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New Fiat 500 minicar: Engines

New Fiat 500 engine, transmission and suspension.

New Fiat 500 engine, transmission and suspension.

The new Fiat 500 comes with a choice of three engines combined with 5 or 6 speed mechanical gearboxes (a Dualogic sequential robotised 5-speed gearbox will be available at a later date for the petrol engines).

There are two petrol units, the 69 bhp 1.2 and the 100 bhp 1.4 from the Fire family that boasts a total output of over ten million engines to date. The third is the 75 bhp 1.3 16v Multijet with DPF, the best the market can offer in terms of small turbodiesels, of which over two million have been built so far.

All the engines in the Fiat 500 are Euro 4-compliant and designed to meet the future European standards (Euro 5), and they already meet the emissions limits that will presumably be enforced in 2009. The 1.3 Multijet is also equipped with a particulate trap (PDF) as standard equipment.


The Fire 1.2 8v engine has been made more reliable. The coils have been mounted closer together in a single block.

This new type of coil means less spark plug wear, more energy available to ignite each plug thanks to the elimination of the lost spark, better cold starting due to the additional energy available for the spark plug (more energy supplied by the coil and no losses caused by the transfer of high voltage due to the adoption of very short cables), and finally, a significant reduction in the risk of disturbance to the onboard instruments due to high voltage cables.

Fire 1.2 8v: The 1242 cc engine has undergone a series of refinements to enhance its economy. It delivers 51 kW (69 bhp) at 5500 rpm, and peak torque of 102 Nm (10.4 kgm) at 3000 rpm, with a top speed of 160 km/h. Fuel consumption is 5.1 l/100 km in the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 119 g/km. Acceleration over 100 metres is at 12.9 seconds.

The engine features an electronic throttle valve control system known as ‘drive by wire’ (with no mechanical connection between the accelerator and the throttle), and the electronic control unit delivers the torque on the basis of the driver’s demands (torque-based system).

A continuous variable cam phaser allows a substantial part of the exhaust gases (about 25%) to be recirculated in the combustion chamber, significantly reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions when driving with a partial load.

The timing components have been made lighter and the valve springs are of the low load type, to reduce friction.

Another interesting feature of this engine is the use of an active knock sensor capable of managing the advance in the best possible way in all conditions, in addition to the multipoint sequential phased injection system by Magneti Marelli.

Fire 1.4 16v: This engine has a capacity of 1368 cc in four inline cylinders, with a bore of 72 mm and stroke of 84 mm. There are four valves per cylinder, driven directly by the overhead camshaft. It delivers a maximum of 73.5 kW (100 bhp) at 6000 rpm and peak torque of 131 Nm at 4250 rpm. Top speed is 182 km/h, and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is withing 10.5 seconds. It has an electronic throttle valve control (drive by wire) and features timing components that have been made lighter, an increased compression ratio with a combined cycle returning 6.3 l/100 km.

To guarantee low emissions, special injectors have been adopted that optimise the spray phase, thus reducing the quantity of petrol that adheres to the walls of the intake manifold during cold starting and in transients (when you depress the accelerator). This reduces the quantity of hydrocarbons in the exhaust.

1.3 Multijet 16v turbo diesel: Fitted with a Borg-Warner fixed geometry turbo (of the waste-gate type) with an intercooler, this diesel engine delivers up to 75 bhp (55 kW at 4000 rpm) and torque of 145 Nm at 1500 rpm. With this engine, the Fiat 500 has a top speed of 165 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 12.5 seconds. Fuel consumption is 5.3 l/100 km in the urban cycle, 3.6 l/100 km out of town and 4.2 l/100 km in the combined cycle, and CO2 emissions are at just 111 g/km.

The engine is a straight-4 with a capacity of 1248 cc, a bore of 69.6 mm and a ‘long’ stroke of 82 mm. The 16 valves are governed directly by a twin overhead camshaft with maintenance-free hydraulic tappets and automatic play take-up. With all its accessories, the 1.3 Multijet 16v weighs just 130 kg, is just 50 cm long and 65 cm tall. It was designed to travel 250,000 km without needing any maintenance to the mechanical components.

The compact engine is also eco-friendly, thanks to an emissions control system with an EGR valve (EGR stands for recirculating exhaust gas) triggered electronically and managed directly by the engine control system, a heat exchanger to cool the recirculating exhaust gas and a ‘close coupled’ catalytic converter. A particulate trap (DPF), the ‘for life’ system that abates fine dust and does not need additives to be regenerated, is standard equipment.

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