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New 2018 Fiat 500 is Even More Fun to Drive

The new 2018 Fiat 500 now comes turbocharged, making it the most powerful car in its class. All the details here.

Fiat 500X All-Wheel-Drive System-Explored

A look at the 500X's All-Wheel-Drive system and how it stacks up to the competition

2018 Fiat 124 Spider Model Changes

What's new for the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider.

The Roomy Fiat 500L

The Fiat 500L has the room of a full-sized car within its subcompact dimensions. Learn more about this versatile car

We cover Alfa Romeo!

All you need to know about Alfa Romeo

Abarth 695 Series

Read up on the European 695 Series and get inspired to modify your 500 Abarth

Ride of the Month Contest
Your One Stop Fiat 500 Shop!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

2018 Fiat 124 Spider and Abarth Specs

Fiat 124 Spider Cross Section

2018 Fiat 124 Spider and 124 Spider Abarth Complete Specifications

specifications are based on the latest information at the time publication

Body Style: Roadster
Assembly Plant: Hiroshima, Japan
EPA Vehicle Class: Two-seater
Introduction Date: Summer 2016 as a 2017 model

Layout: Monocoque unibody; front and rear suspension subframes
Construction: High-tensile strength steel body to improve rigidity; double-wishbone
suspension at the front and multi-link at the rear; sport suspension

Layout Monocoque unibody; front and rear suspension subframes
Construction High-tensile strength steel body to improve rigidity; double-wishbone
suspension at the front and multi-link at the rear; sport suspension

Fiat 124 Spider Engine Compartment

Availability: Standard
Type and Description: In-line four-cylinder, liquid-cooled, turbocharged
Displacement: 83.48 cu. in. (1,368 cc)
Bore x Stroke: 2.83 x 3.31 (72.0 x 84.0)
Valve System:
Belt-driven, MultiAir, SOHC, 16 valves,
hydraulic end-pivot roller rockers
Fuel Injection:
Sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless
Cast-iron block with aluminum-alloy head and aluminum-alloy bedplate
Compression Ratio: 9.8:1
Maximum Turbo Boost: (psi / bar) 22 psi / 2.49 bar
160 hp (119 kW) @ 5,500 rpm (Classica and Lusso)
164 hp (123 kW) @ 5,500 rpm (Abarth)
Torque (SAE):
184 lb.-ft. (250 N•m) @ 3,200 rpm (Classica, Lusso, Abarth in normal mode)
184 lb.-ft. (250 N•m) @ 2,500 rpm (Abarth in Sport mode)
Max. Engine Speed: 6,250 rpm (electronically limited)
Fuel Requirement:
87 octane (R+M)/2 acceptable
91 octane recommended
Oil Capacity: 4.0 qt. (3.8 liter) with dry filter
Coolant Capacity
7.6 qt. (7.2 liter) six-speed manual
7.5 qt. (7.1 liter) six-speed automatic
Emission Controls:
Three-way catalytic converter, heated oxygen sensors and internal
engine features
Fuel Economy (city/highway/combined):
26/35/30 six-speed manual transmission
25/36/29 six-speed automatic transmission
Towing: Not recommended
Engine Assembly Plant: Termoli, Italy

Availability: Classica, Lusso, Abarth
Planetary gear train, longitudinal layout
Paddle-shifted driver-interactive manual control (Abarth)
Gear Ratios
1st: 3.53
2nd: 2.06
3rd 1.40
4th: 1.00
5th: 0.71
6th: 0.58
Reverse: 3.16
Axle Ratios: 3.583
Mechanical limited-slip differential Standard on Abarth

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Sport Button

Availability: Classica, Lusso, Abarth
Description: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th gear: Triple cone
Gear Ratios
1st: 4.363
2nd: 2.348
3rd: 1.647
4th: 1.262
5th: 1.000
6th: 0.844
Reverse: 3.863
Final-drive Ratio: 3.454
Mechanical limited slip differential Standard on Abarth

Alternator: Denso SC2 150 A with LIN regulator
Battery: Q85

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Rear Suspension

Front stabilizer bar size:
23.6 mm
Tower strut bar (Abarth)
Rear stabilizer bar size:
Classica and Lusso: 14.0 mm
Abarth Spider: 13.0 mm

