Arise the new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo. Debuted in Monterey, California, the big headlines are the rip-roaring 135 BHP 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo engine along with the new sport-tuned suspension and track-proven brakes. Overall, that is a more-than-generous 34 % power improvement on the ordinary 500 and a 53% torque gain.
The gearbox has also been upgraded to a track-proven C510 five-speed manual for quicker acceleration and faster top speed and for all that gain Fiat say it will still hit up to 34 mpg on the motorway.
The 500 Turbo will be distinguished from the base model not only by its extra fire power but also by its more aggressive styling with new performance-orientated fascias and side sills, all fully integrated with the delicate aerodynamics. Note the more pronounced front fascia, housing twin ‘nostrils’ positioned on both sides to maximise airflow in and out of the intercoolers along with bolder side skirts, less slanted than we’re used to seeing in the standard 500. The old chrome headlamps are gone, replaced with meaner looking gloss black versions.
At the rear, a black-accented diffuser designed to optimise airflow is a welcome addition while a new sport-tuned exhaust should provide an Abarth-like grunt.
Talking of sound, the Fiat 500 Turbo will also feature the Beats by Dr. Dre high-definition audio system, never before seen in a small car let alone a Fiat; a very nice touch indeed.
Of course the cynics out there will point to the fact that this is just a dumbed-down Abarth. And they may have a point. But Fiat themselves are indicating that the new 500 Turbo will be aimed at “enthusiasts who are drawn to the Italian style of the Fiat 500 but want more power and performance for their daily drive”, confirmation that it should comfortably slot in between the standard model and the pricier, more exclusive Abarth variant. And at £12,500 it’s a fair bit cheaper than its bigger brother too.
The 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo arrives in US dealerships this autumn. No plans to bring it to the UK just yet, but surely it’s only a matter of time.