IT Angle ???
Is there one ?
As a rule, I loathe retro car design. The people responsible for VW’s re-imagining of the Beetle, and BMW’s not-that-mini Mini should have passed water on the graves of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche and Sir Alec Issigonis, and had done with it. Such is the intellectual perfidy of this despicable and lazy philosophy of car design. Fiat …
It could have an Apple logo, then it would cost twice as much and would only run on fuel approved by Apple and priced well above market rates. And you'd probably need a rubber bumper over the steering wheel as you're surely holding it wrong :-)
But worst of all it will only come in one color and if you don't upgrade yearly you'll be ridiculed for driving such an obsolete vehicle.
Fiat's eco:drive is a internet based application. It pulls in data from the vehicle, data on fuel prices and combines them along with other users data on fuel efficiency.
This immediatly makes the article more IT relevent than the next 'a different colour i-product is rumoured to be in development'.
"....A "7or similar" is a car for people who can't cope with a motorbike test....." Nah, it's for those that want to be able to survive a 30mph shunt without extensive surgery. Unlike bikers. I can also offer from experience the fact that most girls will get into a Se7en, even in a cocktail dress, but won't be happy to put on leathers or mess their hair up with an helmet, and then perch on a pillion. Bikes are great for solo thrills, if that's how you like your thrills....
Now, Se7ens with bike engines are fun, so why don't Fiat make a small, mid-engined sportster with this turbo twin? They could call it the new X-19.
The IT angle is.. that the car runs Windows (Windows Automotive) which handles various control functions and the media player. (And El Reg has covered low emission cars for a while!)
We bought one of the first new 500s in the UK early in 2008 - apart from the weird random flashing odometer thing and some issues with external trim, it has been a reliable little thing and it really is fun to drive. It's pretty high-tech underneath the retro exterior, and there are zillions of different options which means that no two are exactly the same.
Well it does have a USB port...
I was also excited by the "Buy from Amazon" link, thinking the online behemoth had made the move into the automotive industry. Clicking on the link was something of a disappointment as I'm not sure "The 2011 Electric Car Guide: Discover the Truth About Owning and Using Electric Cars" will serve my motoring needs too well. Although I imagine it has very low running costs.
The orginal also came in a roofless version with wicker seats called a Jolly, see here:
I remember once reading an article about this beastie in a Classic car mag, which closed with something like; "There. I managed to write the whole article without once mentioning Noddy..........damn.".
This sort of thing is definitely the near future of motoring: it has to be. Much better suited to short town journeys than any diesel, too... (My wife has a golf TDI with a DPF, and it needs an occasional longer drive at motorway speed to empty the crud from the dpf)
definitely worth checking out.
Saying that, how come a 2 cylinder, 875cc engine weighs 85kg? What's it made out of? The BMW N52 3 litre 6 cylinder engine weighs 161kg... Three times the size, three times the number of cylinders, three times the power - but under twice the weight & co2 emissions. If they'd taken the same approach it could have been down to just over 50kg? I guess there's a turbo, multiair cleverness etc but I'm surprised a 2 cylinder engine would weigh that much: it doesn't strike me as particularly light.
The 500 series is based on the 2003 Panda chassis, iirc. I like my Panda, it handles well for a low-end non-sports car, but it's not quite as fun as it could be. It's comparable to a Pug 205 in terms of driving experience, which is good, but it's no Mini (and by Mini, I mean an actual Mini, not the fat ugly crap BMW make)
If this compares well to a Mini, I might be interested. Does better mpg than my current Panda diesel too. I agree on the styling, I think the 500 is one of the few reimagined classics which actually works. The Panda is too, thinking about it. Fiat are doing a lot right these days.
Company cars never get anywhere near the mpg that other drivers of the same vehicle get, let alone the manufacturer's claimed mpg.
Something to do with the accompanying company fuel card positively encouraging hefty use of the "lead welly" to get yer money's worth on the associated tax liability.
One of my colleagues reports that by attaching a roofrack, a huge roof box and two surfboards, loading the car+box to the gunwales and thrashing the living goolies off it all the way to the south of France, you can get a Prius to do under 40mpg on a run. I was impressed.
My all time fave scheme was that of a mate whose car policy said that you could take the cash alternative and still get the fuel card. He did so and bought a 4 litre V8 Land Rover Discovery. It's amazing how much you can get one of those to drink when you're *really* trying......
I think I've found my next car. I love the design of the new 500 (it reminds me of a space age toaster) and I found the old cinquecento to be a hoot when driven hard.
I also love the whole concept of fuel economy dropping into the 40 mpg range if driven hard. That's good for a lot of cars if driven cautiously./
Speeaking as someone who's had a hire car with the predecessor, Microsoft Sync...
