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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Poll: What other engine should be offered in the Fiat 500?

We know the North American Fiat 500 will come with the 1.4 liter MultiAir 4 cylinder engine, but in Europe, the 500 also offers two other noteworthy engines; a 1.3 liter MultiJet II diesel and the twin cylinder TwinAir.

Both engines are at the cutting edge of design and engineering, offering the best technology for their respective fuel type.

Which one would you prefer to see here? I've put up a poll to let you voice your opinion.

Below you can read up on each to help make your decision. Have fun!

1.3L 16V MultiJet II Turbo Diesel

95hp @ 4000 rpm
148 lbs ft @ 1500 rpm

0-100 kph: 10.7 seconds
Top Speed: 180 kph (112 mph)

Fuel consumption (combined urban/Hway): 3.9 l/100km (60 mpg)**
If MultiJet II comes to North America, it could change how Americans perceive diesel engines and what type of engine they prefer equips their car.

Read about MultiJet II here.

TwinAir 875cc 8V Twin Cylinder Turbo*

85hp @ 5500 rpm
107 lbs ft. @ 1900 rpm

0-100 kph: 11 seconds
Top Speed: 173 kph (107 mph)

Fuel consumption (combined urban/Hway): 4.1 l/100 km (57 mpg)**
*TwinAir with 105hp has not been released in Europe yet. It's safe to assume the fuel economy will be somewhat less.

The TwinAir concept (smaller engine offering the same or more performance of a larger one) will come to Chrysler engines in various forms in the near future. Whether we'll see the actual pioneer twin-cylinder engine is not known.

Read about TwinAir here

1.4L 16V gasoline engine
105hp @ 6000 rpm
97 lbs ft @ 4250 rpm

0-100 kph: 10.5 seconds
Top Speed: 182 kph (113 mph)

Fuel consumption (combined urban/Hway): 6.3 l/100km (37 mpg)**
Above are the specs for the European version of the 1.4 liter 16V. Please note for comparison purposes, I have used the European 1.4L, the North American 1.4L will have MultiAir and have different power output and fuel economy figures.

Update: Poll Has Ended

The Results

The poll has ended and the results are: More people prefer to see the Diesel MultiJet II engine being offered next in the Fiat 500. Out of the total of 1117 votes, the Diesel MultiJet II garnered 709 votes (63%) compared to 408 votes (36%) for the TwinAir.

It was a tough choice, but the the people have spoken! Now, if we're lucky, one day we might see this gem here!

Thanks to all that voted!

I've been planning to do this poll for a while, but thanks to reader peterjerome for
inspiring me to get it done!

** European fuel economy figures

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fiat 500 engine starts production in the US next month

Chrysler announced it will begin manufacturing the engine used in the upcoming Fiat 500 early in November. The engine is a 1.4 liter 4 cylinder equipped with Fiat's innovative MultiAir valve system.

MultiAir is Fiat's revolutionary way of increasing power and torque while reducing fuel consumption and emissions. You can read all about MultiAir here.

The engine, which will be manufactured at Chrysler's Dundee, Michigan engine plant (GEMA), will be shipped to Mexico and installed into the 500, currently scheduled to begin production on December 13.

GEMA, which stands for Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance LLC, was a manufacturing arm of Global Engine Alliance LLC. The alliance was a joint venture of Chrysler, Mitsubishi Motors, and Hyundai Motor Company for developing a line of shared engines. On August 31, 2009, Chrysler bought out the two partners and the engine facility is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chrysler Group LLC.

This is significant because it was the stipulation in the original Chrysler/Fiat alliance that in order to increase its stake in Chrysler, Fiat would have to produce this engine here in the USA.

Below is an excerpt of the official Fiat/Chrysler agreement:

"...Fiat will have right to receive up to an additional 15% equity interest (by vote and value) on a fully diluted basis. This stake can be obtained in three tranches of 5% each subject to the achievement of predetermined targets, in particular, achievement of regulatory approvals to produce the FIRE family of engines in the USA; achievement of sales of Chrysler vehicles outside NAFTA, and achievement of regulatory approval to produce a Chrysler model based on Fiat technology. Upon obtainment of such additional 15% interest, Fiat will also have the right to appoint another director of Chrysler..."

