From £13,6856
New range-topping Beats Edition of the Fiat 500L compact MPV gets more kit and bespoke trim

Our Verdict

Fiat 500L

Bigger take on 500 recipe forsakes some style for much more practicality, but loses some charm in the process

Richard Webber
16 February 2014

What is it?

The Beats Edition is the new range-topper for the Fiat 500L compact MPV. It’s based on the lavishly equipped Fiat 500L Trekking – the slightly higher-riding 500L with soft-road pretences – and adds various styling and equipment upgrades for a likely premium of around £1600.

Exterior changes are focused on colours: the Beats Edition is available in different two-tone combinations of black and grey, with a choice of matt or gloss finishes. There also subtle touches of red, such as on the brake calipers that sit within dark, 17-inch alloy wheels.

The colour scheme continues inside, with a matte grey dashboard panel and black seats of fabric and faux leather with red ‘500’ logos on the backrests. Dual-zone climate control is an upgrade over Trekking spec, as is the seven-speaker, 520-watt Beats Audio sound system that lends the model its name.

Coinciding with the introduction of the Beats Edition is the introduction of two new engines that will be available across the 500L range. Both four-cylinder units generating 118bhp, they are a 1.4-litre T-Jet turbo petrol turning out 159lb ft at 2500rpm and a 1.6-litre MultiJet diesel that’s good for a sturdy 236lb ft at 1750rpm.

The other engines available in the Beats Edition are 104bhp units in the form of the 0.9 TwinAir petrol and a lesser-powered but equally torquey version of the 1.6 MultiJet.

What's it like?

The styling changes give the Beats Edition a more ‘urban’ look, especially in the striking matte grey finish, and the sound system certainly packs a punch.

Look hard and you’ll find a few rough plastic edges inside, but cabin quality is generally good and betters the three-door 500, albeit the 500L’s styling is a little more conservative. The special seats are firm but supportive at the sides, and while the driving position is high-ish, you don’t feel perched like in the 500.

The 118bhp MultiJet – likely to cost £500 more than the 104bhp version – gains its extra power via a variable-geometry turbocharger at the meagre cost of 1.4mpg and 3g/km of CO2. Although the newer unit is noticeably brisker (10.7sec to 62mph versus 11.3sec) and pulls strongly from 2000rpm after a moment’s lag, it suffers the same refinement shortfalls as the lesser version.

It also sounds busy at idle and boomy under full throttle, and a resonance chimed in at 4000rpm in our test car. It settles at a cruise but is never truly hushed. The six-speed manual gearbox is both positive-feeling and precise.

The car’s ride (10 per cent higher than standard 500Ls) is comfort-focused and produces a generally relaxed gait. Body roll is quite strong if you do choose to push on through corners, but it’s never unstable. The steering is equally relaxed, and offers a City mode that feels like you’re pawing at air for close-quarter manoeuvres, but it is accurate.

Lower-mileage users might prefer the 1.4 T-Jet version, which is a full 110kg lighter and slightly nimbler as a result. You need to push beyond 4000rpm for a strong response, but there’s less lag than in the diesel, and the T-Jet – near-silent at idle and when cruising – has much better manners. It should cost around £1000 less than the equally powerful diesel but delivers a middling 40.9mpg and emits 159g/km of CO2.

Should I buy one?

In 118bhp MultiJet form, the Fiat 500L Beats Edition is closely matched against the front-drive, £22,240 Mini Countryman Cooper SD.

Subjective considerations may decide which is preferable if you’re in the market for a stylised compact MPV, but from a dynamic perspective keener drivers will get more from the Mini, while those more concerned with comfort would be better to consider the Fiat.

Fiat 500L 1.6 MultiJet 120 Beats Edition

Price £21,690 (est); 0-62mph 10.7sec; Top speed 117mph; Economy 61.4mpg; CO2 120g/km; Kerb weight 1445kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Power 118bhp at 3750rpm; Torque 236lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
6

16 February 2014
I would have thought the Cooper D, rather than SD, would be a be a better comparison car, given that it has similar power, emissions etc. And I am sure that although it is cheaper than this beats edition, you need the extra to equip it closer to the 500L levels.

Anyways, I kinda like the 500L. I didn't when I first seen one, but I'm warming to it

16 February 2014
Are faux leather seats the same as plastic seats?

16 February 2014
According to the text, the new petrol version does still weigh 1335 kg. This is not such a large car. The new Peugeot 308 is easily 100 kg. lighter. When petrol versions are used for comparison. Fiat appears bit behind the curve. They'll need to catch up soon. Even though I assume this Fiat is nice enough to drive, if you don't expect it to be a sport car.

16 February 2014
Over £20k for this, really? It looks a mess, bloated and poorly proportioned, with an interior that doesn't match the price and a stupid sound system. When was the last time anyone felt a need for 520W in an MPV. I'm no fan of the Countryman but it looks better (still not attractive), has a nicer interior and with good resale values, will be much cheaper to own.

16 February 2014
Let's forget about the diesel. If the 1.4T is £1000 less, that makes it £21k (inc obligatory metallic) for a 41mpg 159g/km Fiat.

I'm struggling to think of a worse buy for £21k.

17 February 2014
You wont see the 1.4 T-Jet in the UK I'm sure of it. A remnant from it's Punto underpinnings only fitted to 500Ls destined to countries that don't tax on CO2 emissions.

The Twinair 105 is £1150 less than the MJ 120 on the Trekking model.

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