Fiat is going turbo.
In a recently released statement, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that all Fiat 500 models will have a turbocharger starting with the 2018 model year.
"With an all-turbo lineup, the iconic Fiat 500 now offers an even more dynamic driving experience and more standard horsepower than any of its competitors," said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA – North America. "In fact, the entire FIAT brand lineup now comes standard with turbocharged power, adding to our roster of fun-to-drive, Italian-designed vehicles."
Previously, the Fiat 500 was powered by a naturally aspirated 1.4-L engine that pumped out about 101 horsepower if you really asked it nicely. For a small car like the 500, it was acceptable, if not particularly peppy.
The 2018 model, however, is going to have a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, producing 135 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque. That’s a 33 percent increase over the previous year’s model and is something that definitely tilts the power-to-weight ratio a little more toward the “peppy” category. It may even push it into “zoomy”.
As a result of turbochargers for all, the base-level trims on the 500 are getting a few necessary upgrades. Both Pop and Lounge trims will be getting performance brakes and sport-tuned suspension to handle all those extra ponies under the hood. They’ll also be getting a sportier facelift to emphasize the additional spunk these cars will have.
To tame those horsies, the 500 will retain the standard five-speed manual transmission or the optional six-speed automatic, and it’ll also get a rearview camera, a spoiler, and "additional exterior upgrades".
The Abarth, Fiat’s most speed-obsessed version of the 500, will still have that same 1.4-L turbocharged engine by through some form of arcane sorcery Fiat will pump up those ponies to 160 hp and 183 lb-ft of torque. Nobody quite knows how they do it, but local residents sometimes hear the sounds of animal sacrifice late at night outside the Fiat factories.
Dealers are taking orders now, with deliveries starting in the second quarter of 2018. You can also get some more esoteric models of 500, like the crossover, the roadster, or the new all-electric model, but those are all far less interesting than turbocharged engines.