135-horsepower turbo engine delivers one-third more power (135 versus 101) and 50 percent more torque (150 pound-feet versus 98) than the non-turbo; 1.4-liter engine burns less gas; Abarth’s 175-horse turbo carries over, but can now be optioned with a six-speed automatic.
Year after year, Fiat keeps trying to find the connection with more American buyers, and so year after year, it tweaks and tucks the 500 ever so slightly with the hope of cashing in on that trend following a getting-to-know-you slow start. If you’re in the very limited market where they’re available, the battery-powered 500e is claimed to get 87 miles of driving range, along with an impressive 108 highway MPGe (equivalent to MPG). Thankfully, it has a very torque-rich electric motor with 111 horsepower, which is more than even the base 500, which can also be charged in less than four hours from a 220-volt outlet. And, smartly, Fiat will toss in 12 days of free rental-car passes for times where trips outside of the 500e’s range are planned. The 500’s range of “regular” powerplants was expanded to include a Turbo model. Although the top-of-the-line Abarth still comes with a 160-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, the Turbo-branded 500’s output is rated at a more modest 135 horses. That doesn’t sound like much, but the number represents a one-third bump compared to the base 101-horsepower 1.4. The Turbo’s visual cues include special front bodywork and body side trim, sport-tuned exhaust and exclusive 16-inch wheels, which can now be ordered in black. The Turbo joins the 500C Cabrio (convertible), which is actually just a folding fabric sunroof rather than a true drop-top. The bonus is that, unlike the Mini Cooper convertible, the 500c Cabrio doesn’t lose any trunk space, nor does its roof stack high around the rear seats to create blind spots. The 500 hatchback comes in Pop, Lounge and Sport trim levels, each featuring specific equipment levels, while the 500C Cabrio can be ordered in Pop and Lounge only. There’s also an Abarth Cabrio that adds the folding roof with the high-powered engine and fun chassis modes. The Base 500 comes with 15-inch steel wheels, air conditioning and power windows/door locks/heated mirrors, and for 2015, all 500 models get a new seven-inch display, a revamped center console, and standard Bluetooth streaming audio. At the top, the Sport adds tighter suspension, bigger grille, aero body cladding and unique 16-inch aluminum wheels. Other offering include a limited 1957 edition, which celebrates the original 500 with retro-tinged colors inside and out.