Fiat announced at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show that gas-powered 2018 editions of its little 500 would all sport turbocharged engines.
More from the Chicago Auto Show
Replacing the 500’s former normally aspirated (non turbo) 1.4-liter engine base engine — which was rated at 101 horsepower — will be a turbocharged version rated at 135 horsepower, a 33-percent increase. It can be paired with either a 5-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic, and will be fitted to the base Pop and up-level Lounge models. Those models also gain standard performance braking and suspension systems, a rearview camera, a spoiler, body-color front and rear fascias, side-sill ground effects, and “Turbo” badging at the rear. Continuing alongside the Pop and Lounge will be the fully electric 500e and performance-oriented Abarth, the latter of which again carries a 160-horsepower version of the turbo 1.4. For 2018, Abarth buyers will get a free one-day performance-driving session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.
The 2018 Fiat 500 models are due to go on sale in the second quarter of this year. Fiat says that later in the year, three new colors will be available: Brillante Red, Mezzanotte Blue Pearl, and Vesuvio Black Pearl.
Although the former 101-horsepower engine moved the little 500 with reasonable verve, it’s hard to argue against the attraction of more power; in fact, we’d likely lose our “Official Auto Enthusiast License” if we did. But Fiat didn’t say how much the newly standard turbo would add to the bottom line, so this might be an example of, “You get what you pay for” … only in reverse.