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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Fiat 500 Abarth models to launch in Europe

Abarth 500 Cabrio Italia

Abarth will debut two new 500 Abarth models at the 64th Frankfurt International Motor Show, September 15 through the 25. The new Abarth 500 Cabrio Italia will join the stand with the new Abarth 695 Competizione. The theme of this year's show is:

Abarth, a world of performance since 1949

Carlo Abarth and Company

Abarth has been a pioneering leader of performance tuning since 1949, when the company, founded by Austrian Karl Abarth, began building race cars and producing performance accessories. Abarth had produced winning race cars for various marques such as Porsche, but became well known for modifying Fiats and achieving record breaking racing wins. Even in the US, many a racing Camaro, Mustang and Corvette felt the sting of the Abarth Scorpion during the 1960s.

Lancia Beta Montecarlo Group 5 Turbo

Abarth branched out to produce it's own cars and engines and eventually was acquired by Fiat in the early 1970s, where it became the company's tuning arm. The victories continued, helping Fiat SpA win a record number of World Rally Championships along with a Championship for Makes added to the victory list.

Abarth Grande Punto S2000

With the relaunch of Abarth as its own separate division in 2007, the brand re-emerged as a performance powerhouse. The two road going models, the Punto Abarth and 500 Abarth have become sought after by well bred car enthusiasts all over the world.

In addition to the road cars, Abarth racing activities have accelerated both in rallies and on the track in Italy and throughout Europe. The official rally team with Luca Rossetti and Matteo Chiarcossi has been doing well in the Italian Championship with Abarth Grande Punto S2000 cars, while the Rally version of the Abarth 500 is used in the Abarth 500 Rally Selenia Trophy.

Track events have also met with considerable success. The popular single-make Abarth 500 Selenia Italia and Abarth 500 Selenia Europe trophies have joined this year's the Scandinavia championship. And at the end of 2011 there will be anticipation for the debut of the 500 Assetto Corse also in Latin America with the Abarth 500 Panam Trophy.

Abarth 500 “Cabrio Italia”

Abarth 500 Cabrio Italia

Sportiness is interpreted with Abarth elegance and style by the first car on display: the Abarth 500 “Cabrio Italia” in a special Blu Abu Dhabi livery - tribute to Italian design in the year of the 150th anniversary of Italian unity - combined with an electrically operated black top and tinted rear windows.

Born with a strong “Turismo” vocation, it will accompany the 2011 Automotive Giro d’Italia after the world debut in Frankfurt. This is a legendary sporting event that returns after 110 years since the first epic edition to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of Italian Unification, travelling more than 1,500 km, just like the Abarth Limited Edition.

Abarth 500 Cabrio Italia

Distinguished by a special chrome “500 Cabrio Italia” plate with satin effect, 150 cars will be produced with a 1.4 Turbo T-Jet engine that delivers an impressive 160 HP (118 kW) and maximum torque of 230 Nm at 3,000 rpm in Sport mode.

The engine is a 1,368 cm3 4 cylinder 16 valve unit (turbocharged with a fixed-geometry IHI turbocharger) that delivers exhilarating performance. Top speed is 211 km/h while acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes place in just 7.4 seconds. This is partly achieved by the over boost function, activated by the “Sport” button that modulates control unit mapping and turbo pressure in addition to load on the steering wheel. Yet this typically Abarth performance comes with very frugal fuel consumption: 6.5 l/100 km over a combined cycle.

For the first time combined with the 160 HP engine, the Abarth 500 “Cabrio Italia” also offers a 5-speed manual gearbox that exalts personal driving style through a more direct relationship with the car. In terms of safety, the Abarth 500 “Cabrio Italia” follows the Abarth 500C standards.
In addition, as on all the other Abarths, it offers standard the TTC (Torque Transfer Control) device that by improving the transfer of drive torque to the wheels, enhances the car road holding without compromising the fun to drive it.

Finally, this new special series is equipped with the "esseesse" brake system – consisting of perforated self-ventilated front brake discs and fixed four-piston caliper - which makes this car even safer, higher performing and more fun than ever before.

