Fiat Launching Perkier TwinAir, New Range-Topper In Geneva


What am I looking at?

A mildly refreshed Fiat 500, given a new range-topping Cult model and a hopped-up TwinAir engine.

Fiat 500 Cult rear

What’s new?

For the TwinAir model, around 20 horsepower is new, as that’s the boost the engine gets over the existing unit. Economy is down by a little but performance is up, and it’ll still have that characterful burble we all love in TwinAir-powered cars.

Elsewhere, Fiat has introduced the Cult model, a new range-topper. Standard kit includes 16-inch alloys, a gloss black roof, chrome or gloss black mirror covers (depending on preference), chrome details, gloss black tail light surrounds and parking sensors.

The biggest development is a new 7-inch TFT display in the instrument cluster. This should be a little clearer than the old concentric speedometer and tachometer layout, though the tacho can still be found to the side of the cluster, with the fuel gauge opposite.

Fiat 500 Cult dash

Tell me about the engines

For the revised TwinAir, there’s a tweaked turbocharger and a new intake valve control system to liberate a few extra horses, lopping a second off the 0-62 mph sprint (now ten seconds).

Economy doesn’t suffer too much either. The CO2 output has climbed from 92 g/km to 99 g/km, and while Fiat doesn’t provide an economy figure for the new engine, CO2 is directly proportional to economy – so expect about 66 mpg, next to the 85 hp car’s 70.6.

Fiat’s other engines will be available as before – the 85 hp TwinAir, the 1.2 petrol and a 1.3 diesel.

Fiat 500 Cult dials

Will it empty my wallet?

No. Oddly, Fiat says in its press release that pricing will be announced later, but carwow’s own spec lists give the game away – a 105 hp TwinAir in S trim starts at 13,560, or 600 more than the 85 hp S. The Cult, on the other hand, hasn’t yet been priced.

Fiat 500 Cult front angle

Anything else?

Customers opting for the TomTom 2 Live sat-nav system will see their directions represented in that fancy new display, which is rather neat. If you’re buying the Cult, you’ll also get standard leather seats in either black with ivory or red inserts, tobacco with ivory, or red with ivory.

Retro green and a new three-layer white paint finish also appear for the first time, while the S model gets a new blue finish. A host of new alloy wheel designs, trim finishes and leather upholstery options complete the 2014 revisions.

Fiat 500 Cult interior

Any alternatives?

All the usual suspects: The MINI, Citroen’s DS3, the Vauxhall Adam, and Fiat’s own Panda are all worthy alternatives. The new Renault Twingo making its debut at Geneva could also be worth a look this year.

Fiat 500 Cult rear angle

In a line…

Fiat freshens up its retro star.

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