gives up a disturbing amount of the standard car's adorableness in exchange for the extra utility.
Clearly, it's not for lack of trying – Fiat has splashed out not just on a lot of new sheetmetal and light fixtures, it has also opted for a very different (and markedly more conservative) instrument panel inside. The family-minded Cinquecento has a roofline that apes that of the Mini Countryman, but like the 500, there should be no lack of customizability, including a whopping 30 different paint colors.
When it launches in Europe at the end of this year, the 500L will be available with Fiat's groundbreaking 900cc, two-cylinder TwinAir and 1.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines, along with a 1.3-liter MultiJet diesel. No North American release date has been made public, though the model is expected to be available in our market before too long. Check out the gallery of live shots above, then look below for a short official video and press release.
Fiat 500L: world preview at the Geneva Motor Show
Fiat presents the first official images of the 500L, the new model which will have its world preview at the International Geneva Motor Show on 6 March this year.
500L - the L stands for 'Large' - is the new addition to the 500 range, which, following the Abarth and Cabrio versions, furthers the brand's strategy, with the aim of extending its offer by introducing models in a position to satisfy different types of customers.
With the 'L', the 500 expands and grows together with customers, to accommodate new experiences and needs once more.
With MPV passenger space combined with the feel of a small SUV on the road and the restrained dimensions and efficiency of a B segment car, the new Fiat model defies the conventional distinctions between the various segments, combining the typical characteristics of different categories in order to create a distinctive alternative to the traditional B and C segments.
With the 500L, the Fiat brand demonstrates its creative spirit once more: a marriage of functionality and emotion, it features a 5-seater single-volume structure which is 414 cm long, 178 cm wide and 166 cm high. It is a further development of the concept of 'cab forward' introduced by Fiat with the 600 Multipla, a precursor to the concept of the compact people carrier.
Produced at the Fiat factory in Kragujevac, Serbia, 500L is a 'first car' for those who won't settle for anything less than Italian style, the versatility that comes from a functional design and engine technology that sets the bar in terms of efficiency.
The Fiat 500L will be introduced to Europe in the last quarter of 2012, with an engine range which will initially comprise two petrol engines (TwinAir and 1.4-litre) and a turbodiesel engine (1.3 MultiJet II) and the most advanced, state-of-the-art technology from Fiat Group Automobiles.
Starting today, the first official video of the 500L is available on the www.fiatpress.com website. The 500L is the new Fiat car that will make its world debut on 6 March at the Geneva International Motor Show.
The 500L - the L stands for 'Large' - is the new addition to the 500 range, which, following the Abarth and Cabrio versions, furthers the brand's strategy, with the aim of extending its offer by introducing models in a position to satisfy different types of customers.
With the 'L', the 500 model grows in size to accommodate new experiences and needs once more. If the 500 is the super-compact car perfect for young people and the city, the Fiat 500L is the first car of the 500 family able to contain all of life's greatest emotions all together: children, friends, journeys. Every time great emotions become great experiences.
The 500L expresses all of the taste of Italian style with a distinctive look and interprets the totally Fiat capability of conceiving and designing cars which are innovative in substance and in form. Substance turns into the modern equation of "space-efficient" that distinguishes all of the most innovative Fiats in history, from the 600 Multipla onwards. Just as the 600 Multipla was the forerunner of the concept of compact people carrier, the 500L is the new Fiat interpretation of the Simply More philosophy applied to the Multispace concept. The 500L reformulates the category of compact cars for the modern family in an emotional vein by developing some of the 500's winning emotive elements in unprecedented forms.
Designed by the Centro Stile Fiat, which drew inspiration from the cab forward concept, the modern reinterpretation of a car concept designed to achieve better external visibility and a large amount of internal light, the 500L has 'seamless' glazing that runs all around the car to improve the sense of command of the road and to make parking manoeuvres easier. The glass roof - the largest in its category - also floods the passenger compartment with plenty of light, just as the colour range with no less than 30 body colours is record-breaking for its segment.
ln the same way, the level of comfort that the new 500L offers will be a benchmark owing to the roominess of its interior, the best in its category in relation to the external dimensions - 414 cm long, 178 cm wide and 166 cm high - in addition to a boot with a capacity of almost 400 litres that is able to hold up to 5 roller suitcases or a full-size push chair.
The 500L defies the conventional distinctions owing to its passenger space typical of an MPV, its presence on the road characteristic of a small SUV and its compactness and efficiency worthy of a B segment car. By following this novel recipe, the Fiat 500L puts together characteristics peculiar to different categories to offer a concept of distinctive and versatile first car that is an alternative to the traditional saloons of the B and C segments.
The Fiat 500L will be introduced to Europe in the last quarter of 2012, with an engine range which will initially comprise two petrol engines (TwinAir and 1.4-litre) and a turbodiesel engine (1.3 MultiJet II). Standing out amongst the petrol engines is the new 0.9-litre TwinAir, the new development of the multi-award-winning Fiat two-cylinder engine that set the world fuel consumption and emissions record thanks to its low displacement and inclusion of a high-efficiency turbocharger. The emissions level will set the record amongst petrol engines for the MPV category in this latest evolution as well.
Turin, 5 March 2012