Small and sporty, cute and cuddly, smart and retro. It may not look like that big of a deal, but the Fiat 500 is set to invade the US shores over the next year or so. Now you could compare that to a fight between a small boy and a towering, nasty giant, but arm this boy with a shield and a sling shot, and you have just bagged yourself a country, Mr. Fiat.
The recipe is simple. Take a cute looking car from the 1950's, give it a small, reliable platform, and fill it with the latest Bluetooth and Media technology, then limit the numbers at it's launch to create desirability - sounds oddly familiar to a certain British runabout that has been resurrected by BMW in the past.
With the 500, tt comes with either a 1.2L petrol engine, a 1.4L petrol engine, or a 1.3L multi-jet diesel engine. The 1.2L petrol gives you a fantastic 55.4mpg on a combined cycle and delivers 69bhp @ 5500rpm. Now I know that doesn't sound that great if you like your cars to be fast and furious, but if you are concerned about your carbon dioxides and the state of your bank balance, then this is definitely good news. However... there is a slightly mad version.
The Abarth 500 delivers a frightening 135bhp @ 5500rpm from a 1.4 Turbo T-Jet 16v engine, which is pretty good, considering the car only weighs 1035kg. Not quick enough? How about the 500 Abarth Esseesse? This dealer fitted option pack adds another 25bhp, giving you 160bhp for you to play with. But what about the car itself? Is it good? Does it work as an overall package? Well, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher drives one. Enough said?
No? Ok, how about more madness? What if I said you could have a Ferrari inspired version? The Fiat 500 Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari is powered by the same 1.4 Turbo T-Jet 16v engine that appears in the Abarth and Abarth Esseesse, but this time they have pumped it up to 180bhp. According to Fiat, it will be equipped with an MTA (Manual Transmission Automated) electromechanical gearbox with steering wheel paddles, 17 alloy wheels, Brembo 284 mm multi-section brake discs, carbon fiber door mirrors and a Record Monza variable back-pressure dual mode exhaust.
And the best bit? The Fiat 500 Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari comes with a Ferrari inspired paint job, just like the one on the F430 Scuderia... Nice!