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The Warsaw Voice » Other » May 28, 2008
Bella Bambini: The Fiat 500
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Not Just Good Looks
May 28, 2008 By Bartosz Grzybiński   
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The Fiat 500 is an unusual combination of the latest car technology and retro design harking back to the 1960s. The automaker's passion for cars is written all over this vehicle, which stands as both an icon of Italian style and an example of excellent design.

In automotive history there have been cars that have become symbols of the industry's development. Not only did they revolutionize the motor industry but they also became cult objects revered by fans and motoring enthusiasts. One such car is the Fiat 500, which has come to symbolize the Italian car industry. In the 1960s, the "500" was an object of desire for many Italians who wanted to exchange their scooters for a car. For many of them this small Fiat became their first vehicle, offering an affordable price, simple construction and functionality.

Last year's unveiling of the new Fiat 500 was an enormous success. Rarely has a car been so universally popular as the "500." The new three-door Fiat 500 at first glance looks a lot like the famous original model but nevertheless differs significantly. The car is 3,546 mm long, 1,627 mm wide and 1,488 mm high. Its distinctive, much-loved bulbous body is even bigger but remains in proportion with the rest of the car.

The exterior and interior design of the new car are reminiscent of its predecessor. However, the beautiful exterior hides some serious technology that guarantees maximum safety and comfort. Suffice to say that such a small car achieved a 5-star rating in a Euro NCAP crash test. This is the first model in the segment A category that has seven air bags and is equipped with the latest ESP system. The model comes in a range of gasoline engines: 1.2l./69hp, 1.4l./100hp, and a 1.3l./75hp Common Rail diesel engine. All the engines conform to Euro 5 exhaust-emission regulations, which do not come into force for another two years.

That is not all. The Fiat 500 comes in a staggering 500,000 variations, based on a combination of at least four different models, the three engine sizes, 12 bodywork colors, 15 upholstery options, nine wheel designs, and 19 different self-adhesive bodywork stripes. In this way every "500" owner can create a unique car to suit their own taste and needs. As if this was not enough, the Fiat 500 also has its own range of additional gadgets despite the standard model being replete with electric equipment, air conditioning and an audio/CD system.

It is no surprise that such a vehicle has won just about every possible award for new cars on the market, including the Car of the Year 2008 title, the motor industry's equivalent of an Oscar. The combination of Italian design and ultramodern technology has proved a winning formula. Poles too can claim credit for the success of the Fiat 500 since the model is built in the Fiat factory in Tychy in southwestern Poland.
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