This special series is equipped with Xenon headlights with dipped and main beam functions for improved light emission and excellent efficiency under all weather conditions. These elements deliver three times the light intensity and duration of standard halogen lamp headlights.

Abarth 500 Cabrio Italia interior

The “Abarth Corsa by Sabelt” seats in natural leather with backrest in carbon fibre embellish the new Abarth 500 “Cabrio Italia”. Thanks to this, these seats offer a perfect blend of racing characteristics – light weight (10 kg less than the standard seat) and the ability to restrain the body against lateral and longitudinal forces, thanks to body support strip elements filled with mono-layer padding – with the ergonomics and comfort of road seats.

The interior is embellished by pedals and gear lever knob in Alutex aluminium glass fibre material and running board in carbon fibre with dedicated “Cabrio Italia” graphics. The dashboard is the same Blu Abu Dhabi shade as the body and a chrome plate with the same graphics is housed on the central console with sequential numbering to demonstrate the exclusive Limited Edition version.

Moreover, an Abarth Blue&MeTM MAP satellite navigation unit with a telemetric function developed in conjunction with Magneti Marelli is integrated in the dashboard.

Steering wheel in black leather with double stitching and the mirror covers in the shade of magnesium complete the aesthetic features. The 10-spoke 17" rims with diamond effect, also magnesium in colour, are embellished by the yellow Brembo front callipers.

Abarth 695 Competizione

Abarth 695 Competizione

In line with the philosophy that has identified Abarth for fifty years - the transfer of racing experience to the on-road car market and making the world of racing accessible - the Abarth 695 Competizione is born, the first “street legal” Scorpion racing car.

This double-seat car best expresses a concept used to a great extent in the past, which connoted the Abarths as cars designed for the road but with the goal of being easily used on the track as well. It is for true sports car lovers as it has the track in its DNA and the road in its heart.

Inspired by the Abarth 500 Assetto Corsa, the exterior of the car flaunts an exclusive Grigio Competizione Opaco livery, embellished by a livery of racing appeal that however forgoes strong colour contrasts in favour of a refined tone-on-tone effect.

Abarth 695 Competizione interior

But the main distinguishing element is inside. Like a real racing car, this is a two seater in which the rear seats are replaced by a roll bar the same Grigio Competizione Opaco shade as the bodywork. In this way the car acquires additional sporting character because the roll bar decreases its weight, making it even better performing. The space left empty by the seats sports a trim reminiscent of the almond of the racing cars, which continues into the boot.

The Abarth 695 Competizione has “Abarth Corsa by Sabelt” seats in black leather with Alcantara® red inserts and a carbon fibre shell and seat base. Red stitching, “695” logo and “competizione” graphics respectively embroidered on the headrest and backrest further enrich the seats.

The black leather steering wheel is characterised by a tricolour hub and red inserts, and is fitted with 5-speed “Abarth Competizione” gearshift paddles, while the instrument panel is specially made by Jaeger. The carbon dashboard contains the Abarth Blue&MeTM MAP satellite navigation unit with a telemetric function developed in conjunction with Magneti Marelli and, on the central console, the chrome plate with sequential numbering to demonstrate the exclusivity of the Limited Edition version.

Attention to detail has also been given to the racing pedals, which are personalised with the Scorpion logo. Finally, the interior is also embellished with the carbon running board with “695 Competizione” graphics in a satin aluminium finish.

This special series is also equipped with Xenon headlights with dipped and main beam functions for improved light emission and excellent efficiency under all weather conditions. The 17" rims whose design is borrowed from the “Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari”, matching the body, and Brembo brake calipers and hub cap, both red, complete the aesthetic features of the exterior.

In keeping with its racing vocation, the Abarth 695 Competizione is equipped with a 1.4 Turbo T-Jet 16v engine – tuned to develop more than 180 HP - combined with the “Abarth Competizione” gearbox, an electromechanical gearbox with race-inspired steering wheel controls that makes full use of the engine’s performance by reducing gearshift times.

In detail, this transmission has two operating modes: “Street” with automatic gearbox and “Track” where shifting is instead manual, in line with the car's vocation, "Sunday on the track, Monday at the office".

