MINI has the Countryman, now Fiat has the 500L, L for Large. Announced earlier this year, the production 500L made its debut in Turin last week. It retains a fair bit of the 500′s cute face and looks, but the 500L is a five-door hatchback sitting on a widened Punto platform.
It measures 4,140 mm long, 1,780 mm wide and 1,660 mm tall, which is a substantial 594 mm longer, 153 mm wider and 175 mm taller than a three-door 500. Wheelbase is 2,610 mm long. It also has a bigger footprint than the Countryman – 32 mm longer but 9 mm less wide. Fiat says that it can accomodate five passengers who are two meters tall along with five suitcases, which is rather impressive.
The 500L can be had with two petrol engines – 105 hp 0.9L Turbo TwinAir and 95 hp 1.4L Fire – and one 85 hp 1.3 MultiJet 2 turbodiesel. The innovative two-cylinder 900 cc award winning petrol engine is at its “maximum evolution” in the 500L, with 105 hp at 5,500 rpm and 145 Nm at just 2,000 rpm.
Paired to a a six-speed manual gearbox, it offers decent performance (0-100 km/h in 12.3 seconds, top speed of 180 km/h) and great economy – 4.8 litres/100 km and 112 g/km of CO2.
The 500L is the first car in the Fiat Group to be fitted with the new generation UConnect infotainment platform. This new device is based on a five-inch colour touchscreen which lets the driver access all main functions, from the analogue and digital radio (DAB) up to all the main multimedia resources (Media Player, iPod, iPhone, smartphone) that can be connected by USB port and AUX-in connector.
There’s also a Bluetooth interface to access extra functions such as phone call management or reading SMS. Based on the Windows Embedded Automotive OS, the system also has voice recognition in 11 languages. On the way is a built-in navigation system developed in collaboration with TomTom.
Plenty of customisation and add-ons are available. Coffee lovers, check out the Lavazza ‘A Modo Mio’ pod system, the first espresso coffee machine in a production car. It is integrated in the passenger compartment with a specially designed deck. No cables needed. The “coffee experience” kit will also include a spoon holder, pod holder and sugar holder.
There’s also good music to go with it. The 500L’s “Hi-Fi system” was designed in collaboration with Beats by Dr. Dre, and had input from the good doctor himself and record producer Jimmy Iovine (some might know him as mentor in American Idol).
The system consists of two 165 mm mid-woofer speakers, two 38 mm tweeters, two 165 mm diameter full-range speakers, a 165 mm diameter subwoofer in reflex box, an amplifier with DSP and eight channels and an advanced equalisation algorithm developed by Beats.