Fiat currently owns a 20% stake in Chrysler. Its ownership level will rise to 35% once it meets 3 requirements; build the 500 engine here in the US, sell Chrysler products outside of NAFTA and produce a Chrysler automobile using the award winning C-Evo chassis

Currently Fiat owns 20% of Chrysler and oversees day to day operations at the company. Producing the 500's engine here will up the ownership level to 25%.

You can read more on the merger here. This link takes you to the first post on the merger back in March, 2009. Click newer posts to page forward to see the progression of news.
With thanks to Chrysler Media

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fiat 500 at SEMA 2010

Mopar 500 Concept

Chrysler has just released info on the hottest Fiat 500 seen in North America. This car is simply awesome! Here's the first picture and a description of the car...

This vehicle is an extreme version of the popular European version of the Fiat 500, which has won 60 international awards, including the 2008 European Car of the Year and the 2009 World Car Design of the Year.

The concept car features a number of unique parts created by the Mopar Underground team, including a front airdam/lip, lower sill, spoiler, rear valance and brake ducts. The 2010 Fiat 500 features a lower ride height on 18-inch Alcoa wheels and flared wheel arches reminiscent of the Fiat 500 models that dominated race tracks in Europe back in the day.

The vehicle rides on Pirelli tires with a mean, wheels-out-and-down stance that is accentuated by a Dark Thunderbolt Gray exterior. The black roof, black hood, headlamp and fascia graphics tie the headlamps together. The lower “chin” of the Fiat 500 hooks up with a flare that surrounds the front wheel. A lower side sill, also in black, adorns the sides.

The interior is driver-focused, with a red seat and red door insert on the driver’s side, with piano-black accents on the instrument panel. The remainder of the interior is outfitted in a subdued black. The always-sporty Fiat 500 is bolstered with the power and performance that comes with Mopar parts. Mopar bolt-ons include a Mopar custom exhaust system that provides horsepower and torque gains and a Mopar strut tower brace that reduces body flex in the front end and improves drivability and handling. Two additional Fiat 500 vehicles will be on display in the Mopar Alley, outfitted with a full complement of Mopar parts and accessories. The all-new Fiat 500 will be available for ordering in the U.S. later this year in the Sport, Pop and Lounge models, followed by the all-new Fiat 500C (cabrio) in the spring of 2011. Courtesy Chrysler Media

Fiat 500 Prima Edizione number 4 goes for $69,000

*For illustration purposes only. Not a Prima Edizione

The second Fiat 500 Prima Edizione, donated for charity by Fiat North America, sold for $69,000. The auction was held at the National Italian American Foundation's 35th Anniversary Gala event on Saturday, October 23, 2010.

The car, a Fiat 500 Prima Edizione, features a sequential VIN and special numbered badge according to production order, and was car number 4. Last week, car Numero Uno (number 1) was auctioned at Toronto's 17th annual Venetian Ball and went for $85,000 (read more here).

Fiat 500 Prima Ediziones numbered 1 through 10 and number 500 were held in reserve by Fiat North America for charities, museums, etc.

Here are more details about Saturday's event, courtesy of Chrysler Media:

Prima Edizione Fiat 500 Auctioned at National Italian American Foundation’s 35th Anniversary Gala
*Fiat 500 Prima Edizione auctioned for $69,000
*Proceeds to benefit the National Italian American Foundation’s education and scholarship

*A total of 500 Prima Edizione vehicles will be sold in the United States
October 23, 2010 , Washington, D.C. -
Fiat North America auctioned off a limited edition Fiat 500, the Fiat Cinquecento ‘Prima Edizione,’ at the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) 35th Anniversary Gala. The vehicle generated $69,000 and proceeds from the auction will benefit the NIAF’s education and scholarship program. The winning bidder of this special edition Fiat 500 was former EDS Vice Chairman, Paul Chiapparone, who resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage and culture of Americans of Italian descent. The NIAF gala is one of the premier annual events in the nation’s capital, attracting more than 3,000 guests from the United States and Italy.

“Fiat North America is delighted to be a part of the National Italian American Foundation’s 35th Anniversary gala,” said Laura Soave, Head of Fiat Brand North America. “We are honored to auction a special edition Fiat 500 Prima Edizione, knowing that the proceeds will help benefit the foundation’s education and scholarship program.”

Chrysler Media

Friday, October 22, 2010

US Fiat dealer list (unofficial)

Here is an unofficial list of reported new US Fiat dealers. This was gathered from various sources and the internet, ie., online newspapers, dealership Facebook pages, anonymous sources, etc.