Double pinion electric power assist system (DP-EPAS) –
Overall Ratio: 15.5
Turning Diameter (curb-to-curb): 30.8 ft. (9.4 m)
Steering Turns (lock-to-lock): 2.7

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Brembo Brakes

Availability Standard: Classica, Lusso, Abarth
Ventilated front disc
Size and Type: 11-in. floating
Swept Area (per caliper): 10.5 sq. in. (67.8 sq. cm)
Solid rear disc
Size and Type: 11-in. floating
Swept Area (per caliper): 9.8 sq. in. (63.0 sq. cm)

Availability Optional: Abarth
Brembo ventilated front disc
Size and Type: 11-in. opposed
Swept Area (per caliper): 18.6 sq. in. (120 sq. cm)
Solid rear disc
Size and Type: 11-in. floating
Swept Area (per caliper): 9.8 sq. in. (63.0 sq. cm)
Power-assist Type: Vacuum booster
Four-wheel anti-lock brake system (ABS): Standard
Electronic stability control (ESC): Standard
Parking Brake Type: Mechanical (lever type)

Fiat 124 Spider

Wheelbase: 90.9 (2,309)
Track, Front: 58.9 (1,496)
Track, Rear: 59.1 (1,503)
Overall Length: 159.6 (4,054)
Overall Width: 68.5 (1,740)
Overall Height: 48.5 (1,232)
Approach angle, degrees: 13.1
Curb Weight, pounds (kg):
2,436 (1,105) six-speed manual (Classica, Lusso)
2,477 (1,124) six-speed manual (Abarth)
2,476 (1,123) six-speed automatic (Classica, Lusso)
2,516 (1,141) six-speed automatic (Abarth)
Fuel-tank Capacity: 11.9 gal. (45 liters)
Drag Coefficient (Cd)
0.35 all models

Fiat 124 Spider Interior

Seating Capacity: — Front 2
Head Room: 37.4 (950)
Legroom: 43.1 (1,096)
Shoulder Room: 52.1 (1,325)
Hip Room: 52.0 (1,320)
Seat Travel: 8.3 (210) driver / 6.7 (170) passenger
Recliner Range (degrees): From 25 nominal, 12 forward and 22 rearward
Cargo space, cu ft: 4.94 (140 liter)

Availability Standard: Classica
Size and Type: 195/50R16 three-season
Mfr. and Model: Yokohama Advan Sport V105
Revs per Mile (km): 879 (1,414.6)

Availability Standard: Lusso and Abarth
Size and Type: 205/45R17 three-season
Mfr. and Model: Bridgestone Potenza S001 (Lusso)
Bridgestone Potenza RE-050A (Abarth)
Revs per Mile (km): 856 (1,377.6)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How to Lift The Fiat 500 and 500 Abarth

Fiat 500 Abarth on Stands

If you like to work on your car, you may have noticed your Fiat 500 or 500 Abarth presents some challenges when it comes to putting the car up on Jack Stands. Getting a jack stand under the front is not a problem, the procedure is similar to other cars, the issue is in the rear. Due to its diminutive size, the location where you jack the car up is also the place where you need to put your jack stand.

Fiat 500 Jack

This isn't a problem if you are just jacking your car up briefly to change a tire. The jack supplied by Fiat is sufficient for that. If your car didn't have one, they are easily purchased at your dealer or an online Fiat specialist.

The Fiat owners manual has detailed instructions on how to use the standard scissor jack and below is the official video that demonstrates the jack's use.

If you intend to do any work more involved than changing a tire, you need to put your car up on sturdy jack stands. Tire changing jacks are not meant to be used while servicing your car and can slip or just break. This happens a lot more than you would think so don't take a chance. Never put your body under a car supported by any jack, even if it is a hydraulic floor jack.

How to Put Your Fiat 500 and 500 Abarth up on Jack Stands

Here is where you place your jack stand on the Fiat 500 and 500 Abarth:

Fiat 500 Jacking Points

Position 2 is were is where you place your jack stand on the Fiat 500 and 500 Abarth. At the front, it is the chassis reinforcement leg. The rear is on the pinch weld seam that runs along the bottom of the rocker panel. The location, depending on your model, is noted by an arrow stamped into the rocker panel or sideskirt.

