• Turbocharged engine with 34% more horsepower than the base 500.
  • Performance equipment and sportier styling inside and out.
  • Exclusive 368-watt Beats by Dr. Dre audio system.

FIAT announced the 2013 500 Turbo, a new addition to the 500 family that delivers some of the high-performance Abarth's sporty attitude while maintaining the strong value proposition of the base 500. With a base price under $20,000, the Fiat 500 Turbo delivers 34% more hp than the base model, sportier suspension and brakes, and styling tweaks inside and out. The 500 Turbo is also the first Fiat to offer the 368-watt Beats by Dr. Dre audio system.

The equipment upgrades start under the hood, where the 1.4-liter MultiAir engine benefits from turbocharging. While the output is not quite as robust as the 500 Abarth's, the turbocharged 4-cylinder produces a respectable 135 hp--34% more than the engine in the base 500--and 150 lb-ft torque, a bump of 53% over the base engine. A sport-tuned exhaust contributes to the bump in power.

Sportier equipment is not limited to the powerplant, though. Brakes are performance-grade, with larger rotors and semi-metallic brake linings all around. The suspension is performance-tuned too, with spring rates and damper tuning matching the 500 Sport.

Differentiating the 500 Turbo from more ordinary models are a host of styling tweaks. The revised front fascia extends further forward to accommodate the extra equipment under the hood, and air inlets in the lower grille area feed the twin intercoolers. The rear fascia includes a diffuser, while a spoiler at the top of the rear hatch improves aerodynamics. Gloss black replaces chrome for the headlight and taillight bezels. Exclusive, 16-inch wheels have black-painted pockets to match, and behind them, brake calipers are finished in red.

Inside, the 500 Turbo's performance personality continues, with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob with contrasting gray stitching. Customers can choose standard gray/black sport-style seats or optional red/black or black/black heated leather seats.

New to FIAT is the Turbo's 368-watt Beats by Dr. Dre audio system. The six-speaker unit includes an 8-inch subwoofer and an 8-channel amplifier with Beats Audio digital sound processing.

A starting manufacturer's suggested retail price of $19,500 means the 500 Turbo reflects a balance between price and performance. Tim Kuniskis, head of the FIAT brand for North America, says the 500 Turbo is just what customers are looking for.

"We listened to our customers," said Kuniskis. "The new FIAT 500 Turbo is the answer to all the fans that loved the style of our Cinquecento but wanted more power and performance for their daily drive."

The 2013 500 Turbo arrives in showrooms this fall.

What it means to you: Seduced by the styling of the little Italian 500, but prefer a bit more performance? The 500 Turbo arrives this fall.

 

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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