First Look: 2012 Fiat 500c

The same 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder from the 500 will be available in the 500c. It uses Fiat's MultiAir technology that replaces a traditional overhead cam with four, hydraulically actuated, electronic solenoids, which can instantaneously adjust for the optimum fuel-to-air ratio within the engine. Power figures for the four-banger come in at 101 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency has rated the 500 hatchback at 30/38 city/highway mpg with the five-speed manual, and the automaker expects the convertible version to achieve the same numbers. Two transmissions are offered on both the hatch and the cabrio: standard in the base Pop trim level will be a five-speed manual, with a six-speed automatic with sport mode as optional. The higher Lounge trim will come with the automatic as standard.

Fiat has equipped the entire 500c lineup with its Blue & Me telematics system. Blue & Me integrates Bluetooth handsfree, USB device playback, and the optional TomTom navigation system with the car's trip computer in the gauge cluster. Blue & Me will also track your driving habits and can transfer data onto a USB drive to let you know how eco-conscious your driving habits have been.

The convertible will forgo the sharper Sport trim level, leaving only two variants for the 500c. Standard on the 500c Pop are 15-inch steel wheels with chrome-accented wheel covers, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 radio with auxiliary input, the Blue & Me system, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. Options include a smoker's package with ashtray and lighter, and a Bose audio package with Bose sound system, satellite radio, and security system.

Stepping up to the Lounge trim will net chrome exterior trim and fog lamps, the automatic transmission, premium cloth seats, automatic climate control, and the Bose audio package. Available option packages include a convenience group with heated front seats and an auto-dimmer rear-view mirror, and a luxury leather package that adds leather to the convenience group.

Pricing has not been announced yet for the 500c. The 500 hatchback starts at $16,000 (including the $500 destination fee) for a manual transmission-equipped 500 Pop, and $20,000, with the $500 delivery charge, for a 500 Lounge. Expect to see the 2012 500c in Fiat dealers later this spring.

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