The Fiat 500 Twin air, which is now on sale in Australia, sets a new benchmark for efficiency, low emissions, fuel economy and advanced technology in small cars with its award winning ultra light weight, compact engine using just 3.9 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle and a miserly 3.6 litres per 100 kilometres on the open road.
Yet this is no boring, dull econo-box that drains the pleasure out of driving quicker than it consumes fuel. For a start TwinAir is in the iconic Fiat 500 and its open top brother, the 500C and that means it starts with being the chic, stylish small car that transformed its class and what people expect in a small car, as well as being a world-wide hit. Then there is the character and performance of the TwinAir engine, combining a rev-happy fun appeal with significantly more power than larger capacity four cylinder units.
Installing a two-cylinder engine in a Fiat 500 might seem like paying homage to the original 9.6 kW model of 1957, but this decision to place the 62.5 kW engine that makes its Australian debut this month is not a sentimental one. In complete compliance with the essential requirements of the 21st Century car owner, the TwinAir engine offers an attractive means of downsizing while substantially reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions, but without sacrificing power or driver enjoyment.
Combined with the Fiat 500’s many other attributes, this remarkable powertrain is expected to appeal to a wide variety of customers including many who may not have considered Fiat before. Those who care about the environment will find the TwinAir’s low CO2 figure appealing, as will owners who are keen to keep costs down. And it should also find favour with trend setters, drivers interested in innovation and new technologies, and of course customers who enjoy dynamic and fun driving. It is for this reason that Fiat Australia has taken the decision to switch its entire Fiat 500 range over to the TwinAir engine.
Weighing just 85 kg, and with figures from 90 g/km of CO2, this ground-breaking engine has the lowest emissions of any quantity production petrol engine. However its 62.5 kW makes the Fiat 500 TwinAir among the most powerful mainstream A segment vehicles on sale. And with its 145 Nm of torque at a low 1900 rpm, it’s a responsive and fun-to-drive engine too. This combination of cleanliness and power even compares favourably with many rivals’ diesel engines.
Compared with Fiat’s best-selling 1.2-litre petrol engine in the Fiat 500, the TwinAir delivers 23 per cent more power yet combines this with a 15 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, while fuel consumption drops by a remarkable 30% compared to the 1.4 16v which provides comparable performance and the same high driving pleasure. Furthermore, compared to a four-cylinder of equal performance and displacement of 1.4 litres, the new engine is significantly smaller ( down 23%) and lighter ( down 10%), opening the way to interesting further developments, such as methane fuel feed or hybrid technology.
The 62.5 kW 500 TwinAir the lowest CO2 emissions of any production petrol engine at 90 g/km along with a pocket-pleasing 3.9 l/100 km for the Dualogic robotised gearbox version. The five-speed manual records a no less impressive 92 g/km and 4.0 l/100 km.
These amazing results have been achieved thanks to a combination of factors. FPT’s MultiAir technology, as employed by the 2010 International Engine of the Year winner, plays a major part in this by reducing consumption and emissions. Combining MultiAir with a turbocharger helps to optimise performance at low revs while reductions in weight and size help boost performance and responsiveness. In addition, the timing chain drastically cuts engine running costs because it is maintenance-free. Finally, a balancing countershaft reduces vibrations to give the smoothness and refinement of a four-cylinder.
This technology comes in a Fiat 500 that is already firmly established on the motoring landscape. And it features all the assets that have made this car such a hit. There’s a choice of slick-shifting manual change five-speed gearboxes alongside the Dualogic robotised manual. This allows drivers who want automatic shifting to prompt changes simply by pushing or pulling the gear lever.
There’s an extensive list of standard equipment including the all-important safety suite of ABS anti-lock brakes and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, which along with seven airbags, have helped the Fiat 500 become EuroNCAP crash safety five-star rated.
To mark the significance of its launch, Fiat has given the 500 and 500C TwinAir its own, distinctive appearance and equipment package. Based on the luxuriously equipped ‘Sport’ equipment package, the 500 TwinAir has 16 inch matt black wheels, metallic effect dashboard, sports seats, Piano Black roof and rear roof spoiler, and satin finish chrome finish door mirrors, door handles and boot lid trim The 500C TwinAir also features its own ‘TwinAir’ badging.
As well as offering a unique proposition of power with low CO2 emissions, the high-tech Fiat 500 TwinAir is extremely competitively priced, with the 500 TwinAir manual offering a recommended retail price of $22,990 excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and delivery and $24,990 with the Dualogic gearbox excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and delivery. The open top Fiat 500C TwinAir opens with a recommended retail price of $25,990 excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and delivery and with the self shifting Dualogic gearbox it is $27,990 excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and delivery.
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