New 500 cab to cost less than £10k
Julian Rendell
11 September 2008

Our spy photographers have snapped the new Fiat 500 cabriolet out testing.Fiat is striving to sneak the new 500 Convertible under the £10k barrier to make it one of the cheapest soft-tops on sale in the UK. According to Fiat’s head of marketing, Luca de Meo, the open-top 500 is likely to carry a 1500 Euro premium over a 500 hatchback. Translated into Sterling at current rates, that’s around £1200 extra.

With the Fiat 500 hatchback ranging in price from £8100 to £10,900, Fiat could sneak the 1.2 Pop drop-top under £10k, not quite low enough to beat a £9245 Smart ForTwo Cabrio but just enough to undercut the £10,199 Mitsubishi Colt CZC.The 500 soft-top will have a simple roof mechanism to keep costs down, just like the original 500 and its predecessor, the Topolino.

Both of those cars featured a fabric roof and rear screen that folded away on rails supported by the original car’s pillars and side windows.That’s the system that Fiat is engineering for the new 500 convertible, as can be seen on the spy pictures, which show the side structure and glasshouse of the hatch intact.

To keep the folding system simple, the roof stacks on top of the rear parcel shelf, rather than slotting into a storage bin. That allows Fiat to retain the lower part of the existing hatch pressing and to hinge it from the parcel shelf.

The roof is understood to have a manual operation, again to keep costs down, although a powered option is likely.

Our Verdict

Fiat 500 review hero front

The Fiat 500 is a deserved success story for the brand, offering bags of style, a fine drive and low costs

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11 September 2008

Firstly, the Nouva 500 (1957-1975) had a folding canvas top only in the first few years. It was soon replaced by a solid roof with a canvas sun-roof (slightly larger than normal).

Since the 500 never had a real convertible version, I think what we see in these photos would be a real mistake. To my honest (yet biased) opinion, a much smarter move would have been reviving one of the 500 based roadsters of the 60's, the Bianchina or even the Vignale Gamine (by buying the brand from Ford, I'm sure the Americans would be happy to get rid of that).

That way Fiat would have created another niche model, created more buzz and remained true to the origins of the 500 - not just copy the Mini cabriolet.

My opinion, anyway.

11 September 2008

Well I think the 500 will be unique. The only other car with a remotely similar system on sale today is the C3 Pluriel, but even that can turn into a full cabrio. This new 500 reminds me of the 2CV's roof, which has absolute character and fun. I will have to buy one at some point!! Well done Fiat - hope we see it soon!

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

12 September 2008

rtwingo, the new 500 won't be a real convertible, but it will look like the first 1957 Nuova 500:

I think Fiat is not copying Mini, but it's giving the 500 its original personality.

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