Search This Site

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fiat Beautifies New York

New York , Apr 29, 2011 - Fiat North America has contributed 12-foot pear trees that are temporarily planted in eight Fiat 500 cars through Sunday to participate in New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and New York Restoration Project's Million Trees NYC effort. The cars line parts of Canal Street and the Avenue of the Americas. Once the cars are removed, the trees will have a permanent home.

Fiat's participation also is designed to mark the opening of its Fiat Gallery in the SoHo arts and fashion district, 18 Wooster St., and the unveiling of the Fiat 500 Cabrio, which occurred during the New York International Auto Show.

About the Sculptures

The full-scale fiberglass Fiat 500C sculptures were made by Italian designer and architect Fabio Novembre. They were first seen in Milan, the display called “Per fare un albero” ("To make a tree").

The objective of the original Italian “Per fare un albero” project was to brighten the city of Milan and make it more cheerful during the hot summer months: from August 2009 to February 2010, twenty of the original creations were installed in via Montenapoleone, the main street of the four-street international fashion district.

The striking display was a hit and it has toured major cultural centers in Europe: Rome, Paris and Madrid, bringing the mesage of respect for the city and the environment.

With thanks to Chrysler Media and Fiat Press

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fiat MultiJet II coming to the US

Fiat MultiJet II diesel technology will likely make its first appearance in the US during the 2013 model year. The Head of the Jeep brand, Mike Manley, mentioned during the unveiling the new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 last week, that it is likely a diesel option will be offered in the Grand Cherokee.

This news is significant as it shows there is the desire to bring Fiat diesel technology to the US, and also gives hope that other diesels may show up as well... like the 1.3L MultiJet II for the Fiat 500.

MultiJet II is a breakthrough technology that improves the drivability, refinement, power and fuel efficiency of a diesel engine. Just as Common Rail technology was a revolution in the way a diesel engine behaved, MultiJet II offers the same remarkable transformation.

You can read more on Fiat MultiJet II technology here.

Go to the Official Fiat MultiJet II website.

The first diesel engine we should see in the US with MultiJet II we can assume will be a variation of the one that is sold Europe in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is brand new for 2011 and has already won numerous awards. It is considered the standard of which to be judged and, with the addition of the MultiJet II engine, it promises to make an already impressive vehicle quite special.

Read more about the MultiJet II version of the Grand Cherokee below, courtesy of Fiat Group Press in Europe:

New Jeep® Grand Cherokee Now Powered by New 3.0-liter Turbo Diesel Engine

  • New 3.0-liter turbo, direct-injection V-6 diesel engine now available for the all-new Jeep® Grand Cherokee
  • Fitted with MultiJet II Technology developed by Fiat Powertrain
  • New engine delivers more power and torque with improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions
  • New 3.0-liter turbodiesel in the European markets end of first semester.
  • Diesel engine joins the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter MDS V-8 petrol engines
  • Laredo and Limited versions now available in Europe
At the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the all-new Jeep® Grand Cherokee will debut a new, optional 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine available for Europe and other diesel markets. The new engine is more powerful, more fuel efficient and produces lower emissions than its predecessor.

Built by VM Motori and developed together with Fiat Powertrain, company of Fiat S.p.a., the new 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine produces maximum power of 177 kW (241 hp DIN) at 4,000 rpm and torque of 550 N•m (406 lb-ft) at 1,800-2,800 rpm. This translates to 10 percent more power and eight percent more torque than the engine it replaces.

Even with its improved performance, fuel economy for the new 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine is 8.3 L/100km on the combined cycle, an improvement of 19 percent over the prior diesel engine. CO2 emissions (combined cycle) are also reduced by 20 percent, now at 218 g/km.

The new V6 turbodiesel is fitted with new-generation, 1800 bar injectors with new MultiJet II technology, developed and patented by Fiat Powertrain and which made its début in 2009 on the 1.3 Small Diesel Engine equipped on the Punto Evo.

Engine Block Structure

The new 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine features a compressed graphite iron, 60-degree block with aluminum cylinder heads and a two-piece structural aluminum oil pan. Bore is 83 mm (3.27 in) and stroke is 92 mm (3.62 in) for a total displacement of 2987 cm3 (182 in3). Bore spacing is 96 mm (3.78 in).

