2012 Fiat 500C Drive and Review By Larry Nutson +VIDEO
2012 Fiat 500c - “C” as in Cabrio
by Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel
Convertible owners buy convertibles for one primary reason. That is, to put the top down and enjoy the open-air. The coolest feature of the 2012 Fiat 500c convertible is that you can fully open and close the top while underway at speeds up to 50 mph.
No need to pull over to the side of the road. If the skies start to sprinkle, mild panic will not set-in. Simply close the top while cruising along.
The 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.
The 500c is cleverly designed with a multi-position power-retractable cloth top and fully stamped body-side silhouette. According to Fiat there is 70 percent less header shake then key competitors and the new Fiat 500c delivers leading interior sound quality (quietest at 45 mph, 70 mph and lowest powertrain noise). In addition, its longer windshield and minimized header design maximize rear-seated passengers’ outward visibility, while minimizing cabin turbulence. And for easy access to the cabrio’s trunk, premium “parallelogram” liftgate hinges conveniently position the liftgate out of the way, while the power-operated cloth top simultaneously retracts.
Differentiating the Fiat 500c from the hatchback model is a slightly longer windshield that is designed to provide passengers with a maximized outward view. In addition, the windshield elegantly conceals the reinforced upper-cross member that ensures the cabrio’s rigid body structure during spirited driving.
Like the hatchback, the cabrio is powered by an efficient and responsive 1.4-liter MultiAir in-line four-cylinder engine providing 101 horsepower (75 kW) at 6,500 rpm and 98 lb.-ft. (133 N•m) of torque at 4,000 rpm. When paired with the five-speed manual transmission, the Fiat 500c delivers 30 city mpg and 38 highway mpg.
Since going on sale earlier this year around 13,000 Fiat 500s have been sold through the end of September. There are now over 100 Fiat Studios open and selling.
Watch the Jennifer Lopez Fiat 500 TV commercial
At New York Fashion Week a red-and-green striped Gucci version was unveiled. An Abarth performance-version is due in Spring and an electric-powered 500ev is due in late 2012 with a reported 100 mile driving range on a full battery charge.
• SEE ALSO: 2012 Fiat 500 Italian Style-7 VIDEOS
Fiat has teamed up with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and will offer a 2012 Fiat 500 “Pink Ribbon” limited-edition model. Only 250 Pink Ribbon units will be built for sale starting this month, October. Based on the Lounge model and priced at $22,000, this includes a $1000 donation to BCRF. Committing to a $50,000 minimum donation, Fiat Brand will donate $1,000 per Fiat 500 Pink Ribbon limited-edition vehicle sold to BCRF to support the foundation’s mission of achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime
The 500c is getting accolades. The Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA) press members voted the 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio as their “Best Small Convertible of the Year” at the SAMA Convertible Drive in Miami. The first annual SAMA Convertible Drive “Topless in Miami” was held June 30.
All 2012 Fiat 500c models come with a standard four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and four years of unlimited roadside assistance. In addition, the new Fiat 500c includes a three-year/36,000-mile maintenance program that includes wear-and-tear items and trip-interruption reimbursement.
Go topless everywhere.
© Larry Nutson