Don’t anybody tell FIAT that you can’t sell small cars in America. The Italian auto giant is trying with all their might to make the 500 stick in the U.S., bless their hearts, and their latest effort to invigorate the masses is the new 2013 500 Turbo. Is this the mystery Fiat we spotted earlier this month?
Maybe, but here’s what we know for sure.
Available this fall, the 500 Turbo boasts a boosted engine and a host of other upgraded sports components. Making its official debut today at the Concorso Italiano in Monterey, the 500 Turbo will slot nicely between the 500 and the high-sprung Abarth in both performance and price. Watch out, MINI.
FIAT boosted the standard 1.4L engine by 34-percent to 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft of torque; no small feat in the pint-sized hot hatch. That extra power gets pumped out through a sports exhaust, and twin intakes on a redesigned front fascia feed air to two intercoolers to provide more air for the turbo. It will also return up to 34 mpg, according to FIAT.
So will it turn? With a lower control arm and sport-tuned spring rates from the 500 Sport, you bet it will. Stopping won’t be an issue, either, with power coming from 11.1” front rotors. A mounted rear spoiler improves aerodynamics, along with the redesigned front fascia – extended 2.7” compared to the standard 500, to accommodate the turbo – and black rear diffuser. The interior is flooded by a six-speaker sound system from Beats By Dre, which is all the rage with the kids these days.
FIAT sold just over 3,700 vehicles here in July and could stand to see some improvement. Is the 500 Turbo the model that will give the brand a (pun intended) boost? Adding another dimension certainly can’t hurt, and it does signal the strength of their commitment to the American market.
The FIAT 500 Turbo will retail with an MSRP of $19,500 not including a $700 destination charge.
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