You forgot to tell us how many bits fell off or broke during the test drive!!
The 1957 Fiat 500 was a macchinetta small car. It became a macchina car with the launch of the new 500 in 2007, and then with the 500L it became a macchinona; a big car. It has gone from 17hp and under 500kg to 120hp and 1.4 tonnes. The Fiat 500X The Fiat 500X: A Goldilocks car aimed at off-roading families. Well, not quite …
But not for too long, almost every country in the EU produce fine cars while finding bits that fell off a British car has become archaeology like with the "Mk. VI Bentley that had been in a field (forming part of the fence) for 15 years", living in the past is "in to day" in Blighty, something to do with the BBC perhaps, Kudos to the brave people at ElReg who write about French cars.
It looks to me like Fiat are taking a leaf out of BMW's book and trying to ride on the coat tails of a much loved predecessor.
In Fiat's case the nippy little 500 which to my biased eye looked like the nearest competitor to the original Mini. Definitely not the VW Beetle, that was in a different class.
In BMW's, latching on to the one and only Mini. One of which I am a proud owner.
In both cases it seems that the powers that be decided that bigger was better and completely forgot why these cars were originally designed in the way they were. That is to be the minimum of car with the maximum of utility. To be able to get four adults, just, in a tiny car powered by a small engine was a real achievement and the sales figures show that the designers gave people what they wanted.
On the other hand the modern replacements have succumbed to the current fashion for large ungainly dumplings powered by large engines to get them moving. If the original 500 had an engine of only 479 cc what does that say about the 1.4 or 1.7 litre engines of the new car?
To my mind these companies should stop and think about this. The new cars are not in the same class as the originals and there is a case to be made for giving them new names. Still I suppose that marketing will always triumph over honesty.
Modern safety requirements are extremely difficult and expensive to achieve in a very small car. Crumple zones and the like add bulk. Safety bars and the like add weight. Hence why today's small cars are so much bigger and heavier than yesterday's. Yes you could design and build a small cheap car with a very poor Euro ENCAP rating but you wouldn't sell many.
Indeed, I saw a original Mini on the motorway a few days ago. It looked like they were on a suicide mission. I was driving a i10 and felt like I was in a Range Rover by comparison.
Up until 6 months ago I was driving a 2002 Siecento Sporting. Whilst it was a fabulous fun car to drive I never stopped having the niggling fact it had a HALF STAR NCAP rating in the back of my mind. We never dared take that on motorways. Living in Norfolk it was never too much of an issue.
" If the original 500 had an engine of only 479 cc what does that say about the 1.4 or 1.7 litre engines of the new car?"
The FIAT 500 and 500C models are available with an 875cc two-cylinder engine (but producing 85 or 105 bhp, because time has moved on since 1957), and it suits the car very well.
To my mind, FIAT's revival of the 500 is the best relaunch of a historic model by a manufacturer (and to be clear I'm talking about the 2007 model, not the X or L, which are different members of a family of models). BMW's MINI was always much bigger than BMC's original Mini: the original car was what we'd now call a City Car (A segment), but the relaunched model was a "supermini" (B Segment). The new one takes this enlargement even further to almost be a "Small hatchback" (C Segment). And I'd rather not think about the Countryman or Paceman.
"The new cars are not in the same class as the originals"
FIAT has at least kept their 500 in the same size category as its original: a city car. The fact that it's bigger than the 1957 car is more to do with 50 years of crash protection regulations and raised customer expectations regarding cabin noise and comfort, than any desire to bloat the model.
(Incidentally, the 2001 BMW MINI and the 2007 FIAT 500 share the same designer: Frank Stephenson, who now heads design at McLaren. Stephenson left BMW long before the MINI facelift that ended up looking like a Chinese car maker's knock-off of the first one)
As someone who proudly owns an original Mini, I'm sure you understand the idea of owning a car because it has character, even if it might be more expensive and less practical than the alternatives.
If you want the "car as a cheap utility" side of the old 500, FIAT will sell you its descendent: the Panda, a superbly useful and reliable car at an affordable price. The 2007 500 isn't that, and can't be that, because what customers want from a "utilitarian car" are so much higher now: hence the Panda's boxy space-maximising shape. The new 500 model was about recapturing the emotional bond that people had with the old 500 - and with the aforementioned twin-cylinder engine, it's got a lot of that same fun to it.
The 500 L and this X are not relaunches of any old model (although you might make a case for the 500L being a spiritual successor to the 600 Multipla, but it looks completely different). These two new cars are more closely related to each other than to the 500, both mechanically and in terms of size. "500" is now a sub-brand covering what you might call the "want" cars (heat over head); the FIAT brand will deal with the "need" cars (head over heart) like Panda, Punto, etc.
"FIAT has at least kept their 500 in the same size category as its original: a city car..."
If you have been to Rome you will know why!!!
For those that have seen the Italian Job (the 60's one , not the modern one), there are loads of the originals in the street scene.
I'll bet they didn't even need extras for that...
Did he design the Mini model with the folding hardtop? Its mama was ugly, its papa was ugly, and when they did the ugly bump, they made an ugly baby. Then they raised it on ugly muffins, washed down with ugly juice. It looks like it fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down, then someone set it on fire and beat the flames out with an ugly stick. It's ugly.
Frank Stephenson design the original new MINI. The models post 2006 were designed by Gert Hildebrand. Not sure who designed the Mk3. They all look kind of similar but in fact are totally different cars.
If you're talking about the MINI Coupe, indeed this is an ugly car. There is no hard top convertible AFAIK, just a hardtop and a soft-top - both ugly as hell.
I have to say I think they've done a great job on the styling, and successfully used the same styling cues as the 500. It certainly looks more like its related to the 500 than the 500L! The world will be a better place because people that might have bought the dreadful Vauxhall/Opel Mokka will be able to buy one of these that actually looks decent.
I like the 500.
I do not like this, not an issue with the car at all but it is not a 500. A 500 is a small car, this is not.
Now the BMW Mini.
Some of them are huge, and one I saw this weekend had a huge tacky looking Mini badge on the boot. Really big like a couple of foot wide.
Small cars should be small and not rivalling large cars, they look ridiculous.
Seems Fiat are copying BMW in that they want to try as many different formats of the mini/500 as possible - just keep the front bonnet/bumpers the same and its all good.
Except the mini version somehow manage to maintain the goods looks across all versions, whilst the 500's definitely do not.
The 500L is hideous, and this 500x isnt much better.
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