As on the 695 Tributo Ferrari, the suspension and braking systems have also been further strengthened to cope with the extra power: Brembo 305 mm disc brakes that can be dismantled with fixed four-piston caliper disc and special shock absorbers that guarantee performance in total safety. And of course there is a “Record Monza” variable back-pressure “dual mode” exhaust, designed to improve engine performance and sound over 3,000 rpm.

Source: Fiat Group Press

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fiat 500 on its way to Brazil, via Mexico

Fiat 500 Cult and Lounge Air

The North American produced version of the Fiat 500 will be sold in Brazil. This replaces the Polish built Fiat 500 that has been sold in Brazil since 2009 (read story here). The Toluca, Mexico built 500 will be sold in three levels: The Cult (which replaces the Pop name used in the US), the Sport Air and the Lounge Air.

Fiat 500 Cult 1.4 Evo Flex

Fiat 500 Cult Dualogic gearbox

Interestingly, the Cult will come with a 1.4 liter 8V flex fuel engine that is not offered in the US. The 1.4 EVO Flex, as the engine is called, is a single overhead cam design and is from the FIRE engine family. It produces 85 hp on gasoline and 88 hp on ethanol and will be mated to either the 5 speed from the US car or the 5 speed Dualogic automated manual gearbox used in Europe and not offered in the US.

Brazilian Fiat 1.4 MultiAir dynograph

The Sport Air and Lounge Air will be equipped with the 1.4 liter 16V MultiAir engine as used in the US, but with slightly different outputs: 105 hp @ 6250 rpm and 100 lbs-ft @ 3850 rpm (Us car is rated at 100 hp @ 6500 rpm and 93 lbs-ft @ 4000 rpm). Transmissions are the same as in the US with a 5 speed manual or Aisin 6 speed automatic for the Sport Air and only the Aisin for the Lounge Air.

Fiat 500 Prima Edizione

Brazil will also be treated to their own Fiat 500 Prima Edizione. Just as in the US and Canada, the 500 Prima Edizione will be a limited production run of 500 sequentially numbered cars. Offered in three colors - Sfrontato red, Broth white and Sfrenato gray - the cars will be identical to its US and Canadian cousins.

Source: Fiat Press Brazil

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Fiat 500c is a Hit on American TV!

MotorWeek, American television's oldest running automotive news magazine, has recently tested the Fiat 500c Cabrio and came away impressed:

"Inexpensive, stylish, unique… these are all reasons to love the 500 Cabrio, but our favorite reason is that while it has acquired a convertible top, it has retained the fun to drive nature that we loved so much in the Coupe".

Check out the new Fiat 500c at your nearest Fiat Studio and see why America is falling in love again with Fiat.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fiat 500 USA Forum Hits 10,000 Posts

Fiat 500 USA Forum hit 10,000 posts last week. The official forum of Fiat500USA Blog started off as a small, embedded app that allowed this site's visitors a way to communicate and interact with each other. Nine months later, we boast the most posts of any US based Fiat 500 forum.

The forum is filled with hundreds of friendly Fiat enthusiasts. Feel free to post questions about the Fiat 500 and get answers from some of the most knowledgeable Fiat 500 owners in the US.

There are reference materials and videos for your entertainment, plus keep up to date with the hottest vendors of Fiat accessories. So what are you waiting for? Stop by and see for yourself!

Fiat 500 USA Forum is the number one Fiat 500 Forum based in the USA!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fiat USA is Hitting the Streets

Fiat has had a busy weekend. They were at Concorso Italiano, Woodward Dream Cruise and hosted 'Simply More by FIAT" in Chicago. Along with conventional advertising, 'hands on' is a fundamental part of the Fiat brand's marketing strategy.

Having people sit in and experience the style, comfort and roominess of the Fiat 500 arguably goes a lot farther than a thirty second TV ad could ever go.

