Save the Date

November 16-17, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, one of the most anticipated cars of 2012 will debut. The Fiat 500 Abarth. Yes, you read that right. The Abarth is not a V8, RWD sports coupe or a trillion horsepower, billion dollar supercar, but the sporting version of the Fiat 500.

Powered by a turbocharged 4 cylinder engine, the Abarth should produce around 180hp, 10 more horsepower than the European version. Also, it only weighs around 2300 pounds, and will probably get close to 40mpg on the highway. This isn’t just eating your cake and having it too, it’s like eating the whole bakery and looking like Brad Pitt.

Not to mention, the Abarth name is steeped in racing history. Founded in the 1950s, Abarth started as an unofficial tuner for Fiats. However, they slowly began to be incorporated into the company to modify cars officially, and organize Fiat’s racing activities, from sports car racing to rallying. For reference, the M badge for BMW has only been around since the 1980s.

After its debut, the Abarth should be on showroom floors the first half of 2012. In these times of austerity, the Fiat 500 Abarth is a battle ax of fun to cleave through the continuing stream of boring cars.

You can view the rest of this story here.

Stay tuned to Dashboard News since this car will be among others in a post outlining the upcoming Italian automotive renaissance in the U.S.

  

Scion IQ Priced

Scion, the “Youth Brand” of Toyota, has priced their newest car for the American market, the iQ. The Scion IQ is set to hit our shores with a price tag of $15,995. The iQ is Scion’s version of the Toyota iQ sold in foreign markets.

Personally, like the Smart car, I don’t really see the point of this car at all. People buy city cars for style and/or frugality. The iQ posses none of these traits.

First, the iQ looks like the design they threw away while making the Toyota Yaris, which is no looker itself. Short, squat, and wide, the iQ is the exact opposite of how to make a pretty car. In addition, it is a Scion. This may be a plus if you consume bucketfuls of energy drinks per day, and wear flat-brimmed baseball caps, but if you are an actual adult, the Scion badge is a detriment. The iQ’s Quasimodo looks especially come to light when sat alongside the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500, its European competition, who have won a case full of international design awards.

Secondly, it is not frugal in the slightest. At $15,995 it is nearly the most expensive in its segment outside the better equipped and better looking Ford Fiesta hatch (the Fiesta sedan is cheaper than the iQ). The Mazda2, Hyundai Accent, and Fiat 500 all undercut it in price and all offer either looks (Fiat), value (Hyundai with its 10 year warranty), or driving performance (Mazda). Not to mention all these cars are larger and will not be mistaken for windup toys when pulling up to someone’s house for a first date. The most glaring flaw is that across the sales floor, Toyota offers the Yaris for around 13K, which is also larger and at least boring to look at instead of outright atrocious.

Finally, you may think that it gets fantastic gas mileage because of its small size and light weight (around 2100 pounds). Wrong again. The iQ gets only 37mpg highway. All of the mentioned competition, except the Yaris, gets more miles out of a drop of gas. Plus, The Yaris only gives up one mpg on the highway to the iQ while also being larger.

At the end of the day, there is no point to the iQ. It is a three year old, warmed over Toyota with a Scion badge that is not cheap, not frugal, and not pretty. The urban commuters the iQ wants to attract are too focused on fashion and badge snobbery to even make a passing glance at a Scion. Fuel misers will go right for more efficient offerings, and people shopping on price won’t buy it either. In fact, Scion’s targeted youth clientele may not buy it either since nothing about a rebadged Toyota that looks like a melted ice cream scoop screams youthful exuberance. The iQ is just another sign that the Scion brand is floundering for life. The car enthusiast’s only hope for the Scion brand is the upcoming FT-86.

  

Vintage Rally Goodness

Make sure to take a peek at the video above to see the cobwebs being shaken off some historic rally stars. Shot at this year’s Vintage Acroplois Rally in Greece, the video features everything from old Porsches to Group B rally monsters.

10th Historic Acropolis Rally

  

2012 Fiat 500 gallery

There has been no shortage of buzz around the 2012 Fiat 500 launch in the U.S. So when Bullz-Eye had a chance to review the 500 we jumped at the chance. This iconic Italian compact car stands out with flare and sporty styling. The first day behind the wheel of the Fiat 500 revealed that this lounge garners as much attention as any car we’ve driven! Check back in a few weeks for our complete review of the 2012 Fiat 500…Ciao!

  

Fiat continues to integrate fuel efficiency into Chrysler products

The Detroit News writes that Chrysler’s new powertrains will focus on fuel efficiency with Fiat technology.

Chrysler Group LLC is bolstering its lineup of fuel-efficient powertrains, thanks to initiatives under Fiat SpA management.

Many of the advances involve Fiat technology; the Italian automaker is known as a small-car and small-engine specialist.

Paolo Ferrero, the former Fiat executive who now heads Chrysler powertrain, said work is under way on a variety of propulsion systems, ranging from improved gasoline engines to diesels, hybrids and electric vehicles.

And new transmissions will further improve fuel efficiency, he said Thursday after a presentation at the 2011 Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress.

Chrysler’s new Pentastar V-6 is proliferating across the lineup and is being considered for the Ram 1500 pickup as well, Ferrero said. That would allow the Ram to compete more directly with the new Ford F-150. The Ram currently has an older version V-6 as well as a V-8.

The Auburn Hills automaker also is improving its four-cylinder engines with Fiat’s MultiAir technology, which improves combustion. The engine in the Fiat 500 has MultiAir, and it will be expanded to more engines in Chrysler vehicles. Turbocharging also is expected in the future.

Read the full article.

  

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