Fiat 500 review - fashion victim or stylish mover? - Performance and 0-60 time

Retro charm offensive that’s inoffensive to drive

Evo rating
Price
from £11,050
  • Retro charm, reasonably inexpensive, compact, did we say charming?
  • Too compact, a bit too charming, more fun to look at than actually drive

Performance and 0-60mph time

Fit for purpose rather than high speed work (you need the Abarth models for that) the 500’s natural habitat is the cut and thrust of city traffic. Four engines are offered, the newest units in the range being the 875cc TwinAir petrol engine with either 84bhp or 104bhp, a 1.2-litre petrol with 68bhp and a 1.3-litre MultiJet turbodiesel with 94bhp.

You’ll need a favourable tailwind and gradient to beat 10 seconds to 62mph, the fastest of that bunch being the 104bhp TwinAir with a 10-second dead time. If you’re in Germany long enough you might just be able to wind it up to its quoted 117mph maximum, too. That TwinAir engine thrives on revs, and needs them to produce its best, but even then it seems like a lot of work for not a great deal of reward. It’s plenty quick enough for town traffic though.

That’s true of the rest of the line-up as well, the slowest 500 - the 1.2i - still 'only' taking 12.9 seconds to reach 62mph, with most achieving the benchmark sprint in around 11 seconds. It’s the 500’s pace up to 30mph that’s arguably more important, and its in-gear performance, and though no version will chase down a cycle courier in a hurry in traffic, they will make a decent stab of it.

The diesel feels best suited to longer distances, while the TwinAir’s need for revs is backed up with 106lb ft of torque from just 1900rpm in its lower output guise, and 2000rpm in its 104bhp specification.   

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