This is published in the interest to keep people informed and up to date, however, it must be stressed that this is all preliminary and there are contracts and agreements that need to be signed, so if you call the dealership, remember, it's not official until it's official.

Also, don't expect a lot of information, because once the contract is signed, there is a lot of training, hiring and building that needs to be done, so bear that in mind when you call. There isn't a trailer full of 500s parked out back, yet...

Remember, this is a partial list, I update it as I find more dealers. In the meantime, this is what I've found so far:

Revised Oct 23, 26, 28, 29, Nov 2, 5


Airpark Dodge Chrysler Jeep


Little Rock
Little Rock Chrysler Dodge Jeep


Putnam Fiat

Costa Mesa
Jon Gray's OC Fiat


Moreland Auto Group


Fort Myers
Galeana Chrysler Dodge Jeep

Gator Chrysler Dodge Jeep

Sunset Dodge Chrysler Jeep

Winter Haven
Dodge Chrysler Jeep of Winter Haven in Winter Haven


Tom O'Brien Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram

Indianapolis - Pending
Champion Chrysler Dodge Jeep


Cardinal Chrysler Jeep Dodge


Criswell Chrysler Dodge Jeep GEM


Premier Cape Cod Chrysler Dodge Jeep

Kelly Jeep Chrysler


Golling Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram

Van Dyke Dodge

Suburban Auto Group


Brooklyn Park
Luther Brookdale Chrysler Dodge Jeep

Inver Grove Heights
Hasslequist/Pohlad Group


Baxter Chrysler Jeep Dodge

New Jersey

Cherry Hill
Cherry Hill Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram

New York

Orchard Park
West Herr Auto Group in Western New York

Brown's Jeep Chrysler Dodge

Larchmont Chrysler Jeep Dodge

Westbury Jeep Chrysler Dodge


Bob Boyd Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram

Yark Automotive Group


Portland Area
Town and Country Chrysler Jeep


South Philadelphia- Pending
Family Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram

Kelly Chrysler Dodge Jeep

Jeff D'Ambrosio Chrysler Jeep Dodge

South Carolina

Fort Mill
Stateline Chrysler Jeep Dodge


Nyle Maxwell Auto Group

Helfman Dodge Chrysler Jeep


Whitten Bros Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram


Rairdon Auto Group

Tacoma, WA Sales Locality
Universal Auto Group, Inc. (location TBA)

Fiat 500 commercial

One day we'll turn on the TV and see this...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Attention New Fiat Dealers...

I'm putting together a list of confirmed dealers that I will post here. If you want get your name out there and jump start your marketing, hit the comment button below.

Be prepared for phone calls!

Fiat Third Quarter Results for 2010: revenues up, profit nearly doubles

Even with todays economic times, Fiat has posted some pretty strong Third Quarter results. Here are highlights published today:

Fiat Group closes third quarter with revenues at $18.9 billion (€13.5 billion), up 11.9% over Q3 2009, and trading profit nearly doubled to $821 million (€586 million), with all businesses contributing positively.

Net profit of $266 million (€190 million), net industrial debt slightly below $5.6 billion
(€4 billion) and liquidity strong at $18 billion (€12.9 billion).

The Group upgrades guidance for the year to a minimum of $2.8 billion (€2 billion) in trading profit and net industrial debt below the $5.6 billion (€4 billion) mark.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Breaking News: Chrysler appointing new Fiat dealers today

Here's the latest: Chrysler has begun today notifying dealers that they have been selected to have the Fiat franchise. We can expect to see a list of these dealers shortly, after all have been properly contacted. I'll post the list here when I receive it. In the meantime, here is the Chrysler press release to tide us over:

Chrysler Group LLC Begins Fiat Dealer Appointment Process in U.S.

October 20, 2010 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Chrysler Group LLC announced today that it has begun appointing dealers that will represent the Fiat Brand in the United States.

The dealers appointed in this first phase have plans in place and will be ready to take orders for the iconic Fiat 500 subcompact. Chrysler Group continues to work with some dealers on their proposals and will name additional Fiat dealers by the end of the year. In all, Chrysler Group would like to have Fiat dealers in 119 markets in the U.S., mostly in areas chosen for their high concentration of small-car registrations.

Chrysler Group’s Fiat dealer selection team has spent the last few weeks reviewing proposals from existing Chrysler Group dealers who want to add the Fiat franchise to their brand portfolio. The dealers provided detailed facility, marketing, sales and service plans in their proposals.

