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America might not be blessed with the current-generation Audi A1 anytime soon, but Europeans may be getting a convertible variant with a retractable roof.
The A1 Convertible wouldn’t exactly be a full blown convertible, but a semi-convertible could be in the works sporting a retractable cloth top similar to what’s seen on the Fiat 500C. The German automaker has already tossed out the idea of a full convertible version due to high development costs.
The report comes courtesy of comments made by Audi head Rupert Stadler. The cloth top that could make its way onto the A1 body would cover about 80-percent of the roof, but unlike the 500C from Fiat, the roof wouldn’t incorporate the vehicle’s hatch section.
There’s no confirmation as to when this A1 variant would be available for purchase, but it’s believed that the model has already become an Audi road prototype, proving that it may have already received the nod for production.
The Audi A1 will have a rolling cloth top in 2013, though further details are limited.
According to a report by German Auto Motor Und Sport, the company decided to go with a rolling roof instead of a convertible to save cost. The setup will be similar to what we’ve already seen in the Fiat 500c, though probably without the dropping rear window which promotes the convertible feel.
Of course, the A1 is still just another German treat that North America gets to ogle but not touch. Don’t expect the tiny bundle of fun to make its way to our shores until the second generation, which is a long way off.
Audi also speculated that the new A9 luxury sedan could be offered with a new V12 engine.
[Source: World Car Fans via Auto Motor Und Sport]
The original Fiat 500 by Gucci was an overwhelming success, quickly garnering over 3,000 pre-orders, pushing the two Italian companies to release a cabriolet version of their customized 500. The 500C by Gucci shares much of the same modifications its hardtop counterpart has, being offered at a little over $28,350. It’ll inherit the same color choices – white with matte chrome trim or black with glossy chrome accents – as the original coupe, and will also sport the same body color-matched 16-inch wheels.
The most significant difference between the two models will be the cabrio’s sliding cloth roof which has been accented with Gucci’s signature green-red-green stripe. The same stripe can be found on the sides of the coupe version.
Inside, the cabriolet doesn’t stray away from the original design, with Gucci accents throughout including the seat belts, seat inserts, shift boot, floor mats and key fob.
GALLERY: Fiat 500C By Gucci
Fiat will reportedly launch the U.S.-spec version of the 500 Convertible at the New York Auto Show in late April, with the car going on sale almost immediately. Just in time for Spring, the drop-top is unique in that it retains the roof structure, but trades rear glass and a metal top for a retractable cloth section.
The powertrain and even the option packages are expected to remain unchanged from the standard 500, with the car making 101-hp in an even trendier package.
Look for full details April 20th, and see AutoGuide’s complete New york Auto Show preview and coverage here.
GALLERY: Fiat 500C Euro-Spec
Read AutoGuide’s 2012 Fiat 500 Review Here
Get more Fiat 500 news and info at Fiat500Owners.com
With the Fiat 500 already on sale in North America (if you can find a dealer), the Italian automaker will expand its lineup with the addition of a convertible model this Spring.
At the recent launch of the 500, Fiat North America CEO Laura Soave revealed that the 500C will be coming in Q2 of this year. Nearly identical to the standard 500 model, this drop-top retains the roof pillars, but uses a retractable material roof to deliver open-top motoring.
Following that car’s debut, we will get a high-performance Abarth model in early 2012, although that was not originally the plan. According to Soave, Fiat didn’t intend to bring any of the more powerful Abarths to American, but demand for the car was so strong the product planners did a flip-flop.
In late 2012, Fiat will follow-up with a battery electric version of the 500 as it looks to compete with similar small EVs set to hit the market in the near future.
The goal is to become a real player in the small car market in North America, which Fiat predicts will more than double by 2014, jumping drastically from 442,000 units last year to almost 900,000 in 2014.
And get more Fiat 500 news and info at Fiat500Owners.com
Abarth, Fiat’s in-house tuner, launched two new vehicles at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, both which feature the optional “esseesse” kits that give the cars a modest power boost.
The Abarth 500C Esseesse is the most powerful version of Fiat’s 500 hatchback, and Abarth introduced a convertible version based on the 500C as a companion to the fixed roof model. Specs remain the same, with 160 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque from its 1.4L turbo engine. 0-60 time is 7.6 seconds, with a top speed of 129 mph.
The larger Punto Evo esseessse gets 180 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque, but most move a bit more metal, giving it nearly identical performance figures. The Punto hits 60 in 7.5 seconds and tops out at 134 mph.
The esseesse kits feature some neat enhancements, beyond the tuned air filter and muffler systems. Seatbelts are now made by renowned racing equipment manufacturer Sabelt, and the GPS system has a built in telemetry system by Magnetti Marelli, the same company that makes data loggers and electronic equipment for Ferrari.
Gallery: Abarth Punto Evo
Gallery: Abarth 500C
Chrysler has just announced that it has begun accepting applications for those wanting to establish a Fiat dealership as it prepares to launch the Fiat 500 model by the end of the year. While more specific application guidelines will be sent to prospective dealers, Chrysler has provided some insight into what it is looking for.
For starters, Fiat dealerships are to be stand-alone entities with their own facility, service department and staff. They will also have to be able to prove that they have the financial resources to, “support the introduction of the Fiat brand.”
Chrysler has said that they expect to set up 125 dealers in 41 states, giving preference to the highest performing existing Chrysler brand dealers in each market.
With the Fiat 500 set to go on sale by the end of the year, the 500C (cabriolet) will then be released in 2011, with rumors of a 4-door model and high-performance Abarth models to follow. Chrysler did not comment if Fiat dealers will also double as Alfa Romeo dealers in the future.
Chrysler will officially announce its Fiat dealer sections in September.
Get more Fiat info at Fiat500Owners.com
Official release after the jump:
Chrysler might not be holding a press conference at the Detroit Auto Show in just a few weeks time but the automaker is planning to draw crowds at its booth by showing off a long list of Italian machinery, including several Fiat products that are expected to launch in North America in the near future.
Previous reports have already suggested Chrysler will show a rebadged version of the Lancia Delta premium hatchback, which is expected to be one of the first new Chrysler-badged Fiat models to arrive in North America.
Now we have word that Chrysler will show the entire Fiat 500 lineup of cars, including a new electric version of the car. We don’t know if this will be a concept or a production model. In addition to the 500 EV, there will be the standard hatchback and excessively cute convertible models. We’re most excited to see the Abarth model (above) with a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 133-hp and 130 ft-lbs of torque.
Even more surprising than all this is word that inside the Chrysler booth we’re expected to see Fiat-brands like Ferrari and Maserati – meaning Detroit F-car fans will get a chance to gaze upon the new 458 Italia.
[Source: Automotive News via Autoblog]