Drive in your new Lounge

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Lounging around takes on a whole new meaning with the new up-specced 2011 Fiat 500 1.4 Lounge

Innovation, fun and downright good value – these are the characteristics most commonly associated with the Fiat brand and they are perfectly encapsulated in the Italian automaker’s halo car, the inimitable 500.

Building on last year’s highly successful realignment of the range which saw the addition of the covetable 500 Cabriolet, Fiat has spiced things up for 2011 by offering the 1.4 manual exclusively in the “Lounge” high-end trim level.

The good news is that the favourable price positioning established by the outgoing 500 1.4 Pop model stays – the price premium for the Lounge over the old Pop spec version is less than R5 000. What this means is that you are now getting a whole lot more 500 for your money with extra trimmings as standard.

“We’re very excited to be launching this model strategy on the 500 which offers customers the very best value proposition – from the entry-level 1.2 to the 500 by Diesel Cabriolet, there’s a 500 to suit everyone’s taste and budget.

The new middle-of-the-range 500 1.4 Lounge focuses on style, technology and convenience while at the same time offering sheer value for money,” says Oscar Rivoli, managing director, Fiat Group Automobiles SA.

At a glance, here is some of the value-added content that the new 500 Lounge has over the outgoing Pop model:

  •  Leather gear knob
  • Blue & Me (hands-free phone functionality and USB port)
  • Leather steering wheel with remote stereo and Blue&Me controls
  • 15″ alloy wheels
  • ElectricSunroof
  • Front fog lights
  • Stability Control (included in the ESP safety package with Traction Control)
  • Hill Holder

Of course, one mustn’t forget some of the other kit that is standard across the 500 range:

  • Body-coloured bumper
  • Chromed door handles
  • Body-coloured wing mirrors (optional on 1.2)
  • Comfort features
  • Retro instrument cluster with rev counter
  • Height-adjustable steering wheel
  • Dual-drive power steering with ‘city’ function
  • Power windows
  • Remote central locking (optional on 1.2)
  • “Follow me home” headlights
  • Trip computer
  • Air conditioning
  • Height-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Split rear seat with head restraints
  • Adjustable headlamps
  • Radio / CD with MP3 compatibility
  • Safety (5-star EuroNCAP)
  • ABS & EBD
  • 7 airbags including front, side, window and knee bags
  • FPS (Fire Prevention System)
  • Isofix attachments for child seats (front and rear)
  • DRL (Daytime Running Lights)

The options list is just as comprehensive. Here’s a sample of what’s on offer should you wish to ‘tart’ up your 500 Lounge even more (please note this is a sample – there are many other desirable goodies to choose from):

  • Climate control
  • Hi-Fi “Interscope Sound System
  • Leather seat trim
  • Anti-dazzle rear view mirror
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Chromed wing mirrors
  • My Port (allows for seamless dashboard integration of a TomTom handheld SatNav device)

A few technical highlights of the 1.4-litre 16v engine:

  • Max power – 73.5 kW @ 6000 rpm / 131 Nm @ 4250 rpm
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • 0 to 100 km/h sprint time of 10,5 seconds / top speed of 182 km/h
  • Fuel consumption – 8,2 L/100 km (urban); 5,2 L (extra-urban); 6,3 L (mixed)
  • CO2 emissions – 149 g/km
  • The adoption of an electronic throttle valve control system known as ‘drive by wire’ (with no mechanical connection between the accelerator and the throttle), while it is the electronic control unit that delivers the torque on the basis of the driver’s demands (torque-based system).
  • Fluid dynamic optimisation achieved by a new high turbulence combustion chamber combined with a continuous variable cam phaser. This innovative system allows a substantial part of the exhaust gases (about 25%) to be recirculated in the combustion chamber, significantly reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions when driving with a partial load.
  • The timing components have been made lighter and the valve springs are of the low load type, to reduce friction.
  • Another interesting feature of this engine where fuel consumption is concerned is the use of an active knock sensor capable of managing the advance in the best possible way in all conditions and, above all, the multipoint sequential phased injection system by Magneti Marelli.
  • On the environmental front, the catalytic converter is welded to the exhaust manifold flange. In this position the device is extremely efficient because it reaches high temperatures very rapidly thus abating emissions even while the engine is warming up.

Pricing, warranty and servicing

  • Fiat 500 1.4 Lounge – R165 480.00 (incl. VAT & CO2 tax)

Enhancing the ownership prospect, the Fiat 500 Lounge, as with other premium products in the Fiat stable, has 30 000 km service intervals and enjoys full after-sales support in South Africa thanks to a comprehensive parts inventory (housed and distributed in an all-new, state-of-the-art facility) and the back-up of trained technicians at Fiat dealerships countrywide.

Fiat Group Automobiles South Africa offers a three-year warranty (three years on paintwork and five years on rust anti-perforation) as well as a five-year / 90 000 km service plan which is standard on the 1.4 Lounge.

The new models are covered by the AA Fleetcare roadside assistance for 12 months. The service is active 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is available by calling the dedicated toll-free number 0800 223 727.