Friday, February 03, 2012

Fiat building a stretch 500


Fiat will show the 500L, a bigger version of the 500, at the 2012 Geneva auto show.(Credit: Fiat)

The L means large, said the press release in reference to the Fiat 500L the company will show at the International Motor Show in Geneva.

Taking a page from the Mini playbook, Fiat is beginning to design variants of its very popular 500 model. The Cabrio version of the 500 came out at launch, and Fiat is launching the Abarth version in the U.S. soon, but both of those variants are based on the standard 500 body style.

Although no limousine, the 13.5-foot 500L is 2 feet longer than the standard 500. The increase in length allows for rear doors, making for easier access to the rear seats. Cargo area will be greater as well, especially since the rear seats can be folded down.

In Europe, Fiat will offer the 500L with its TwinAir 1-liter and 1.4-liter engines. The company has not said whether it will sell the 500L in the U.S.

Fiat 500 purists can rest easy, too, as there is precedence for a larger 500 model. In 1960, Fiat produced the Giardiniera version of the 500, which had a longer body. Fiat also refers to the 600 Multipla as inspiring the 500L.

Fiat will show the 500L at the Geneva auto show in early March.