Fiat USA kicked off the 'Simply More by FIAT" marketing campaign in early August with a new TV ad and events that will make various stops across the country. Many tens of thousands are estimated to have so far experienced the 500 through these events and there are still two more to occur. The next 'Simply More' event will take place in Miami this weekend, with the final event the following weekend in Los Angeles:

Miami Event - Canceled due to Hurricane Irene*
Friday, August 26 at 2:00pm - August 28 at 12:00am
1111 Lincoln Rd
Miami, FL

Los Angeles Event
Saturday, September 3 at 2:00pm - September 5 at 12:00am
Santa Monica Pier
Los Angeles, CA

Here is a recap of the past weekends festivities with links to their photo albums and pages.

'Simply More by FIAT' in Chicago

Concorso Italiano

Woodward Dream Cruise Facebook Page


*Updated Aug 26

With thanks to Chrysler Media

Friday, August 19, 2011

Jay Leno talks about his Fiat 500

Car enthusiast supreme, Jay Leno talks about the Fiat 500. Leno, who seems to own an example of nearly every significant car ever made, also owns Fiat 500 Prima Edizione number 2. In the video, which comes from his website - Jay Leno's Garage, Leno tells us his impression of the 500 and how much he enjoys driving it. When a car guy like Leno digs a car, you know it is something special!

Visit Leno's site here: Jay Leno's Garage website.

FIAT North America Returns as Presenting Sponsor of the 2011 Concorso Italiano

  • Concorso Italiano is the largest Italian car and lifestyle show outside of Italy
  • FIAT vehicle display will include both the 2012 Fiat 500 hatchback and 500 Cabrio
  • FIAT Café will serve complimentary espresso, cappuccino and gelato

August 18, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FIAT North America is proud to return to the preeminent Italian lifestyle gathering in the world, Concorso Italiano®. The annual event focuses on everything great from Italy, including cars, fashion, food and wine, in an elegant setting on the greens at the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch.

“Concorso Italiano is a unique event that brings together an amazing collection of vehicles and enthusiasts who are truly passionate about Italian design and heritage,” said Laura Soave, Head of FIAT Brand North America. “The new Fiat 500 and 500 Cabrio pay homage to this rich heritage and project it forward by delivering Italian-by-design function, value and efficiency, intelligently tailored for the North American market.”

As the presenting sponsor of this year’s event, FIAT North America will have several vehicles on display including:

  • A 2012 Fiat 500 hatchback and 500 Cabrio
  • A vintage 1962 Cinquecento
  • A Mopar® accessorized version of the Fiat 500

Patrons to the event are invited to enjoy the FIAT Café where Fiat fans can enjoy complimentary gelato, espresso and cappuccino, served by baristas. A representative from FIAT North America will also have the honor of presenting the “Best in Show” award.

Fiat USA press release

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fiat 500 Accessories: Installing a Shift Knob by Black

The Fiat 500 is the most accessorized car in Europe, and one of the most popular companies making products for it is the Italian company Black. Black produces a full range of products specifically designed for the Fiat 500, and each is an outstanding example of Italian craftsmanship and design.

A few weeks ago, I met up with Boris and Rachel Tilim, proprietors of 500 MADNESS, at the 2011 Fiat FreakOut and couldn't resist a Black shift knob. Shift knobs by Black come in a staggering variety of colors and themes. The bases can also be mixed and matched.

After going back and forth, I finally settled on the carbon fibre look with a black base.

The stock shift knob on the Fiat 500 is stylish, but for those who want to personalize their car, keep reading.

The shift knob removal on the Fiat 500 is extremely easy. First, carefully pry off the shift knob cap with the gear pattern embossed on it. Be careful! I used my nails to pry a space large enough to slip a plastic hotel key card into. Use slow, steady pressure and it pops right off!

The cap is held on with double sided tape.  Underneath is a bolt that holds down the shift knob.

The bolt has a 10mm head. It is not particularly tight, but you'll need a ratchet and socket to take it off.

I used a 1/4 inch drive ratchet with a 10mm socket.  It should unscrew very easily, but just in case, hold onto the shift knob when you first break it free to keep from putting undue pressure on the gear shift assembly.

Remove the bolt!

The factory shift knob will pull right off. You may need to wiggle  it to get it started.

