But engine displacement is not the reason museum curators want to hang this design trophy on their wall. Rather, the 500’s innate sense of style defines the car, not its performance. Just look at the aesthetics of the dashboard, with ivory panels offset by light green tin. Even the steering wheel is covered in white leather and the control stalks surrounding the wheel are ivory plastic. The central speedo/tach/info center is a masterpiece of concentric packaging. The optional sunroof ($850) includes a beige lattice work sliding inner screen that compliments the pebbled hide of the Luxury Leather Package ($1,500) milk chocolate hide seats. The “500” insignias sewn into the front seat headrests use a stylized dropout typeface that looks brashly modern. The layout of the dash reminds you of the control panel on a Lambretta Scooter. The lovely light green exterior (Verde Chiaro) looks like an original Vespa pastel shade. Slip Gregory Peck behind the wheel, and you’ve got yourself the perfect tableaux for Roman Holiday. Just think, a movie star car with a base price of just $19,500. The 500 will sell out in Hollywood.
2012 FIAT 500 LOUNGE HATCHBACK
- ENGINE: 1.4 liter DOHC, 16-valve, fuel injected, in-line 4
- HORSEPOWER: 101hp @ 6,500rpm
- TORQUE: 98 lb.-ft. @ 4,000rpm
- TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
- FUEL CONSUMPTION: 27 City MPG/34 Highway MPG
- PRICE AS TESTED: $22,750