“We have carefully considered each of these dealer proposals looking for the best locations and the most creative plans,” said Peter Grady, Chrysler Group’s Vice President of Network Development and Fleet Operations. “We are thrilled with their level of interest in securing the Fiat franchise and in the innovative proposals they have submitted. We’re excited to be at the point where we now can start appointing our Fiat dealer network.”

“We are looking for a customer experience that is as unique and personalized as the Fiat 500 itself,” said Laura Soave, Head of Fiat Brand North America. “Some of the proposals are extremely creative and in many cases not only met but exceeded our expectations. We are looking forward to working with our dealer team for the successful launch of the Fiat Brand in the United States and offering our customers the personal experience that they deserve in our Fiat Studios.”

Chrysler Group dealers presented interim and long-term facility plans that are both imaginative and resourceful. Some dealers will build new state-of-the art facilities, while others plan to convert on-site used car and other buildings into Fiat dealerships. Some dealers will purchase former auto dealerships, while others are snapping up empty retail stores in their markets.

Dealers from outside the Chrysler Group dealer network also have shown great interest in securing the Fiat franchise. The company is now looking at their proposals as well.

Chrysler Group is building the Fiat 500 in its Toluca, Mexico, assembly plant.

Source: Chrysler Media

Monday, October 18, 2010

First Fiat 500 sold in Canada sells for $85,000

Winning bidder Ralph Chiodo (second from right) with his son-in-law Danny Diamantakos (far left), Laura Soave, Head of Fiat Brand North America, and Reid Bigland, Chrysler Canada President and CEO (far right) at the Venetian Ball on October 16, 2010.

We knew the Fiat 500 is the darling of celebrities and has the style and presence to pull off being a loaner car for Ferrari dealers in Europe. Now add to that the ability to command big money.

Canada's first Fiat 500 was auctioned at Toronto's Venetian Ball and sold for $85,000. Proceeds from the Venetian Ball go to Villa Charities, a charity that cares for Italian-Canadian citizens in the Toronto area.

Inside the Fiat 500: Fixed glass roof or opening Skydome...

The European Fiat 500 is available with an optional fixed glass roof or power sliding panoramic roof called a Skydome. With either version, the sheet metal in front of the roof is glossy black and blends in with the roof to make for a smooth appearance.

The fixed glass roof is about 5 mm thick with a light transmission of 16% and energy transmission below 19%.

The sliding roof has a thickness of 4 ± 0.2 mm, light transmission of 19 ± 2 % and an energy transmission of less than 19 %. The roof has an opening/closing time of 5 ± 2 secs.

A sunshade is provided to adjust the light intensity inside the car. It is manually operated on cars both with fixed glass roofs or on cars equipped with the sliding roof.

In cases of emergency or maintenance, it is possible to open/close the glass panel manually by removing an access plug and using a provided crank.

Additional safety and technical specifications

Fiat designed the sun roof to meet a very stringent criteria, guaranteeing that it can handle even the most demanding operating conditions. Here are some interesting facts:

The raising of the front panel (due to the aerodynamic effect while moving) towards the outside at a top speed of 113mph (180 Km/h) is less than or equal to 2 mm.

The stresses on the roof panel measured/calculated while driving over cobbled streets does not produce vibrations or noise that adversely affect driving comfort. If the sun roof has to be closed manually using the emergency key, the force required (tightening torque) is less than or equal to 8 Nm.

The black panel in front of the sunroof blends with the roof and makes for a smooth appearance. A nice design touch.

The bonding of the rear glass section is technologically treated like a windshield, not allowing water penetration into the passenger compartment under any circumstances.

Source: Fiat Auto SpA

Friday, October 15, 2010

Update on Fiat Dealer announcement

Fiat North America sent an email out to Chrysler dealers earlier today advising them that they are putting the finishing touches on the dealer selection process this weekend and will have an announcement of which dealers will be awarded the Fiat franchise next week.

The email also mentioned how Fiat NA was "...very impressed with the content, creativity and the energy that went into each proposal".

After viewing the enthusiasm displayed by potential dealers in the videos on my last post, I'm excited to see what these dealerships will look like.

The announcement is coming soon, so hang in there!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fiat dealer announcement coming soon

The announcement of which Chrysler dealers will be awarded the Fiat dealer franchise could come as early as tomorrow, October 15.

