The new DS3, customise every feature to suit your style
American car and bike enthusiasts often complain that the best models never reach the United States; so widespread is this complaint that there's a generic name for them - unobtanium.
Well, sometimes the Nomex boot is on the other foot, as with this little cutie, the Fiat 500 Turbo, which made its world debut at Friday's Concorso Italiano in Monterey, California - one of the largest gatherings of Italian vehicles in North America - and that's as far as it goes, because the turbo will be made in Mexico for the North American market only.
Which is a great pity; it's not an Abarth - which is a little too intense for many people - but with 100kW and 204Nm at its disposal, it's a distinct step up from the standard 1.4-litre 500.
NUTS AND BOLTS
The Turbo’s 1.4-litre MultiAir engine has a single turbocharger, twin intercoolers and sports-tuned exhaust to deliver 34 percent more power (100 vs. 74Kw) and 53 percent more torque (204 vs. 133Nm) compared to the Fiat 500's naturally aspirated 1.4-litre MultiAir.
It drives through a five-speed manual 'box with a shorter 3.35:1 final-drive gear ratio for quicker acceleration, and beefed-up equal-length half-shafts and CV joints.
The front bumper has been pushed forward 70mm to make space for the extra plumbing, and larger air intakes larger openings provide greater engine cooling, while two smaller intakes on each side of the grille maximise airflow in and out of the two intercoolers.
The Fiat 500 Turbo has deeper side skirts to create a more vertical bodyside profile and special 16” rims over high-performance brakes with semi-metallic brake pads in red-finished callipers all round and 282mm (up from 255mm) discs at front
The 500 Turbo also has special lower control arms and the Sport's stiffer springs dampers and steering calibration.
LOOKING THE PART
There's a roof spoiler on the tailgate and a two-piece rear bumper with black-accented rear diffuser.
Inside, there's sports-style seating in grey and black, and a leather-wrapped gearlever and steering wheel with silver stitching - all of which will be available in the United States from the fourth quarter of this year for $20 200 (R168 000).
Who said the Americans never get the good stuff?