the ‘500 cabrio’ convertible, engineered by fiat and built by chrysler

at the new york auto show 2011, chrysler and fiat north america have debuted the newest addition to the american ‘500c’ line in the form of the 2012 ‘fiat 500 cabrio’ soft-top convertible.

the power-operated cloth top can be retracted or raised while driving, at up to speeds of 60mph for lowering and up to 50mph for raising. unlike conventional convertibles, the side structure of the ‘cabrio’, with fully framed windows, remains up even in convertible mode, as the roof slides up and down on rails along the top of the car. pushing the control button once retracts the top as far back as the rear spoiler, while a second press of the button opens the roof completely, tucking it behind the rear head restraints.

fiat: 500 cabrio convertible side view, driven as a convertible

fiat: 500 cabrio convertible the four-seater comes in two models, with a black or white interior and 12 choices for interior trim

a longer windshield conceals the reinforced upper crossmember that stabilizes the body’s frame. inside, trunk space ranges from 5.4 cubic feet when the roof is lowered, and 23.4 cubic feet when raised with the rear seats folded down.

featuring fiat’s multiair intake-valve technology on top of a 1.4L four-cylinder engine, the ‘500 cabrio’ attains 30mpg for city driving and 38mpg for highway, cutting carbon emissions by 10 percent from what the engine alone would produce.

fiat: 500 cabrio convertible three-quarters front view with top up

fiat: 500 cabrio convertible three-quarters rear view

the vehicle’s ‘pop’ model features a 5-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD player, power windows, and cruise control, while ‘lounge’ includes a 6-speed automatic alongside satellite radio, climate control, and a bose audio system.

expected to be available in late spring 2011, the ‘fiat 500 cabrio’ will be produced in fourteen exterior colours,  three different soft-top colours, and an interior of either black or white, with 12 combinations of interior fabrics and materials. chrome trim and fender vents are standard on the car, and four different wheel styles are also offered.

fiat: 500 cabrio convertible front view with top down

fiat: 500 cabrio convertible rear night view

fiat: 500 cabrio convertible

fiat: 500 cabrio convertible the ‘500 cabrio’ convertible (left) and hatchback (right)