Chrysler expects to name 165 dealers in 119 U.S. markets to sell the Fiat 500. In contrast, there are 95 MINI dealers in the country.

While we're waiting for the announcement, read up about the process and what the requirements are in my previous postings here.

Fernando Falcon, Champion Chrysler, Indianapolis, IN

Michael Bettenhausen of Bettenhausen Motors, Tinley Park, IL

Winston Pittman, Cardinal Chrysler, Louiseville, KY

Kent Richey, Landers Chrysler-Dodge, Southaven, MS

Joseph Laham, Premier Cape Cob, Hyannis, MA

Source: Chrysler Media

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Inside the Fiat 500: Automatic Climate Control

Automatic climate control is optional on the European Fiat 500. It is a sophisticated unit that is usually reserved for premium cars, but is perfectly in keeping with the 500's high end style.

While we don't know what equipment will be offered on the North American 500, it's probably safe to assume it will offer a similar option. With that in mind, let's take a look at how the system works...

The system on the Fiat 500 implements an ‘equivalent temperature’ climate control strategy. A number of sensors register the indoor and outdoor temperature and evaluate the feeling of thermal well-being perceived by the passenger, i.e. the energy exchange between the human body and the passenger compartment, which is affected by the humidity, the temperature and the flow of treated air.

All these parameters are measured constantly and used to adjust the distribution, ventilation and mixture constantly. This regulates the air flow to the air vents and the fan speed, so that passengers in the car enjoy the sense of thermal well-being they requested (when setting the temperature).

The result is a constant climate, even if the outdoor conditions change; to make sure that the air issuing into the car reaches all corners of the passenger compartment, the system can be adjusted to one of five combinations.

The customer can also modify the temperature gradually, by half a degree at a time, until it is comfortable for him. The knob allows an adjustment of 28°F/16°C.

Manual settings always have priority over automatic settings. They cause the ‘Auto’ LED to go out, and the setting is memorized until the control is annulled. Every time the system is turned on, it will return to the status memorized when it was turned off, except for the ‘MAX DEF’ function, which is canceled.

It is also possible to turn the system off manually, de-activating the climate system completely.

Source: Fiat Group Press

500 TwinAir, the iPad and iPhone app that introduces you to the most eco-friendly petrol engine in the world

Last week I wrote about the new iPad and iPhone app for the TwinAir (read here). Now Fiat has just released more details (in English) of this interesting program. A reminder is that this is currently available only in Italian but, by the end of the month, an English version will follow.

No word if the app will be available for the Android or Blackberry market, but we can hope.

Below is the press release on the 500TwinAir app:

In the Apple Store: “500 TwinAir”, the iPad application that introduces you to the most eco-friendly petrol engine in the world

Fiat proves to be keeping pace with new trends in the digital world, launching its first iPad application, dedicated to the two-cylinder TwinAir engine, developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies and fitted on the Fiat 500 model (saloon and cabrio).

Available in the future also for iPhone, the new application is free and is currently one of the most innovative in the Apple Store. What’s more, just as the TwinAir engine results from technology “made in Italy”, the “500 TwinAir” application is 100% Italian, developed by an Italian team within the company Applix.

Currently available in Italian (within the end of October, English, French, Spanish and German will follow), the original application’s games and interactive features allow the engine’s innovative characteristics to be discovered: cutting-edge eco-sustainability, savings, performance and technological solutions encased in this gem of automotive technology, the new benchmark for the sector. Suffice it to say that the 85 HP TwinAir is the turbo petrol engine with the lowest emission levels in the world: 92 g/km with Dualogic robotized gearbox and 95 g/km with manual gearbox.

The user is welcomed with a choice of two navigation modes: one more traditional, with a series of tiles for browsing, and one more lively, where the 3D engine itself becomes an interactive menu.

The application can take you through an interactive time line of Fiat’s technological innovations which represent turning points in research related to eco-sustainable performance – from the Fire engine to Common Rail, from MultiJet to the most recent MultiAir – thus allowing you to experience the milestones that have led up to the birth of TwinAir.

A dedicated section allows users to discover important innovations in “eco-supremacy”: from 2007, of Europe’s ten best-selling automotive brands, Fiat Automobiles is the one which has recorded the lowest average value of CO2 emissions for cars sold (in the first half of 2010, 123.5 g/km). This achievement has been recognized by JATO, world leader in consulting and research for the automotive industry.

