Fiat 500C by Gucci First Drive Car Review
Isaac Bober reviews the Fiat 500C by Gucci with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.
IN A NUTSHELL: Take the already cute Fiat 500C, chop the roof off and add some Gucci bling.
PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS: There really are very few cars on the market with as much charm as the Fiat 500. Whether the Gucci flourishes are worth as much as Fiat is asking is open for debate, but there’s no mistaking the Fiat 500C by Gucci is a fun car to drive.
THE FIAT 500C BY GUCCI arrived in Australia back in June this year and only 101 will be available. The most expensive of the Fiat 500 range, the 500C by Gucci lists for $25,650(+ORC). The Fiat 500 range starts at $14,000 drive-away for the 500 Pop, and the Fiat 500C starts from $17,900(+ORC).
It’s worth clarifying that the Fiat 500C (with C standing for Cabriolet) isn’t a typical convertible in that when the fabric roof is rolled back it leaves the B-pillar, door frames, and side rear windows that don’t roll down. It means you’re never completely exposed to the elements but you still get that wind in your hair feeling that people so crave from a convertible.
More than that, by keeping many of the elements you normally lose to a convertible, the Fiat 500C offers decent torsional rigidity without gaining weight – the usual trade-off with a convertible because it has to be stiffer and thus heavier when you’ve got nothing but fabric for a roof.
With just 101 available in Australia the Fiat 500 by Gucci (its official name) is available in both hatch and cabriolet (it’s the cabriolet I’m driving). Available in only black or white, and both paints are a glossy pearl gloss, the car has been given the Gucci touch. That means the interlocking GG symbol (which stands for Guccio Gucci) features on the 16-inch alloy wheel centre caps (in the same colour as the bodywork), while the cursive Gucci signature sits on the back of the car as well as on the door pillar. Rather than the customary red, the brake calipers are painted green, another nod to the Gucci relationship.
As you can see in the pictures, the soft-top roof features the green-red-green Gucci stripe, as do the seats, key fob and seatbelts. Even the two-tone leather seats and scuff plates carry the distinctive ‘Guccissima’ graphics.
Under the bonnet there’s a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine pumping out a decent 74kW at 6000rpm and 131Nm at 4250rpm. The gearbox is this is a six-speed manual as standard and it’s a Dualogic transmission, which is a robotised manual transmission. Fuel consumption is 5.8L/100km (Dualogic) and 6.1L/100km (manual) depending on the transmission.
The engine is a cracker and offers more than enough grunt to flatten hills and make overtaking a breeze, push it towards redline and it sounds positively racy. But the whole drive experience is let down by the Dualogic transmission which is dim-witted around town and on the highway, either holding onto gears for too long or letting them go too quickly, and the action is always jerky.
And that’s a shame because the Fiat 500C by Gucci is actually one of better handling tiddlers on the market. Despite only having fabric for a roof there’s very little judder through the body and composure across even poorly surfaced roads is impressive. Throw it at a tight and twisting road and it comes to life, turning in with enthusiasm, and soaking up even mid-corner hits without being bumped off line.
Inside, there’s plenty of retro appeal and despite the fairly basic looking dashboard there’s plenty of functionality too. The Fiat 500C by Gucci tops the spec list, as you’d expect given the price premium, and gets auto climate-control air-con, remote central locking, electric windows, electrically adjustable side mirrors, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, Blue&Me system with Bluetooth, USB and AUX connectivity and an Interscope audio system. A TomTom sat-nav unit is available as an extra cost option.
The Fiat 500 has been awarded a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating and this extends to the 500C too. Like the rest of the Fiat 500 range, the 500C gets seven airbags as standard, ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), and traction and stability controls.