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 |  Apr 26 2011, 10:34 PM

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After re-launching in North America last year, Fiat has just introduced its second model to our shores, the 500 Cabrio. A ‘convertible’ version of the 500 hatchback, the Cabrio is a different sort of drop-top as it retains the factory roof structure, but with a retractable material top instead of sheetmetal. Because of that structure, the 500 Cabrio is unique in that it offers the exact same interior room as the original hatchback. Yet another advantage is that the material roof can be operated at speed of up to 60 mph.

Priced at $19,500 it retails for a $4,000 premium over the standard model, Fiat brand boss Laura Suave, introducing the car today at the New York Auto Show, says it’s the smallest price differential between a standard model and its cabriolet version on the market. Two versions will be offered, an entry-level Pop and a top-trim Lounge.

As with the 500 hatchback there will be plenty of customization options from everything to interior and exterior colors, as well as accessories, while the Cabrio also gets the choice of three material top colors: red, tan and black.

Much of the rest of the car remains the same with a 101-hp 1.4-liter engine.

GALLERY: Fiat 500 Cabrio

Fait 500 Cabrio 04.JPGFait 500 Cabrio 05.JPGFait 500 Cabrio 06.JPGFait 500 Cabrio 07.JPGFait 500 Cabrio 09.JPGFait 500 Cabrio 11.JPG

Get more Fiat 500 news and info at Fiat500Owners.com

 |  Apr 14 2011, 4:36 PM

2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio 01.jpg

Fiat has just released photos of their 500 Cabrio, the open-top version of their much-lauded 500 hatchback, a week ahead of its official debut at the New York Auto Show.

Rather than a traditional convertible body style like the MINI Cooper, the 500 uses a retractable canvas roof panel that still retains the overall shape of the 500, similar to the original Fiat 500′s own soft-top variant. While Fiat hasn’t given an explanation for the mechanical benefits of such a design, it’s not hard to believe that this setup has structural benefits that can only come from leaving the roof rails and side pillars intact. The design of the top also allows it to be lowered at speeds of up to 60 mph, while traditional convertibles often require much lower speeds.

The 500 Cabrio will be available in Pop, Sport and Lounge trim levels with  cruise control, power windows and locks and air conditioning standard across the range. Sport models come with more aggressive front and rear bumpers and a recalibrated suspension. Lounge models get chrome accents, leather seats, 15-inch wheels and a new 6-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode.

Stay tuned to AutoGuide’s live coverage of the 2011 New York Auto Show for more coverage.

GALLERY: Fiat 500 Cabrio

2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio 02.jpg2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio 03.jpg

Get more Fiat 500 news and info at Fiat500Owners.com and read AutoGuide’s 2012 Fiat 500 Review here