It looks like the Chrysler Group is taking the “just right” approach with its zesty Italian import. For those who need more power than the 101 ponies offered in the starter model, but don’t feel the need to go the full Abarth route, the 2013 FIAT 500 Turbo should do just fine. It will still pack the same mighty mite of an engine that’s beneath the hood of the 500 Abarth, but with both power output and pricing that splits the difference between the range-topper and the base model.
“We listened to our customers” said Tim Kuniskis, head of the FIAT Brand in North America. “The new FIAT 500 Turbo is the answer to all the fans that loved the style of our Cinquecento but wanted more power and performance for their daily drive. With 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque, the Fiat 500 Turbo hits the sweet spot between the regular Cinquecento and the high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth. The Fiat 500 Turbo balances and blends the best Italian flavors that our portfolio has to offer, becoming the perfect canvas for customization.”
The 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo is due in dealerships this fall, stickered from $19,500, and you can rest assured that the car benefits from much more than a new engine.
2013 Fiat 500 Turbo: A Dynamic Daily Driver
The 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo certainly doesn’t stint when it comes to performance. Its 135 hp and 150 lb.-ft. of torque represent increases of 34 and 53 percent, respectively, as compared to the 500 proper, and engineers have taken care to ensure the car’s powertrain is robust enough to handle those upgrades. An intermediate driveshaft with larger, equal-length half-shafts are on board to reduce torque steer, for example, while bigger CV joints are in the mix for improved refinement and durability. Drivers also will enjoy a track-tested five-speed DIY transmission, sport-tuned suspension and exhaust systems, a performance brake setup with 11.1-inch vented front rotors and visible Rosso red calipers, and a more aggressive appearance.
To accommodate its more powerful engine, the 500 Turbo moves its front fascia forward by 2.7 inches, allowing engineers to create a sportier face with larger lower openings for improved engine cooling and “nostril inlets” for better air flow. Gloss Black lighting bezels provide a sinister accent that is complemented by the black-painted pockets of the 500 Turbo’s exclusive 16-inch aluminum wheels. Finally, a liftgate-mounted rear spoiler, black-accented rear diffuser, two-piece rear fascia kit and black-bezelled taillamps provide the finishing touch.
Similar attention to detail is on display in the car’s cabin, too. The standard look includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift-knob with silver accent stitching, with the rest of the cockpit done in a sophisticated mix of black and gray; alternatively, customers can choose heated leather chairs in black-on-black or red-on-black. Capping off the package: A “Beats by Dr. Dre” performance audio system with six premium speakers, an eight-inch trunk-mounted subwoofer, and an eight-channel amplifier with audiophile-approved Beats Audio digital sound processing and 368 watts of power.
2013 Fiat 500: Looking at the Lineup
Once the 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo lands this autumn, Fiat Studios across the country will be selling four flavors of Italian nice, including:
- Fiat 500—Starting at $15,500, the entry point to the Fiat family has a peppy 101 hp and 98 lb.-ft. of torque (and a curb weight of under 2,400 lbs.), while ringing up EPA marks as high as 30 mpg city/38 mpg highway/33 mpg combined.
- FIAT 500C—The cabriolet relies on the same powertrain as the 500, and posts similar EPA grades, but also features an innovative, power-operated cloth top that delivers the added thrill of open-air driving—with an MSRP of $19,500.
- Fiat 500 Turbo—Also opening at $19,500, the 500 Turbo gets forced induction and numerous go-fast upgrades to supply 135 hp, 150 lb.-ft. of torque and an expected 34 mpg on the highway; city/combined ratings have yet to be released.
- Fiat 500 Abarth—The ultimate 500 gets 160 hp and 170 lb.-ft. of torque, but it still won’t sting your wallet too badly: The car’s EPA line is 28/34/31, and the price of admission is an even $22,000.
The brand also offers the 500 by Gucci for the fashion forward and is expected to deliver an all-electric 500 for the California market by the year’s end.