The engine is compact and lightweight, with overall dimensions of 695 mm (27.36 in) in length, 729 mm (28.7 in) in width and 697.5 mm (27.46 in) in height. Weight of the fully dressed new engine is 230 kg (507 lbs).

The engine block features a crankcase architecture with stiffened construction, including a bedplate that provides a rigid and stiff carrier for the crankshaft. This in turn helps reduce overall noise from the lower reciprocating assembly and contributes to significant improvements in overall noise, vibration and harshness.

Adding to the structural rigidity of the block, the two-piece aluminum oil pan has been designed to provide strength and contribute to the quietness of the engine. The lower pan has been reinforced for off-road use. Crankcase capacity is 7.7 L (2 gal).

Cylinder heads are constructed of aluminum and feature a chain-driven, dual overhead-camshaft design with four valves per cylinder. Intake valves measure 28 mm (1.1 in), and exhaust valves are 24.5 mm (0.96 in) in diameter. Combustion-chamber volume is 24.68 cm3 (1.51 in3).

A forged-steel crankshaft is supported by four main bearing journals fitted with four-bolt main bearing caps incorporated into the bedplate. Externally balanced, the crankshaft measures 442.2 mm (17.41 in), reducing the overall packaging requirements of the engine. Connecting rods, with an overall length of 162.9 mm (6.41 in), are constructed of cast iron.

Lightweight, cast-aluminum pistons are redesigned to provide minimal friction. The compression ratio of the new diesel engine is now 16.5:1, reduced from 18.1:1 on the previous model, contributing to cleaner combustion and providing more power.

All main bearings are a “lead free” design for reduced environmental impact during construction and later recycling of the engine.

Engine Performance Features

The induction system includes swirl control to optimize combustion. Fitted between the intake system and the combustion chamber, the swirl control effectively provides an ideal air/fuel mixture at all levels of engine speed.

Precise fuel delivery is through a 1,800-bar common-rail fuel-injection system.
Thanks to the new MultiJet II technology, which makes use of a special balanced solenoid valve, the new injector is capable of making up to 8 injection per cycle with the possibility of managing the two main injections in a single modular profile (IRS – Injection Rate Shaping) thus guaranteeing a reduction in consumption and polluting emissions of approximately 2% compared to a traditional injector and ensuring a drastic reduction in noise levels.

The new 3.0-liter diesel engine utilizes a single Garrett VGT 2056 turbocharger with variable turbine geometry. Compact and lightweight, the turbocharger provides near-instant response and includes an air-to-air intercooler.

Fuel Economy and Emissions

Fuel economy for the Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine is rated at 10.3 L/100 km on the urban cycle and 7.2 L/100 km on the extra-urban cycle. For the combined cycle, the fuel economy is rated at 8.3 L/100 km.

The engine is designed to run on EN590 ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel.

For this engine, cast-iron exhaust manifolds are utilized. Additional emissions controls include a close-coupled diesel oxidation catalyst and standard diesel particulate filter. Euro 5 emissions are met through an exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) system that includes an EGR valve with DC motor and a high-performance EGR cooler with bypass valve.

CO2 emissions are reduced to 270 g/km for the urban cycle and 188 g/km for the extra-urban cycle. Combined-cycle CO2 emissions are now 218 g/km.

Fiat Group Press

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fiat Gallery at 18 Wooster in Full Swing

You have read the blog and seen the pictures, now how about seeing the Fiat 500 in person? If you are in the Tri-State area, there is no better place to experience the Fiat 500 than the Fiat Gallery at 18 Wooster Manhattan.

Located in the arts and cultural district of Manhattan, it is the perfect venue to display the high style Fiat 500. The Fiat Gallery is open to the public, and there are special events that are featured daily, each one is unique and exclusive. You just need to RSVP for the special events, as space is limited. These events are a perfect way to acquaint yourself with the 500 and mingle with exciting and interesting folks.

List of Fiat sponsored events at 18 Wooster

You can read more about the Fiat Gallery here in this earlier post.

