The Fiat 500 has been around since the 1950’s and is the brands most iconic model, recently I got a chance to spend the week in the 500c Gucci convertible.
The Gucci as the name suggests is the result of a collaboration between Fiat and world famous fashion brand Gucci, now fashion to me is just making sure that I have the same coloured socks when I go out.
So I thought the green red green stripes across the top were just a subtle way of adding Italian flag colours to the car, it took my good wife to point out they were Gucci’s signature colours. Now you can’t miss the fact Gucci had something to do with this car apart from the stripes across the roof, the Gucci badges, GG on the rim centre caps, even Gucci green brake callipers.
It only comes in 2 colours black and the beautiful glossy white pearl that this car is painted in, the paint work even has glass beads in it to make it “shine like a gem” and really makes the Gucci stand out from other Fiat 500 convertibles.
Looking at the current model you can’t help but see the original Fiat 500, this car has really stayed close to it’s roots as far looking like the original 500.
Gucci hasn’t just waved it’s magic on the outside but you would expect they have done the inside as well, the seats belts are green red green, the front and rear two tone leather seats features Gucci stripes and really look good. The front are comfortable for a small car although there’s limited adjustment I was easily able to find a comfortable driving position. For such a small car it has reasonable leg room the downside to this is that while this car does have a back seat I think you would be extremely had pressed to get anyone in there I’m only 5’10” and both of my kids could get behind the drivers seats.
The two tone leather steering wheel is comfortable to hold features buttons for the audio and voice recognition system, while Gucci may have had a part in the design of the car the dash is still Fiat 500c so there is expanse of hard plastics but it does have velvet effect to it and it adds a great contrast to the white.
The instrument panel is retro designed and looks a lot like the original 500 round set up, the Speedo is around the outside with the rev counter inside in the centre is an LCD screen which displays information such a the fuel economy.
The centre of the dash features the Interscope Sound System which is stand fit to the Gucci, this system was apparently designed specifically for the Fiat 500 and has a 30-watt amp, six speakers and a 100-watt subwoofer. The system does offer great sound but to tell you the truth I didn’t really explore the limits of the system too many times during the week because of the wonderful sound track coming from the exhaust.
Under the bonnet The Gucci is powered by Fiat awesome little 1.4L turbo engine developing 74Kw of power and 131 nM of torque and while that it doesn’t look that much on the paper the engine really gets the Fiat along. I find the engine is very tractable for such a little engine it will easily keep up with traffic and gets up to highway speeds with easy as well. The best thing about the engine is it really loves to rev and offers a really rewarding driving when driven spiritedly and being a Fiat the exhaust note is fantastic Fiat make some of the worlds best sounding engines and I found myself driving with either the stereo turned down or off just so I could listen to the engine.
It also has a sport function which when pressed gives the car a more responsive pedal and increases the the steering weigh which adds to the experience tell you the truth I liked the extra steering feel and engine responsiveness and spent most of the week in sport mode.
I did test it out going up a hill and there is a very noticeable difference between normal mode and sport, while in normal mode the car would keep the same speed up the hill but pressing the sport button the revs would rises and you could feel the car wanting to accelerate more.
Economy wise this car is fantastic during the week I returned 8.8L/100 km yes I know I was way off from the official urban figures of 7.1L/100km for this car, but like every car I review I don’t test them to get every ounce of economy from them I drive them like I would if I owned the car. Yes I’m sure you could get way better economy from it then I did but I can guarantee you wouldn’t be having the same amount of fun I did driving during the week. for those of you hell bent on getting the best economy possible the car does have an economy mode as well.
The 1.4L engine is backed by Fiat Dualogic clutchless manual gearbox which has full automatic mode, transmission with selectable fully automatic mode.
Basically it’s manual without a clutch pedal, the gearbox offers drivers either the choice of driving in manual mode where you change the gears yourself or auto mode where it behaves like a normal auto transmission. I found manual mode was the best to take advantage and explore that wonderful engine, but auto mode was great for just tooling around in traffic.
One thing I noticed which was though being a clutchles manual the gear box was a touch jerky in auto mode just in the fact there would be a slight drop in revs in between gear changes, but I did find that taking my foot off the pedal during changes got rid of that with auto and sport both engaged I found the gear changes were really quick.
My choice would be if I was driving for economy or just tolling along in traffic auto mode would be the go but if you wanted to pick up the pace a little then use manual mode essentially it gives you 2 gear boxes in one an auto when you want an auto but then manual when you want to change gears yourself.
Handling wise the Gucci like most Fiat handle great I did find it a touch firmly sprung . On smooth roads it rides awesome but as the road deteriorates so does the ride not to point where it’s uncomfortable or annoying but you do notice the bumps a lot more then say in the Fiat Panda I drove the week before part of the reason could be due to the car small wheel base the ride though did mean it was more fun to drive then the Panda. The two mode electric power steering offers great feel and is extremely responsive.
Safety wise the all Fiat 500’s received a 5 Star ANCAP safety rating and are full of safety features including 7 airbags, ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, ASR to limit wheel spin during acceleration, MSR to modulate brake torque while changing down and ESP. The ESP system also incorporates hydraulic brake assistance and a Hill Holder function. While it looses some points for not having a reverse camera it does get some back for having reverse sensors.
Having the convertible top was fun as well while I didn’t use it a lot specially during the hot days since I will burn in 5 minutes in the sun, it was great to cruise home at night with the top down and was really nice having the top down enjoying a fabulous Aussie summers evening when my wife and I went for a drive.
I was was really impressed with the Fiat 500c Gucci convertible, it’s a fun car to drive, packed full of safety features and will return excellent economy, the convertible top let you enjoy to feeling you get driving with the top down. Sure it does have it’s down sides the dual logic transmission while it works great most of the time can be a little slow during gear changes in auto mode and while does have 4 seats I think you would hard pressed to fit 4 people in it.
Now the Gucci model does sit at the top of Fiats 500 range so as you would expect you pay that little bit but it’s only a touch over $25,000 for the auto model so really it isn’t going to break the bank, plus you get a decent amount of kit for your money, plus you get that awesome little 1.4L turbo.
If you your after a small car and want something that stands out from the rest, offers you great economy a fabulous drive and has those little bits extra like the great stereo system, comfortable leather seats and the experience of driving with the top down then you should definitely take the Fiat 500 Gucci for a spin.
For more info on Fiat’s fabulous little 500 range visit their website http://www.fiat.com.au