The “500 TwinAir” application also allows the engine to be examined internally, “taking it apart piece by piece”, while, in the special “Discovery Deck” section, users can find every detail on why this engine is a true technological gem. It also takes a moment to parody ’70s videogame Pong, showing how TwinAir – thanks to its winning consumption, emission and performance characteristics – “beats” higher category 4-cylinder engines. An example? When compared with the 100 HP 1.4 engine, the 85 HP TwinAir delivers a torque increase of 25% at 2,000 rpm despite a reduction of 30% in fuel consumption. All this ensures greater satisfaction at the wheel and reduced emissions.

Other games, including a driving simulator that recreates the experience of being at the wheel of your own 500, invite the user to compose messages that explain the advantages of driving a 500 TwinAir. And to top it off, a homage to the sound of this truly unique engine, which recalls the agreeable two-cylinder engine of the 1957 Fiat 500, to the accompaniment of a cult instrument every bit as timeless as the Fiat 500: a 1934 Fender Stratocaster.

More information on the web: Official TwinAir website

Download the app here

Courtesy Fiat Group Press

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A look at the North American Fiat 500 Sport

The North American Fiat 500 Sport*

Fiat North America gave us a preview of the long awaited North American version of the Fiat 500. We've been speculating on what the US 500 would look like (read here), and now that it is finally revealed, the consensus is positive.

The version previewed was the Sport but there are still two other versions, the Pop and Lounge, that have not been shown. What is not known is if the two upcoming versions will use the same bumpers as the Sport.

Let's take a look at the 500 Sport

The design work for the North American Fiat 500 Sport was done in Italy, at Fiat's design studio called Centro Stile, under the leadership of Roberto Giolito (the original designer of the 2007 European 500). Giolito and his team have given the 500 Sport a decidedly sporting nature. With some similarities to the overtly aggressive 500 Abarth, the 500 Sport has a sophisticated lower grille design with well integrated fog lights and a small lower lip spoiler.

The Fiat 500 Sport

The upper portion of the bumper on the 500 Sport is nearly identical to the European 500 with perhaps some subtle changes to the shape, the big differences are to the lower areas. A traditional sporty 3 opening lower grille features a mesh grille design with integrated fog lights. The outer grille areas where these fog lights reside look to be solid and not open.

Comparing to the 500 Abarth, the fog lights of the 500 Sport are in a more traditional location.

The design of the lower grille area on the 500 Sport is less busy and maybe more logical. But wait...

...there is a reason for the grille design on the Abarth. The Abarth features twin side mounted intercoolers and has had some very sophisticated aerodynamics done to the bumper to insure sufficient airflow through them. You would expect nothing less in an Abarth and from Fiat, the company which owns Ferrari.


The sides skirts on the 500 Sport are similar to its European cousin, but don't come up as high.

Under its skin, it is widely reported the new 500 will have an updated chassis that features even more high strength steel and a lower curb weight when compared to the European version. Also anticipated is the chassis will feature improved NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) characteristics.

Read more about the upgraded chassis here

US sidemarkers

Required US side markers are nicely integrated into the design.


The 500 Sport will have a new tailgate the accommodates the shape of a US license plate, which is narrower than European spec plates.

The rear bumper

Pictures of the rear don't show much other than a rear design somewhat mirrors the front with a 3 grille effect and a small under the bumper lip/diffuser. The outboard areas incorporate a reflector.

More images to come...

In the next few weeks weeks, expect to see more information and pictures of the Fiat 500 released. As soon as that happens, we'll post them here.

In the meantime, go to Fiat USA's official website here and sign up for the latest news.

*Images courtesy of Chrysler Media

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Fiat TwinAir in depth

Fiat engine technology is coming to the US. It's the concept of "downshifting", achieving the power of a larger engine with a much smaller unit. We've seen this concept of turbocharging a smaller engine to achieve the horsepower of the larger engine before. What is new is the application of MultiAir, the technology that Fiat invented, that boosts torque output, fuel economy, drivability all while lowering emissions.

Previously, these smaller turbocharged engines would make good power when on boost, but suffer from a lack of torque at lower rpm and when off boost, taking away from their drivability and driver enjoyment. MultiAir (which has been described as variable valve timing on steroids) boosts torque and drivability during these periods and truly enable the smaller engine to better match the larger engines drivability.