Fiat cautions the following:

Do not position hoisting device on any suspension component, including the front or rear suspension crossmembers. Do not hoist on the front and rear bumpers, the lower radiator crossmember, or the front engine mount.

Do not attempt to raise one entire side of the vehicle by placing a floor jack midway between the front and rear wheels. This practice may result in permanent damage to the body.

When placing hoist lift pads, use care to avoid contact with the body side sill and body cladding.*

Also Note: The hoisting and jack lifting points provided are for a complete vehicle. When the engine or rear suspension is removed from a vehicle, the center of gravity is altered making some hoisting conditions unstable. Properly support or secure vehicle to hoisting device when these conditions exist. Failure to follow these instructions may result in serious or fatal injury.

Fiat 500 Front Jacking Point

The location in the front to place your jack stand is this chassis reinforcement leg.

Note: Do not allow the hoist lift arm (3) to contact the rocker panel or sideskirts (2) or damage to the vehicle may result.

Fiat 500 Rear Jacking Point

The green arrow marks the "pinchweld" on the rocker panel.

Note: Do not allow the hoist lift arm or lift pad to contact the the rocker panel or sideskirts (1), the rear suspension (2), or underbody protection (3) or damage to the vehicle may result.

Fiat 500 Jacking locations

The pinchweld seam is used for the supplied Fiat scissor jack and where you need to lift the car. The picture above is for the European 500 but the jacking locations are similar if not exactly the same for the NAFTA 500.

You can use a floor jack with jack pad or some thick card board to protect the body of the car, however, a v-cut pinchweld pad would be ideal. Cars equipped with side skirts pose a concern because there isn't much room between the skirt and the pinchweld and if the jack's lifting pad presses against the side skirt it will be damaged. Improper lifting is the main reason for a side skirt on a Fiat 500 separating away from the body.

Pinchweld pad

Now the question is can you get one of the v-cut pinchweld pads like the one below in there without damaging the sideskirt? The taller and narrower pinchweld pads work better than the shorter ones because the sideskirts are very close to the front pinchweld. You place these pads on your floor jack.

Jack Stand Pad

The jack stand pads like the ones below will protect the body of your car. If you are buying jack stands, get the narrowest heads you can find as the space is tight on cars with sideskirts.

The Easy Way to Put Your Fiat 500 Up on Jack Stands:

Below is how I lift my Fiat 500 Abarth and 500 Sport. The information provided worked for me and is provided for entertainment purposes and I can't guarantee it will work for you. Lifting your car is a task normally performed by professional, competent mechanics. If performed incorrectly, it can cause serious injury or damage your car. DO NOT attempt this procedure if you're not comfortable assuming these risks yourself.

Fiat 500 Rear Jack Position

The Fiat 500 is designed to be lifted by professionals with garage lifts, so a do-it-yourselfer can run into trouble getting the car up on jack stands due to the limited space and jacking points. In the front, the car can be jacked on the pinchweld with the appropriate pad or the chassis reinforcement leg under the floor, so that is not really a problem. The rear, however, is tougher because there is only one lift point.

The above picture shows the rear pinchweld area where you lift the car. The problem is this is also the place where you need to put the jack stand to support the car. You can't work on a car supported by only a jack so you need to put the car on a jack stand, but how do you do it when the jack is there?

Here is how I do it:

Make sure your car is on a firm, level surface and you should block the wheels on the opposite side of the car so the car doesn't roll.

Jacking up Fiat 500 Abarth

Get your floor jack and two jack stands ready. You'll be jacking the car up on one side.

Fiat 500 Abarth Front Jack Point

Place your floor jack at the front jacking location indicated by the arrow. I didn't have a pinchweld pad handy so just used thick cardboard to protect the body.

Fiat 500 Jack Stand Position

Jack the car up on the front pinch weld with a floor jack. When you lift the front high enough the rear will come of the ground. Remember to lift at the arrow on the sideskirt or rocker panel. As mentioned above, DO NOT lift the car in the center of the rocker panel or you may damage the car's unibody. Have a jack stand handy and slide it under the chassis reinforcement in the front. Keep jacking the car until the it is high enough so you can slip a jack stand under the rear pinchweld.

