Ever since Fiat decided to return to the United States after an extended hiatus, it’s been an up-and-down rollercoaster ride for the cinquento. The Fiat 500 was first shown off at the Chicago Auto Show back in 2010 and ever since then, more models have slowly started trickling in to bolster the Italian automaker’s American lineup. Now, Fiat has plans to add a 500L, an electric 500 due out next year, and an unknown model that is believed to sit between the tamer 500 and the recently-added Abarth model. That unknown model now has a name apparently thanks to documents filed by Fiat to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: the 2013 Fiat 500T.
Believed to be ready for the 2013 model year, the Fiat 500T is a turbocharged cinquento that has more pull under the hood than the base 500 but less than the rowdy Abarth. The document findings seem to validate rumors of a new model Fiat had been stewing over to add in between the 500 and 500 Abarth. Of course, the “T” in “500T” represents the turbocharged engine used under the hood. As for that engine, we expect a less powerful version of the Abarth’s 160-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine to motivate Fiat’s newest model.
The findings in the documents filed to the NHTSA show Fiat discussing how to decipher Vehicle Identification Numbers and a “500T” is clearly seen among the 2013 model year listing. As it stands now, Fiat offers a base 500 that can be dressed in a Pop, Sport, and Lounge trim along with the 500C (convertible) and Abarth. The Abarth made waves in these documents too, as a convertible variant also appeared. However, that’s of little surprises as an Abarth convertible is already on sale across the pond.
Fiat also filed documents with the California Air Resources Board but these didn’t offer as many clues. In the state of California, automakers are required to get every engine on sale a certificate even when the same engine will see action in different models. For example, Chrysler Group LLC had its 1.4-liter turbocharged engine certified so it can be used in several Dodge Dart models, along with the Fiat 500 Abarth and an additional 500.
When we contacted CARB, they said there was no record of Fiat filing documents for engines slated to be used in a 2013 model. However, CARB also said the third and final page of the document had gone missing but it wasn’t expected to include any information pertaining to any 2013 models scheduled to be released by Chrysler. It’s possible though for automakers to make last minute adjustments once they get the final approval from CARB.
Fiat declined to comment on the matter altogether when contacted.
So what kind of power can we expect from the proposed Fiat 500T? The European Fiat 500 Abarth gives us a clue. It gets a little less horsepower than its American sibling, putting out 133 hp compared with the American 160 hp. It’s a good bet that the 500T will be somewhere around the same range. Based on all of the aforementioned information, we’ll probably find out for certain sometime in the next 12 months or so.