Photos courtesy of Chrysler Media

Monday, April 25, 2011

2012 Fiat 500c: Full Features and Equipment

Here is the full list of all the equipment, features and options available on the new 2012 Fiat 500c Cabriolet:

Fiat500USA-2012 Fiat 500c Features

Chrysler Media

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Visit Fiat in New York this Weekend

You've been waiting for the Fiat 500 to show up, well now it's here! If you're in the Tri-State area, why not run down this weekend and check out the new Fiat 500 and 500c at the New York International Auto Show.

Go to the 2011 New York Auto Show website here.

Want a more intimate visit with the 500? Stop by the art gallery at 18 Wooster Street and see the Fiat 500 and 500c on display along with great Fiat based art and design drawings.

The atmosphere is casual, and there is an Italian style lounge to relax in while you soak up the Fiat Experience. There will also be three Fiat 500s available to test drive.

These two venues are a nice way to spend the weekend... check them out!

Read more about the Fiat Gallery at 18 Wooster here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

US Version of Fiat eco:Drive Released

Big news for owners of the new Fiat 500 is the US version of ecoDrive has been released. Download the program here: eco:Drive, or jump onto the Fiat USA website here:Fiat USA

The program is a fun way to improve your gas mileage and reduce your emission footprint. It is easy to use and comes standard on all Fiat 500 models.

Read more about eco:Drive here: 2012 Fiat 500: eco:Drive

Fiat USA Launches New Website

Our good friends at Fiat USA have launched a new website. The older site was a temporary placeholder while the company built their infrastructure. The new site features a nice gallery, improved dealer locater, and the big favorite- The Configurator- where one can design and build the Fiat 500 or 500c of your dreams!

Fiat 500c: Overview and Quick Specs

The Fiat 500c provides  passengers with quietest interior sound quality, most interior space, rear-seat legroom and shoulder room compared to key competitors.
  • New 1.4-liter engine with state-of-the-art MultiAir® technology, invented and patented by Fiat Group, delivers power, fuel efficiency and refinement 
  • Two models, 14 exterior colors, 12 unique seat color and material combinations, plus a choice of two interior environments and three exterior soft-top colors allow customers to personalize “their own” Fiat 500c at  
  • The new 2012 Fiat 500c arrives in U.S. FIAT Studios beginning in late spring 2011 with a starting U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $19,500
  • The Fiat 500c Pop model is the only four-seat cabrio in the market priced below $20,000

Quick specs on the 2012 Fiat 500c Cabriolet:

Fiat500USA-US Fiat 500c Quick Specs

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fiat 500c: Live Unveil at the 2011 New York International Auto Show

Fiat 500C Launch with Laura Soave

Below is the live unveiling of the North American Fiat 500c, held during the 2011 New York Auto Show. The unveiling will take place at approximately 12:20 PM (try to be early). You should be able to watch it here:

On a personal note, at 3:37 seconds, Laura Soave gives this site, and yours truly, a shoutout during the press conference. That was a pleasant surprise!  

The Fiat 500c: The Details...

While we are waiting for the North American Fiat 500c Cabriolet to be unveiled later today at the 2011 New York Auto Show, let's take a look at the some of the details that went into the making of the 500c.  The following is a re-visit to a post I did on the 500c back in July 2009.

Please note this post is based on the European Fiat 500c - the NA 500c is expected to have some detail differences.  I'll explore them when I get back from the show.  In the meantime, please enjoy:

Let's take a detailed look at the new Fiat 500C with the help of Fiat & Abarth Style Director, Roberto Giolito.

Alluring shape and innovative design

"The Fiat 500C is not only the "open" version of the 500 launched in July 2007," explains Roberto Giolito, Fiat & Abarth Style Director. "In fact, thanks to the wide range of available versions, this new model is really a whole new car in its own right, with a strong personality inherited from the original 1957 model and an undoubted sentimental value brought to it by so many fans over the years. If, on the one hand, the Fiat 500C respects the original version, on the other it enriches it with new features which, thanks to stylistic choices, afford each one of us maximum freedom of use".

Windshield of the Fiat 500C: Notice how it goes up to meet
the fabric roof. This shows the attention to detail
(and expense) that Fiat lavished on the Fiat 500C. Most
small car makers in this segment would skip this detail
design work.

