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