The new Fiat 500 shift knob by Black.  It is substantial and feels like a jewel.  It is held on by a set screw on the side.

The new shift knob slides on without a problem. It is keyed so it goes on straight.

Insert the allen wrench and tighten the set screw. Don't over do it!


500 Madness is the North American distributor of Black accessories for the Fiat 500. Be sure to check out their website for this and other cool products for your 500!

Call 562-981-6800

"Simply More by Fiat" Event in Chicago

Fiat USA is hosting another "Simply More by Fiat" Outdoor Cinema Experience this weekend. This time it is in downtown Chicago and runs from Friday, August 19 through Sunday, August 21. Fiat really knows how to throw a party and like the New York event from last week, it is something you simply can not miss!

Read about it below and then make your plans!

FIAT Brand to Host ‘Simply More by FIAT,’ an Outdoor Cinema Experience in Downtown Chicago

August 17, 2011 , Chicago - FIAT Brand North America is bringing its debut commercial “Drive-in” to life as it sets up a weekend-long celebration and outdoor cinema in downtown Chicago starting Fri., Aug. 19 – Sun., Aug. 21.

Attendees to the “Simply More by FIAT” experience will be able to spend an afternoon relaxing in the Café al fresco with complimentary espresso and gelato, play a round of bocce ball and listen to music provided by local DJs performing throughout the day.

Starting at 8 p.m. and in true “drive-in” style, the brand will show a double feature, an original film along with its remake, each night, signifying the reintroduction of the FIAT brand to North America. Participants also can reserve seating for the movie in a new 2012 Fiat 500 or 500 Cabrio model.

Dates and Location:
Fri., Aug. 19 – Sun., Aug. 21
521 N. Clark St., between W. Grand Ave. and W. Illinois St., Chicago
Opens to the public at noon, movies begin at 8 p.m.

  • 40 vehicles available for consumers to view double feature movie
  • Italian-theme concession stand, bocce ball and DJ
  • Movies can be seen on 52-foot inflatable screen
  • Test drive vehicles from noon - 8 p.m.
Courtesy of Chrysler Media

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fiat 500 by Gucci Premiers at New York Fashion Week

Fiat 500 by Gucci

Fiat USA will debut the North American Fiat 500 by Gucci during New York Fashion Week (Sept. 8 - 15). The unveiling event will occur at Fashion's Night Out, September 8. The 500 by Gucci is a collaboration between world renowned Gucci and Fiat and brings two Italian powerhouses of design together to create a car that showcases the best of Italian design and style.

“With Gucci as our design partner, we’ve amplified the Italian style of our Fiat 500 with unique exterior and interior looks that will make the car truly unique on the road,” said Laura Soave, Head of FIAT Brand North America. “This special edition adds dimension to the Fiat 500 portfolio and will appeal to North American customers who appreciate Italian style just as much as modern technology, value and fuel efficiency.”

Destined be be a collector's item and a showpiece of those who appreciate the finer things, the limited edition Fiat 500 by Gucci will be available late 2011.

Read all about the Fiat 500 by Gucci here, here and here.

Source: Chrysler Media

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rumor: Fiat and Fashion Week...

Heard through the grapevine: Fashion Week in September may be a little more significant, especially for Fiat 500 fans. Stay tuned....

"Simply More by Fiat" Coming To A City Near You

Fiat's "Simply More" outdoor cinema event in New York City was a huge success this weekend. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers took part in the Fiat Experience and enjoyed movies, gelato, espresso, games, music and, of course FIAT 500s in all 14 colors.

Fiat 500 Prima Edizione 29 in Time Square

Fiat 500 USA Prima Edizione 29

Fiat will be bringing "Simply More by Fiat" to Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles in the coming weeks. Here is the schedule:

Friday, Aug.19 - 21
512 N. Clark St., River North area
Opens to the public at Noon, movies begin at dusk

Friday, Aug 26 - 28
1111 Lincoln Rd.
Opens to the public at Noon, movies begin at dusk

Los Angeles
Friday, Sept. 3 - 5
Santa Monica Pier
Opens to the public at 10 a.m., movies begin at dusk

With thanks to Chrysler Media