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Car & Driver took some Fiat 500c's out for a road test. You'll find a small review, fiat 500c specifications, and A LOT of pictures!

Great read for newbies!

Specifications

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe

PRICE AS TESTED: $25,550 (base price: $20,000)

ENGINE TYPE: SOHC 16-valve inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, port fuel injection

Displacement: 83 cu in, 1368 cc
Power (SAE net): 101 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 98 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:

Wheelbase: 90.6 in
Length: 139.6 in
Width: 64.1 in
Height: 59.8 in
Curb weight: 2537 lb


C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 11.5 sec
Zero to 90 mph: 30.4 sec
Street start, 5–60 mph: 11.8 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 6.0 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 8.6 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 18.6 sec @ 75 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 105 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 183 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.81 g

FUEL ECONOMY:
EPA city/highway driving: 27/32 mpg
C/D observed: 27 mpg
*Stability-control-inhibited.

Decapitating cars rarely infuses performance or testosterone, but it does seem to be the default method for automakers looking to amplify the cuteness of already-endearing cars. In fact, when an affordable darling car hits the market, such as the Volkswagen Beetle or Chrysler PT Cruiser, you can pretty much assume the top is coming off at some point. So it is with the Fiat 500, which begat the 500C.

Technically, It Converts

It’s worth mentioning again, as we did in our first drive of the 500C, that this isn’t a convertible in the truest sense. Yes, the 500C converts from a vehicle with a fully sealed cabin to one with no roof, but the typical notion of a convertible—a car with nothing but a windshield above the beltline—isn’t satisfied here. That’s because when the Fiat’s top is open in one of its three positions, the door frames and the roof rails stay in place. On the upside, this means that the side profile of the hardtop 500 is kept intact, so the 500C retains the stylistic character of its coupe counterpart better than do many softtops. Still, the 500C might better be called the 500RBS, for 500 Really Big Sunroof. (The C actually stands for cabrio.)

With a really big sunroof comes great responsibility. In this case, the responsibility is to watch your surroundings with a conspiracy theorist’s vigor when the top is fully open, since it collects as a heap of cloth at the C-pillar. Rearward visibility in this condition is reduced to a big fat nothing. Even with mirrors carefully positioned, you won’t know there’s an Escalade bearing down until the hulk is atop your rear bumper. Although visibility with the roof up is also compromised, the 500C is commendably quiet in this state, and roof open, wind noise doesn’t interfere with conversation.

Automatic for the People

This is the first time we’ve been able to affix our testing equipment to any Fiat 500 with an automatic gearbox. The Aisin-sourced six-speed automatic isn’t the most seamless unit—it was added to the 500 specifically for our market—with the occasional lurch during upshifts. But the bigger problem is that when fitted with this transmission, the car treats acceleration as an afterthought. The two-pedal Fiat needed 11.5 seconds to accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph—1.9 seconds behind the time posted by a 500 with the five-speed manual gearbox. (The fixed-roof car weighed 88 fewer pounds.) Opting for the automatic in the 500C—standard on the uplevel Lounge trim car tested here and an extra $1000 on the entry-level Pop—cuts fuel economy to 27 mpg city/32 highway, a drop of 3 mpg in the city and a whopping 6 mpg, or 16 percent, on the highway.

With a really big sunroof comes great responsibility. In this case, the responsibility is to watch your surroundings with a conspiracy theorist’s vigor when the top is fully open, since it collects as a heap of cloth at the C-pillar. Rearward visibility in this condition is reduced to a big fat nothing. Even with mirrors carefully positioned, you won’t know there’s an Escalade bearing down until the hulk is atop your rear bumper. Although visibility with the roof up is also compromised, the 500C is commendably quiet in this state, and roof open, wind noise doesn’t interfere with conversation.



















 

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I feel that Car and Driver is way too harsh on the 500.

I have been a reader for quite some time and consider myself a car nut, and I comment on articles I find interesting.

See me call out Car and Driver in the comments section: my name there is "Save the Manuels" (named after their Save the Manuals campaign and how no one could seem to spell Manual)
 

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Id never seen performance specs on the c. Lol. My last car was 7 seconds faster to 60 lol
 

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People who review cars for a living definitely get into a 'performance bubble' when it comes to horsepower. They lose all perspective when it comes to driving something with less than the top of the range. The Golf isn't very good because the turbocharged GTI is faster, etc.

Reviewers also seem to fail to grasp the concept of some cars as well. These kind of guys are the reason small cars get bigger and bigger with each new model; the name of the car is MINI, of course it's going to be small.
 
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