Fiat 500 cabrio: the spy photos

Published: 10 September 2008

Fiat is readying a 500 cabrio and CAR has caught the first prototypes on test around the Nurburg area of Germany. Our new spy photos capture the 500 convertible on public roads – and we can reveal today that the 500 won’t have a fully retractable roof.

Instead, Fiat is planning a roll-back style canvas roof section. Look closely at these spyshots and you can see the A-, B- and C-pillars and cant rail are in place as usual. ‘There won’t be a full convertible version,’ admitted our man in Italy.

When will we see the new Fiat 500 cabriolet?

Production versions of the Fiat 500 convertible will be shown at the Geneva motor show in March 2009. UK sales will begin soon after, with first deliveries in April 2009.

Why is the 500 cabrio sticking with a canvas roof? There’s little space in the tiny 500’s bodywork for a metal-origami folding hard-top like on the Peugeot 207 CC, and Fiat is confident it can deliver a decent wind-in-the-hair experience with a roll-back top.

How will the Fiat 500 cabrio’s roof work?

It’ll be a Webasto-style fold-back roof, the canvas layers concertinaing back at the touch of a button. It’s a cheaper solution than engineering a full foldaway roof – and should mean that open-air 500 ownership will start at no more than £9000.

The 500 cabrio will be built at the same Polish factory as the 500 hatchback and forthcoming Ford Ka. It’s on course to build half a million cars this year, making it one of the biggest car plants on the planet.

Is it a cop-out not having a full 500 cabrio? Click ‘Add your comment’ and have your say

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet