31 March 2009

500C: reassuringly expensive

Soft-top Cinq weighs in £3k more than the hard-top, but it’s arriving in time for summer

Fiat 500C

Screw you, Italians! In recognition of Britain's love for convertibles, Fiat has announced that the UK will be the first country in Europe to receive the new 500C - the soft-topped version of the lovely Cinq - before it goes on sale in Italy. Which means we should get the chi-chi little sardine tin in time for summer.
The only downside is that it ain't cheap. Well, not especially cheap. Prices for the 500C start at £11,300, representing a premium of about £3,200 over the hard-top 500. In comparison, the Mini Cooper convertible costs about £2,200 more than its tin-top equivalent... and Minis are hardly renowned for out-and-out cheapness, are they?
The premium is a little surprising considering that Fiat opted for a convertible system with fixed side rails - as opposed to a full cabrio as seen in the Mini - at least partly on cost grounds.
Still, just picture buzzing down a balmy Mediterranean coast road, roof down - well, roof back at least - a pair of ludicrously oversized sunglasses on your head, with that in-no-way-cliched Cornetto song blasting out the stereo. That three grand premium suddenly looks well worth it, eh?

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