Windshield of the Fiat 500: Compare to the 500C,
the windshield is shorter and there is a steel panel
between the windshield and the glass roof panel.

First of all, the front of the car differs for a slightly higher windscreen needed to resize the upper cross member; this gives a better view for the rear passengers, a stronger body and superbly clean lines. These are also enhanced by the continuity of the windscreen, which extends to the fabric roof without exposing any part of the bodywork (an extremely elegant and technologically sophisticated solution in keeping with the spirit of the 500C).

From the side, the car stands out for the outline of the pillars which present strong arches with the shape of the soft top. The soft top really defines the upper lines of the 500C and gives it a more slender look compared with the saloon version

Staying with the side view, the alloy wheels also stand out: one option is 16 inches, with a cross-spoked design that has echoes of the original 1960s spoked wheels;

another is 15 inches, with a more fluid design (both wheels have the classic cup-shaped locking nuts embossed with the 500 logo).

Design elements at the rear of the Fiat 500C: chrome trim,
functioning roof spoiler and a back window in glass
with defroster element.

But it is the rear aspect of the new car that is most different, particularly the clear division between the upper fabric part and the car's steel bodywork, emphasized by chrome trim like that of the 500 versions from 1957 onward. This stylistic element makes the rear of the car appear wider by creating a horizontal line across it. In addition, the rear window (in glass with an electric defroster) is more rounded. While retaining the same visibility as the 500 saloon, its smoother corners are closer in design to its 1950s forerunner.

Another important feature of the new car is the boot: this opens upwards without protruding from the shape of the vehicle (this means there is no need to step away when loading luggage). In addition, if the soft top is down, an electronic device lifts it a few centimeters to allow the boot to be fully opened. This is an extremely functional and streamlined solution which can be appreciated both for its usability, and for the way it integrates with the vehicle. It should be stressed that the Fiat 500C is "best in class" in its segment for the ease and versatility of loading and unloading. Merit for this goes to the spacious luggage compartment (with a capacity of 182 liters - just three liters less than the saloon version), the traditional upwards-opening boot and wide access.

Finally, the soft top of the new convertible comes in three colors (ivory, red and black) to match the numerous body colors (six pastel, three metallic and two opalescent). Some of these are inspired by the vintage colors of its forerunner while others are up to date and boast a really contemporary look. Among these, three were created specifically for the Fiat 500C: pearlescent Ragamuffin Red, Tech House Grey (typical of high performance super cars) and elegant Goth-Metal Blue. (The latter is available for the whole range).

The interior of the Fiat 500C is equally exclusive, and boasts top quality materials. In particular, the new sporty seats are upholstered in a high-quality fabric which constitutes an important feature of the car for its feel and durability. The back and cushion of the rear seats are very enveloping and the side panels are upholstered in leather. As an optional extra, the interior of the Fiat 500C can be upholstered in black, beige or red Frau leather. The chrome trim and a dashboard that matches the exterior color and is decorated by an exclusive 500C logo complete an elegant and functional interior that can comfortably accommodate four people.

An innovative soft top for a unique style
Bodied colored roof spoiler on the Fiat 500C contributes
to its excellent coefficient of drag of 0.33.

The soft top of the Fiat 500C is a true object of design, characterized by a sophisticated electrically controlled movement and innovative technical solutions. In particular a molding of the same color on the soft top acts as a spoiler and houses a third brake light, creating similar aerodynamics to the saloon version and a Cx of 0.33. This excellent figure puts the Fiat 500C at the top of its class, and is achieved by an optimized rear spoiler profile and rear wheel covers.

Rear spoiler of the Fiat 500C incorporates third brake
light that can still be seen when the top is down.

The comfort of the rear passengers has also received special attention, as pr oven by an air-flow speed of 7 m/s with the roof open. In addition, when the soft top is down, the spoiler is arranged so that the third brake light can always be seen. The double-layered roof fabric ensures the best possible insulation from the outside and, along with the internal coverings of the pillars, completes a superb finish for the mechanisms controlling the opening and closing of the roof.

The roof of the Fiat 500C can be opened to the first position
at any speed, like a big sunroof.

The automatic electric soft top can be controlled either by buttons near to the interior ceiling light or from the remote control. In addition, the soft top can be operated throughout its horizontal travel (as far as the spoiler) at any speed. Vertical movement can be engaged at any speed under 60 km/h (37 mph).