Fiat 500 Rear Jack Stand Position

Go to the back of the car and place your jack under the pinchweld where the arrow on the sideskirt or rocker panel indicates. Use some padding between the body and the jack stands / jacks to protect the body. The jack pads on my stand was too wide and contacted the sideskirts so I used thick cardboard which will also work.

Now lower the car slowly while constantly going back and forth checking the alignment of the front and rear jack stands. This is the most critical part so take your time. The jack stands must remain stable and not tilt. In the rear, the stand must not get hooked on the sideskirt or it can put pressure on the fasteners and pop it loose.

Once the full weight of the car is on the jack stands continue lowering the jack slightly more and you can leave it under the car for added security. Leaving a wheel under the car is also not a bad idea for added safety.

This procedure will easily raise the car so you can get one side up on stands. You can get both wheels up if you want or just the front. If you just need to do the rear, you can still do it this way as it keeps you from jacking on the rear axle beam, which is less stable.

Images: FCA, internet and Author
Reference: FCA

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Fiat Brand Sales for February 2018

Fiat 500 Lounge

Fiat brand sales for February 2018 show a slight increase over January's record low sales. Fiat sold a total of 1,241 cars in February compared to 1,229 in January. Sales in January were the all-time lowest for the brand since its introduction back into the US market in 2011. This glimmer of good news is tempered by the brand's overall sales being down 42 percent for the month and 43 percent for the year compared to the same periods last year.

2018 Fiat 500 Cabrio

Sales of the Fiat 500 hatch and Cabrio models, in particular, have taken a hit, being down an average of 63 % so far this year. The lack of availability of popular models have significantly impacted sales. This is the result of the Fiat 500 production line being closed at the end of August while the 2018 model year changes were being implemented. Production of the 2018 Fiat 500 is scheduled to begin early in the second quarter of this year.

Fiat 500L

Fiat 500L MPV sales enjoyed a 64 percent increase last month compared to same month last year. Sales of the roomy 500L have posted good gains since last August, and are up an average of 32 % over the past seven months compared to the same period a year ago.

February sales of the Fiat 500X crossover and 124 Spider haven't fared as well, both being down 24 and 26 percent respectively.

Fiat 500X

Still, the 2018 model year for Fiat holds promise as the year brings a new 500 hatch and Cabrio with dramatically improved performance, and new colors and improved and enhanced features are distributed throughout the full model range. Fiat has also been upping their dealership sales outlets over the past year. There are now over 380 Fiat dealers in the country.

Steve Beahm, Head of Fiat USA

February Fiat News
The big news in February was the unveiling of the new 2018 Fiat 500 hatch and Cabrio models. Italian cars are all about passion, excitement and being fun to drive and the new 2018 500 turns up the heat on all three attributes. Fiat has boosted the horsepower a significant 35 percent which dramatically increases the fun to drive factor. The 500 now has the most horsepower in its class. New colors and trim also add to the enjoyment

Abarth Spider Steering Wheel Logo confirmed the 2019 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth will come with the long-awaited Abarth logos on its steering wheel and seat backs.

DI Corse Abarth 500 Mefistofele

We stopped by a Fiat Club of America meeting held at the DI Corse / Driving Impressions facility in Dover, New Jersey and were treated to a great time and an impressive array of club member's cars. We highly recommend you join your local Fiat club. There are club chapters all over the country.

Fiat 500L Euro version

Fiat 500L production reached a milestone in February. The 500L is the best selling car in its segment in Europe and Fiat produced the 500,000th 500L in February.

Fiat Brand Sales in the United States, February 2018
Fiat 500Current MonthLast YearVol ChangeCurrent YTDLast Year YTDVol Change













Sources: FCA US LLC.
Images: FCA 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Fiat 500L Hits 500,000 Milestone

Half millionth 500L

The 500,000 Fiat 500L rolled off the assembly line at the FCA plant in Kragujevac, Serbia yesterday. The fun to drive Fiat 500L MPV is known for packing full-size interior room within its sub-compact outside dimensions and for being the best selling car in its market segment in Europe.

