The Italian manufacturer adds a high-performance convertible, a fully electric city vehicle, and pair of little big cars to its line of Fiat 500 models.
Fiat continues to expand the 500 line (pictures)
Fiat rolled out four new vehicles wearing the 500 badge at the 2012 LA Auto Show. The first was the Abarth 500 Cabriolet. Take the performance of the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth and add the sliding fabric roof of the 2012 Fiat 500C Convertible, and this is what you get.
Also based on the compact 500 platform is the fully electric Fiat 500e. This little orange hatchback is powered by a 111-horsepower electric motor that twists its little front wheels to the tune of 147 pound-feet of torque. Expect to see it at Fiat dealerships in California in Q2 2013.
Thanks to small car physics and wind tunnel-shaped aerodynamic tweaks, Fiat estimates that you'll be able to go somewhere between 80 and 100 miles before you have to plug in the 500e. With an estimated recharge time that is less than 4 hours (on 240-volt power), you won't have to stop for too long.
Like most EVs, the 500e's range pretty much relegates it to city car duties and discourages extremely long road trips. Fortunately, city driving is something that every Fiat that we've tested so far does well.
Power is provided by Fiat's 1.4-liter Multiair turbocharged engine, outputting 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission multiplies torque on its way to the front wheels. A manual gearbox is also available.