Fiat 500 Cattiva on the way

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While its dealer body has been clamoring for new and larger models, Fiat has actually done a pretty good trade selling all manner of 500 variants, from the standard hatchback and 500C cabriolet to its Abarth models, 500e electric runabout and special editions like the Gucci.

Fiat USA was a little slow out of the gates as it built up brand awareness and its dealer network, but it's now chugging along, with combined 500 model sales outselling that of its arch rival Mini (provided you subtract the Countryman crossover, a model for which Fiat has had no direct competitor up until this point). Franchisees are finally about to get the bigger, broader-appeal model they've been seeking in the form of the five-door 500L, but Fiat is still going to be devoting a lot of attention to their whisker-faced icon, the Cinquecento.

As proof, at the first drive event of the 500L in Baltimore, Fiat North America boss Jason Stoicevich confirmed that his company will produce a production version of the 500 Cattiva concept shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Stoicevich wouldn't divulge the model's pricepoint or availability timeframe, but he told us, "I can guarantee you it will happen. I just can't tell you when."

The Cattiva is based on the middle-child 500 Turbo, and is essentially a trim-and-tape package, albeit a very attractive one. It includes rich 'Rame' (read: copper) paint with black trim, including 'Nero' gloss black light housings front and rear and a matching roof-mounted spoiler along with unique charcoal 16-inch alloys. Inside, changes are limited to a 'Matte Nero' instrument panel and trim, along with silver stitching on the black sport wheel and shift knob. No word on any improvements to the Turbo's 135-horsepower, 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder, but at least that should keep the price from rising much above the standard 500T's $19,500 MSRP. As far as timing goes, we're thinking that this model won't be too far down the line after the company launches the 500L.

Back when it revealed the 500 Cattiva concept, Fiat also showed a matte gray Tenebra showcar that builds upon the even hotter 500 Abarth, but Stoichevich declined to comment on that concept's chances for production.

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