Introduced in 2012, the Fiat 500L has been the top-selling car of its type for five years throughout the continent. Since 2017, Fiat 500L has gained a market share of approximately 22 percent in Europe and has exceeded 52 percent in Italy. In January 2018, sales in Europe were up 5 percent year-over-year.

2018 Fiat 500L USA model

Fiat 500L sales in the US have also been up an average of 30 % over the past six months compared to the same period a year ago.

The 2018 Fiat 500L has been given a makeover and features a redesigned exterior with new colors, plus a revamped interior offering numerous comfort and convenience enhancements.

The 500,000th Fiat 500L was produced on February 22, 2018, and was a 500L Cross 1.6 MultiJet 120 HP in two-tone Sicilia Orange with a black roof. The 500L factory at Kragujevac was opened in April 2012 following three years of renovations and a billion Euro investment, making it one of the most modern automotive production facilities in Europe.

Read more:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

2018 Fiat Freezeout Held at DICorse

Lancia Delta HF Integrale
This rare, Martini limited edition Lancia Delta HF Integrale owned by DICorse / Driving Impressions was one of the cars on hand at the Fiat Freezeout

Our friends at the New Jersey Chapter of the Fiat Club America (FCA) held the annual Fiat Freezeout event earlier this month. Fiat Freezeout is a great way to beat the winter blues by hanging out with fellow Italian auto enthusiasts and enjoy cars, refreshments, and more cars!

2018 Fiat Freezeout Party
The NJ Chapter of the FCA club is a new chapter but is growing by leaps and bounds. The event held on a cold February day had over 55 people from 5 states attend.*

This year's event was held at the Driving Impressions / DiCorse facility in Dover, New Jersey. Bob Zecca from DICorse and Driving Impressions is a longtime Italian car enthusiast and is one of the founders of the NJ Chapter of the FCA Club. Bob has a passion for racing and has a great collection of cars. DICorse / Driving Impressions not only offers top-quality accessories and racing gear for your car from companies like DNA and Seletron Chipbox and many others, but also has a full-service shop. They know Italian cars!

Abarth 500 Mefistofele
Another DICorse / Driving Impressions car was this Abarth 500 they brought in from Italy. Nicknamed Mefistofele, it is said to be the fastest Abarth 500 in the world with 325 hp and a 178 mph top speed. You can read more about the Abarth 500 Mefistofele here.

The New Jersey Chapter of the FCA Club is vibrant and one of the fastest growing chapters in the country with plenty of activities and energy. Italian cars thrive at high-speed on the Autostrada and twisty mountain roads, and there is no better place to experience the full potential of these cars than on a race track. Bob's racing background comes into play, and the club has track days planned as well as the usual drives and get-togethers.

DICorse racetrack simulator
Driving Impressions has a racetrack simulator that was a big hit at the Freezeout.  Anyone within driving distance of Dover, NJ needs to check it out.

The neat thing is that these track venues don't necessarily mean racing and some of these events are about enjoying your car at a speed you feel comfortable with without competing and without the fear of tickets or unsafe roads.

World Rally Legend Lancia Delta
World Rally Champion says it all...

Being in the FCA club also means you have fellow members that can share their know-how and experience with the cars. Some members have 50+ years of expertise on these cars and have a wealth of information they happily share. The club chapters all work together, and FCA club is one big family where everyone is welcomed.

500 Abarth Mefistofele
Another shot of the Abarth 500 Mefistofele

500 Abarth Mefistofele interior
Inside of the purpose built racer Mefistofele.

One of the pleasures of owning an Italian car is it is unique in the world of boring, everyday cars. Sharing your enthusiasm with like-minded, friendly people is an excellent way to enjoy your car even more and is highly recommended. You can find your local FCA Club Chapter here and don't forget to stop by the FCA Forum hosted by Fiat 500 USA.

Important links:

*Image courtesy of the NJ FCA Club. All others are the Author's.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Fiat Press Conference at Chicago Show

2018 Fiat 500 Press Conference

Full 2018 Fiat 500 introduction press conference held at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. In the video, Matt McAlear, Senior Manager Product Development, Passenger Car Brands, FCA, introduces the 2018 Fiat model lineup, plus answers questions at the end.

Read more:

Video source:Carwebster YouTube channel
Images: FCA

Fiat 500 2018