Using the prestigious Concorso Italiano as suitable launching pad, the 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo made its grand appearance in Pebble Beach. With is even racier appearance, more potent powertrain and a $20,200 starting price, this latest addition to the family should prove to be an instant hit with existing owners and an effective magnet to draw new faces into Fiat salons across the country when it goes on sale this fall.
"We listened to our customers" said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Fiat Brand North America at the formal unveiling. "The new Fiat 500 Turbo is the answer to all the fans that loved the style of our Cinquecento but wanted more power and performance for their daily drive. With 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque, the Fiat 500 Turbo hits the sweet spot between the regular Cinquecento and the high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth. The Fiat 500 Turbo balances and blends the best Italian flavors that our portfolio has to offer, becoming the perfect canvas for customization."
Heart of the new 500 Turbo is a specially tweaked version of the standard 1.4-liter MultiAir four. Fitted with a single turbocharger dual intercoolers and a free-flowing sport exhaust system, it cranks out a meaningful 36 extra ponies and 52 lb-ft of additional torque. Backed with a 5-speed manual transmission that ships power to the front wheels via a new 3.35:1 differential, it makes the 500 Turbo both quicker and faster while still allowing it to earn a respectable 34 mpg EPA rating on the highway.
To ensure its additional firepower can be fully deployed and enjoyed, the new Fiat 500 Turbo also benefits from a host of other mechanical upgrades. Key changes include beefier halfshafts, bigger CV joints, special control arms, a full sport suspension with unique spring/shock/steering settings, larger high-performance brakes with semi-metallic linings and Rosso Red painted calipers plus unique 16-inch alloy wheels with black-painted pockets.
Exterior tweaks on the new 500 Turbo start with its new bolder front fascia treatment that extends 2.7 inches beyond the normal Cinquecento nose to better accommodate the force-fed engine and features larger air intakes to help with the more rigorous cooling requirements set off with Gloss Black headlamp and parking lamp bezels. Out back, a liftgate-mounted spoiler works in concert with a new lower diffuser to help improve the car's aero characteristics while new taillamps also get Gloss Black bezels. Fiat 500 Turbo will be available in seven colors: Argento (silver), Bianco (white), Grigio (gray), Nero (black), Rame (copper), Rosso (red) and an all-new Verde Azzurro (green & blue.)
While not quite as intense as its 500 Abarth sibling, the cabin of the 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo does boast sport seats in grey/black cloth and a sport-styled sport-designed leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Heated seats in black/black or red/black leather are available as an option. Without a doubt, one of the coolest new features available on the 500 Turbo is a new Beats by Dr. Dre sound system. This 8-channel/368-watt studio-quality audio package features a Beats Audio digital sound processing (DSP) algorithm and six premium speakers plus an 8-inch trunk-mounted subwoofer.