Since its return last fall after nearly a four-decade absence, the Fiat 500 continues to find a steady, niche new market in the United States via its new relationship with Chrysler and several massively popular television commercials.
In addition to the three models, Pop, Lounge and Sport, Fiat has several specialty editions, including the recently released Abarth and Gucci, and some further specialized offerings for 2013 currently featured at the Geneva Auto Show.
In the Gucci trim, a two-tone style and high-styled badging is offered to reflect the famed designer. And with the much-anticipated Abarth, Fiat is hopeful of vast interest in the Scorpion badging that pays homage to the famous driver and builder Karl Abarth.
Born under the Scorpion zodiac sign in 1908, "Abarth injected his fiery winning philosophy into every car he touched," according to Fiat. "He turned the youthful, sporty car into the 'small but wicked' champion."
During a recent gathering in San Francisco, hosted by Fiat, Chyrsler and the Western Auto Journalists (WAJ), Bruce Aldrich, the videographer for TheWeeklyDriver.com, and I respectively test drove the Abarth and Gucci editions.
The Abarth edition in sport mode was particularly impressive during a 10-mile route that included steep short hill climbs, long straightaways on city streets and a short jaunt on Highway 101.
Aldrich, who's also publisher of the site, TruckeeTahoeOutdoor.com, appreciated the Abarth's quick acceleration. It features a performance a 1.4-liter, 16-valve turbo-charged engine, an upgraded performance suspension, dual intercoolers and other options, Russo high-back bucket seats to a performance spoiler. The base price is $22,00. Options and the $700 destination charge push the price to $25,500. The EPA fuel mileage estimates are 28 mpg (city) and 34 mpg (highway).
All images © James Raia/Bruce Aldrich, TheWeeklyDriver.com
A representative from Fiat detailed the global popularity of television commercials featuring actress and singer Jennifer Lopez and her replacement, super model Catrinel Menghia. The commercial featuring Menghia, which debuted during the Super Bowl, has received more than eight million YouTube views.
In addition to the success of videos involving Lopez and Menghia, Fiat recently also debuted its latest commercial featuring controversial actor Charlie Sheen. And away from the celebrity angle, there's also a keen black-and-white video (featured below) that details the legacy of Karl Abarth. And, of course, the Super Bowl commerical featuring Catrinel Menghia.