Fiat’s reported four-door subcompact, dubbed Project L-Zero, is scheduled to launch in the U.S. in the middle of 2013, but before that happens, the all-new Cinquecento variant will show its face at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
The 500L (L stands for large) will reportedly be a four-door, high-roof subcompact that will ride on a stretched version of the diminutive 500 hatchback. Measuring about 2.4 inches longer than the hatchback, and sitting on a widened version of Fiat’s small car architecture, the 500L will accommodate up to five passengers (one more than the current 500). Style-wise, the 500L won’t stray too far from the retro hatchback, and likely wear the same front end.
According to Automotive News, the 500L will likely be powered by either Fiat’s TwinAir turbocharged two-cylinder that puts out 85 hp, or the 101-hp 1.4-liter four-cylinder that’s currently used in the 500. The 500L, which will go on sale first in Europe before it arrives in U.S. showrooms, could even be powered by a 1.3-liter diesel engine. Europe will also get a second version of the stretched-out 500 two months down the line, which will measure a further half-inch longer than the five-door to make room for seven passengers.
Production is slated to begin in early summer at the same plant that used to build Yugo cars in Kragujevac, Serbia. Fiat has invested 700 million euros (approximately $900 million U.S.) in the plant, and plans on building around 40,000 units for this year, with output increasing to over 100,000 in the coming year.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)