Fiat 500 TwinAir: The application for iPhone and iPad that reveals the most environmentally-friendly patrol engine in the world. Have fun with its playful tracks such as PlayTwin, a game of a real skill behind the wheels of the 500.

With the TwinAir, Fiat has taken this concept to the extreme. The TwinAir is a twin cylinder 85 hp, 875cc engine that puts out 25% more horsepower than the 69hp, 1.2 liter 4 cylinder engine that is standard in the European Fiat 500. But what is even more impressive is that the TwinAir matches the performance of the 100hp, 1.4 liter 16v engine and even outproduces the larger engines torque at 2000rpm.

And that's not all, there will be a 105hp version of the TwinAir that really promises to turn the world upside down in terms of what is thought of engines with less than four cylinders.

Will the TwinAir come to the US? Well, that awaits to be seen, but we will see MultiAir and the downshifting technology applied to Chrysler products.

You can read my previous posts on the TwinAir here and below is the official Fiat Press release describing the TwinAir:

A memorable event was organized in Turin, on 4 July 2007 to introduce the new Fiat 500, exactly 50 years after the original Fiat 500. From that day, the second generation of the model that epitomized the history of Italian cars, was quick to win everyone's hearts. For the many enthusiasts and customers worldwide, Fiat decided to celebrate each birthday of the pocket-sized 500 with special events and by introducing a new product bound to appeal to all.

In 2008, for example, picnics were organized in the main European capitals and the mighty Abarth 500 was introduced. The same thing happened in 2009 for the international presentation of the Fiat 500C, the original cabriolet version intended as a homage to the style of the 1957 open-topped car, which has already notched up more than 34,000 orders. In July, to celebrate the car's third year in existence, Fiat chose to launch its 85 HP (875 cc) TwinAir twin-cylinder engine on the 500 model, both saloon and cabrio..

The 500 is the first Fiat model to adopt this forerunner of a new family of engines: an 85 HP (875 cc) turbo two-cylinder with the lowest CO2 emission levels in the world for a petrol engine (92 g/km with a Dualogic robotized gearbox and 95 g/km with manual gearbox). All this is achieved without detracting from performance and driving satisfaction.

This is thanks to the small-sized turbine which, combined with dedicated valve management strategies, minimizes transient response times and, at the same time, keeps maximum power levels high. In this way, despite its small size, the engine ensures excellent performance and an appreciable reduction in fuel consumption: compared with a 1.2 8v, the 85 HP TwinAir records a power increase of 25% together with a 15% reduction in fuel consumption. In fact, the performance of the twin-cylinder unit is not only equivalent to a 1.4 16v, but its fuel consumption is a remarkable 30% less.

A Fiat 500 powered by a TwinAir engine can reach a top speed of 173 km/h and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in only 11 seconds. This remarkable performance corresponds to a significant reduction in fuel consumption: 4.0 l/100 km and 4.1 l/100 km with a Dualogic robotized gearbox and manual gearbox respectively. The Fiat 500 with an 85 HP TwinAir also comes with an ECO button – positioned on the dashboard – to cut fuel consumption still further around town and guarantee a genuinely eco-friendly drive by offering driving modes: Normal and ECO.

In the first mode, the ECO function is off and the engine delivers the maximum available torque (145 Nm), guaranteeing verve and a prompt response for a sportier drive. Steering power-assistance is also specifically calibrated for Normal mode. No indication appears on the dashboard in this mode (City is not selected). This configuration is therefore recommended for maximum response and full appreciation of all the available torque.

In ECO mode, on the other hand, the emphasis is on an eco-friendly drive: torque delivery is cut to 100 Nm at 2000 rpm to minimize fuel consumption and promote a driving style more suitable for town traffic. The effort required at the steering wheel is also lighter (CITY mode is automatically selected). The driver only needs to press the specific button on the dashboard to activate the ECO function. The lettering ECO will appear on the panel (the letter “E” will appear on the panel if the car has a Dualogic robotized gearbox). The Dualogic shifting strategy also switches to ECO mode to further optimize fuel consumption when a Dualogic gearbox is fitted.

Compared to a medium-sized four-cylinder unit of equal performance, the new engine is also significantly shorter (-23%) and lighter (-10%), opening the way to further developments, such as methane fuel system or hybrid technology combinations, again with a view to greater eco-friendliness. In particular, a methane version of the TwinAir will soon be available, guaranteeing a further CO2 emission reduction by adopting a pair of special injectors in addition to the petrol injectors on the intake manifold port.

