Here's the proof that Fiat is sticking pretty close to its Trepiuno concept as it prepares the next 500 for production.
Caught testing in Italy, this baby prototype looks remarkably similar to the Trepiuno, which caused a sensation when it was revealed at last year's Geneva motor show. The car is based on the new Panda and in contrast to the original 500, it is front-engined and front-wheel drive.
The schedule for the car's production has as much to do with production capacity at Fiat's Polish factory as the development process - but by late 2007, when the 500 should be ready to go on sale, manufacturing of the Panda is likely to have eased enough for the plant to accommodate the new model.
Engine options are likely to include a 1.3-litre turbodiesel, and a high-performance Abarth version is also a possibility.