I always thought needing to pull over, stop and restart the car was from the 'what if microsoft made cars' joke. But when it got stuck in a loop 'Please say command...please say command...' barrelling down Highway 1 at midnight I didnt find it THAT funny.
My previous car was a 2007 Fiat Bravo with blue&me.
Brilliant system. If there was too much noise for the voice detection to work (you would need to be driving through a roadworks with the windows open) you simply use the menu/enter, up/down and back/esc buttons on the steering wheel. Of course if it was that noisey the person you called couldn't hear you.
The mp3 playing and eco drive worked very well too. The only problem was DRM.
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There is no IT angle, but there is an engineering angle, and we geeks love good engineering. Fact is this is the most radical departure in the way a petrol engine is built in decades, they really havn't changed all that much since the birth of the combustion engine.
I applaud FIAT for the multiair, it's a potent little engine.
Mine's the Alfa Giulietta 1.4 170hp :)
Nissan have the n-tec system that does all that the Fiat system does plus you can stream Blue Tooth music into it. So play music on your Jebus phone or ipod touch through the car and in the Jebus (or Android) phone's case it will also interrupt it to make and receive calls hands free.
Available on nearly all their range, standard kit on the n-tec versions of micra,note, quashqai etc..
Sat Nav too.
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Seriously. For some reason work ordered a Fiat 500 convertible as a hire car to get to the airport, try as I might I couldn't get my suitcase in the boot. Ok it was a biggish suitcase because I was going away for two months but still. Couldn't get it in the back seats either as the front ones wouldn't lean forwards enough, the massive rollover bars either side of the roof meant I couldn't lift it in without a second person to assist who strangely wasn't available at 5 in the morning. Eventually it ended up sitting next to me in the passenger seat.
The annoying bonging noise when you break what it thinks is the speed limit is quite annoying as well, especially when you're late because you spent an age trying to get your bloody suitcase in the thing...
Not available in the US, I tried. We get the POS 4banger one with 37mpg.... Why? Dunno... bastard politicians bitch and moan about conservation and shit like that AND block companies like Fiat to protect fucking Detroit and those goddamned unions.
Enough to piss you off, you know?
Read the specifications a bit closer: (http://www.fiatusa.com/en/500/specifications/)
The engine in the US 500 is a 1.4 litre MultiAir unit, so it uses exactly the same airflow control system as this two-pot. It's normally-aspirated rather than turbocharged (all the 1.4 MultiAirs in Europe are also turbos, but Americans don't seem to like turbo engines), but it's the same clever technology.
Also, the MPG figures quoted here are for Imperial gallons (4.54 litres), not US Gallons (3.78 litres), so you'll need to multiply them by 0.83 to convert to US.
MultiAir itself is a major advance in engine technology - probably on the scale of electronic fuel injection or Common-Rail diesel (the latter also a FIAT invention, incidentally), but time will tell.
From "Fix it again Tony" Fiat has come a long way. Still I have to admit that, somehow, a Alfa Romeo bye Fiat does not "feel" the same (in my head) as the original.
As far as I know Fiat now owns more or less the lot of GM. There are those, I suppose, who
hope that Tony will be able to fix it again.
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This car sounds great but as an option pack could Fiat supply a 90°C crank so it can sound like a hot V-twin, along the lines of a ucati or Moto Guzzi, which happen to have engines in this displacement capacity. Understandably the bikes have slightly better 0 - 60 times given the much lower weight.
I don't care, I want one!
I've seen a lot of ill-informed comments and really don't understand why...
Fair enough Fiat has a shameful past to live with but what has been done since 2005 to resuscitate it has been amazing. It is now own 46% of Chrysler (the Twin-Air is due in America later this year and a full electric one next year) and the partnership goes from strength to strength.
On the IT angle: the Blu&Me system was launched back in 2006 when other car makers were well behind! It allows hand free phone connection and voice control as well as media play (got all my music on a USB stick), also voice controlled. Recently a partnership with TomTom has been made which integrates the Eco:drive, Blu&Me and TomTom systems. This has nothing to do with the engine controls as someone suggested.
Oh: the TwinAir doesn't pay for the congestion charge in London. Not bad for a city car! Stop comparing it with bigger cars!
One last comment for all the chronic sceptics: please give it a break!
If they had stuck with the economy mode by default, and clearly related the mpg figures to that setting, then they could have called da ting a "Boost Button" (not "Eco"), much more exciting all round nest pas ?
Oh! wait a minute, now Bernie Ecclestone's Scaletrix set has "Boost Buttons" I suppose it would have sent the wrong message or given it expectations it couldn't attain.
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