Improving on these fuel saving results using internal combustion engines will be difficult and alternative technologies will need to be developed. The combination of traditional engines and electric motors appears particularly promising. Due to its reduced size, the TwinAir is most suitable for pairing with an electric engine and in general with any device located between the engine and gearbox designed to recover and store the energy that is normally dissipated during braking.

The 85 HP TwinAir unit also comes with Start&Stop as standard. This device temporarily stops the engine and restarts it, ensuring reductions in fuel consumption and noise in the passenger compartment when the device is in operation. The Gear Shift Indicator (GSI) fitted in conjunction with the Start&Stop is a veritable co-pilot that discreetly suggests to drivers when they should change gear, leading to more efficient use of the power unit in terms of fuel consumption. For example, the GSI may suggest shifting up, by means of an indication on the control panel, to allow the engine to burn a leaner mixture, i.e. one containing less fuel, or shifting down to make best use of the available torque.

Nothing short of an engineering gem, the twin-cylinder unit implements the revolutionary MultiAir technology developed and patented by FPT – Fiat Powertrain Technologies, which was first introduced on FIRE power units last year. The heart of MultiAir is a new electro-hydraulic valve management system that reduces fuel consumption by controlling air directly via the inlet valves (without using the throttle).

MultiAir reduces polluting emissions (thanks to combustion control) and also considerably improves performance and drivability with respect to a traditional petrol engine of equal displacement.

In brief, the advantages of MultiAir technology applied to petrol engines are:

- maximum power boosted by 10% with respect to a traditional engine of equal size;

- 15% more torque at low rpm and during transitions by applying early intake valve closing strategies to maximize the air introduced into the cylinders;

- less fuel consumption and consequently lower CO2 emissions, equal to 10% by eliminating pumping losses and precise parameter calibration for optimizing combustion;

- lower polluting emissions from the engine by optimizing valve control strategies during the intake stage;

- a more prompt response to accelerator commands due to the constant air pressure upstream of the cylinders combined with extremely fast control of the intake valves.

The new TwinAir engine also takes the concept of downsizing to an extreme: by combining a small-sized engine with a next-generation turbocharger, performance comparable to – or even better than – that of a larger engine is obtained, but with less fuel consumption and lower emissions.

Not only that, the turbo significantly increases maximum torque, making it available at a very low rpm, with the result of offering greater flexibility and an unrivaled responsiveness compared to conventional aspirated engines. All this comes with a relatively simple build to the benefit of strength and reliability.

Last but not least, the new engine was painstakingly optimized and tuned. For instance, the basic twin-cylinder architecture - combined with the low friction of internal parts - makes this engine best-in-class at a world level in terms of low friction. Furthermore, calculated simulations have been used to identify the best possible unit displacement in terms of thermo-dynamic efficiency, and the best fluid dynamic configuration to optimize and get the best out of the MultiAir system.

Finally, special attention has been placed on the NVH (Noise, vibration, and harshness) aspect to ensure vibration performance at least equivalent to that of a four-cylinder, with equal performance but with a characteristic sound. For this purpose, a balancing counter-shaft was used to maintain optimal vibration levels in all operating conditions of the engine, from idling speed to maximum power.

The Fiat 500 range also offers eco:Drive, innovative software for analyzing driving behavior and helping motorists optimize consumption and emissions by using the USB port of the Blue&Me system.

Finally, Blue&Me – TomTom, the latest evolution of the Blue&Me system, will be appearing on the Fiat 500 along with the new TwinAir engine. This is a fully integrated infotainment system that allows you to manage telephone, navigation and useful driving information functions through the Tom Tom's color touch screen interface. The application of this system on the Fiat 500 will also enable additional functionality that will also allow the media-player to be managed through the touch screen interface. The Blue&Me – TomTom is located in a dedicated housing on the dashboard that combines the safety, convenience and practicality of an integrated solution with the flexibility of portable devices. The device is constantly charged through the dedicated housing and may be controlled by means of steering wheel controls and also the touchscreen interface.

The device is the result of a partnership between Fiat Group Automobiles and TomTom, the European leader in portable navigation systems, and integrates with the car’s other systems via the Blue&Me system developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli.

Fiat TwinAir Website

With thanks to Fiat Group Press, Chrysler Media