Late last year, the Fiat 500 emerged to strong reviews, with a promise from executives that a cabriolet version was on the way.
As promised, the convertible version, the 2012 Fiat 500c, is coming to the brand's boutiques later this year--via the 2011 New York Auto Show.
The differences between the hardtop and soft-top 500 are mostly structural. Chrome trim and fender vents lend the 500c some jewel-like details, and four different wheel styles are offered. Fiat says the cabrio's windshield is a little longer, for better airflow, and the glass frame is reinforced to lend some more rigidity to the open-air version.
The top itself is power-operated on all versions, and Fiat says its double-layer quality makes the cabin of the 500c quieter than rivals (none of which are sold in the U.S.). Articulated hinges move the 500's decklid out of the way while the top stows beneath, and the top can be lowered at speeds of up to 60 mph, or raised at speeds of up to 50 mph. A midpoint setting means it has a semi-sunroof mode, like the MINI Cooper Convertible.
The power top doesn't leave much room for carry-ons, though. The cargo area's 5.4 cubic feet when it's lowered; with the top up and rear seats folded down, some 23.4 cubic feet are preserved for stuff.
The 500c has the same 101 horsepower, 1.4-liter four-cylinder as in the hatchback. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, a six-speed automatic an option.
Like the 500 hatchback, the 500c convertible has options for unique interior trim, a TomTom navigation system and Bluetooth connectivity. The USB port comes bundled with the nav package, and is tucked away in the glove box.
Pop and Lounge editions will be offered, while the Sport hatchback isn't mirrored in the 500c lineup. The 500c Pop comes with the power top; manual transmission; air conditioning; AM/FM/CD player; power windows, locks and mirrors; cruise control; Bluetooth and a USB port. The 500c Lounge model adds on the six-speed automatic; satellite radio; automatic climate control; and a Bose audio system.
Pricing will be announced later this year.
For more coverage, see MotorAuthority's 2011 New York Auto Show page
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