Exterior views of the Fiat 500C. The roof can be
operated by a remote control.

The soft top is also easy to use: to open it, just press the button for at least half a second to trigger the movement that then continues automatically up to the spoiler (a midway point can of course be chosen by pressing the button again). Press the button again for at least half a second to fully open the roof. When using the remote control, the roof can be opened only as far as the spoiler. The same processes will close it; for safety reasons, the roof stops at around 25 cm from complete closure (just press the button again to complete the movement).

When the boot is open, the soft top can only be closed (the opening function is de-activated). However, if the roof is fully open and the boot needs to be opened, when the boot is opened the soft top automatically moves to a midway point to avoid obstructing loading operations.

With thanks to Fiat Group Press

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fiat Gallery on Display in Manhattan

Coinciding with the New York International Auto Show and the unveiling of the Fiat 500c Cabriolet, Fiat will display the 500c and 500 sedan along with various Fiat art at the well known "18 Wooster" art gallery located 10 minutes from the New York Auto Show.

Called the "Fiat Gallery at 18 Wooster", the display showcases the Fiat 500 models and will include the brand new Fiat 500c Cabriolet version that will make its debut at the New York Auto Show tomorrow, April 21.

Various Fiat related art will be displayed, along with car designer Roberto Giolito design drawings for the Fiat 500. There will be an Italian Café and lounge where one can take it all in, and test drives will be available.

If you are are going to be in the New York City area, don't miss it!

Read more details about the Fiat Gallery at 18 Wooster below.

Fiat 500 Prima Edizione Number 29: Wheels

Fiat 500 Prima Edizione 29

After I posted the story on Tire Rack a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't resist picking up a set of wheels for my Fiat 500. The wheels are O.Z. Adrenalina, 17x7, 4x100 with a 37mm offset.

Tires are sized at 195/40R17 and I'm running Yokohama Sport Drive Ultra High Performance Summer tires.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fiat 500 Prima Edizione Number 29 is Home!

Last Friday, after years of anticipation, I picked up my new Fiat 500.

My Fiat Studio was Fiat of Larchmont; whose owner is no other than Alfredo Gulla. Mr. Gulla, or Alfredo, is well known in the Fiat world. He became a Fiat dealer in 1963 and stayed one until Fiat left the country in 1984, at that time he was their biggest dealer.

Alfredo was also an Abarth dealer in the 1960's and has his original dealers license signed by Karl Abarth.

I don't know what was more exciting, picking up my new car or talking with Alfredo. It was an absolute treat to talk with him. We reminisced and talked about the past, but also about the promising future.

My Fiat 500 Prima Edizione was covered and unveiled by Alfredo. It couldn't get any better than that.

We were given a tour of the new Fiat facility, which will be open in the near future. The original Fiat facility (Alfredo's Foreign Cars) was recently renovated and has some impressive memorabilia, including cutaway engines and an original US spec Fiat 500.

My car was perfect and looked fantastic. I drove home knowing that, with Fiat of Larchmont and Alfredo Gulla, I'm in capable hands. I can't wait to stop by when the studio is finished and pickup some accessories!

Give Fiat of Larchmont a call - 914-834-4222

A Beginning

I started this blog two years ago to chart the progress of the Fiat 500 as it made its way to the United States. Along the way, we've examined the history of the company and the technology that has gone into making this award winning car.

Now that the 500 is here, don't think we're done! With new Fiat 500 models coming out, like the 500c, 500 by Gucci, the Abarth and, just maybe, the Coupe Zagato, we'll have plenty to talk about. And I won't forget Alfa Romeo, one of my all time favorite marques. I will keep a keen eye on the new Alfa Romeo, which promises to be the best one ever; the company is committed to that!

Two years ago, Fiat entered into an alliance with Chrysler. The two companies have worked side by side to produce the 2012 Fiat 500, a car that is indeed the evolution of the 2008 European Car of the Year. The car has been updated and improved in every way.

This partnership, which is characterized by mutual respect and appreciation for each other, will be in full bloom when we see the new Chrysler models that will arrive at the end of this year.

Stick around, because this is only the beginning...