It’s hard to believe that the Fiat 500 cabrio arrived on our streets back in 2009. In that time it’s won many fans with its blend of chic retro looks, cheeky charm and everyday usability.
In keeping with the sporty badge, this new ‘S’ model gets 16 inch alloys, body coloured spoiler and side skirts. The theme continues inside the cabin, courtesy of an Abarth flat-bottomed steering wheel, bolstered sports seats with embroidered logos and red gear knob.
Otherwise its usual 500 fair: key focal points being the large main dial, which means a comfortable driving position and ergonomic dashboard, with all controls being within easy reach – including the dash-mounted gearlever, which is perfectly placed for quick gear changes. Performance from the 0.9-litre two cylinder TwinAir engine is lively (0-62mph acceleration in 11 seconds, and 108mph top speed.) And it has low CO2 emissions of just 95g/km, along with 68.9mpg combined fuel economy (official figures). Indeed, this little turbocharged motor seems to suit the 500’s cheeky personality perfectly, with its intriguing offbeat thrum, capable of brightening up the dullest journey. The engine’s generous amounts of available torque means you don’t have to change gear nearly as frequently as you might expect… and when you do it’s certainly no chore, as the 5 speed box is slick and precise to use. A long top gear also enables it to settle down to an easy cruise on the motorway. Bigger wheels and firmer suspension also make the ‘S’ feel more focused on a twisty B-road. It’s a good compromise, as although firm, it never feels ‘crashy’ or brittle.
For a small car refinement levels are good at lower speeds, although there’s a fair bit of wind noise at higher motorway speeds. At the flick of a switch (up to speeds of 37mph) the 500S Convertible goes from city car to drop-top… well, almost – the fabric roof folds back the length of the whole cabin – but just like 1950s original, the roof pillars remain in place. This retains the car’s structural rigidity, without the need for additional body strengthening and roll-over protection. Consequently, the 500 Convertible only weighs 40kg more than the hatch.
Wind-in-the-hair motoring pleasure does however come at the cost of some practicality and rear vision. On the subject of practicality – naturally a car like this isn’t going to win awards for space, but there’s enough leg and headroom up front for six footers and the sports seats are comfortable and supportive, even for taller drivers. Things in the back are more cramped, but despite the convertible having a smaller boot aperture, the rear seats still fold to reveal a 520 litre load area.
As with all Fiat 500 models, a high level of safety equipment comes as standard on the 500 S, including ABS and Electronic Brake Force Distribution, seven airbags (including a driver’s side knee bag), ISOFIX attachments and daytime running lights. ESP (stability control system) featuring a hill hold function, is also available. Furthermore, it also comes with great accessories and internal designs. The seat cover of the car is elegant looking just like the one that you can find here: https://redlinetribe.com/best-leather-seat-covers-for-cars/
This new ‘S’ trim adds a welcome sporty element and bridges the gap nicely between other models in the 500 range and the less compromising Abarth performance models. All 500s have a sense of fun and desirability and this is further heighted in convertible guise, which offers accessible and fuss-free open-top motoring – albeit for a premium over the hatchback.