Friday, July 13, 2012

Fiat 500 Gucci Edition--The Ultimate Gucci Item?

Best Small Convertible of the Year--see below
What do you picture when you think about Gucci? I visualize handbags and luggage, but for 90 years the company has offered a range of expensive and exclusive items, including watches, jewelry, and clothing that I have neither the figure nor the budget to own. My handsome son sports a pair of Gucci sunglasses that was expensive enough to be a special gift--not a routine purchase.

So, what about an Italian economy hatchback with Gucci style? Sure--why not?

To distinguish it from ordinary Fiat 500s the Gucci Edition wears the famous name and logo all over it, inside and out. On its petite body, my "Gucci White" tester wore "Gucci" script on its hatch and along each side below the rear window. Also, the trim, rather than being body color or shiny chrome, was a silvery satin chrome instead. The special white paint itself had a distinctive sparkle to it. The 15-inch white alloy wheels wore Gucci  logos too. The Green brake calipers add a subtle extra touch.

Inside, some of the plastic trim mixed the usual black with some contrasting Ivory accents--giving a light, happy ambiance. The leather-trimmed bucket seats wore the double-G logo on the headrests and the main seat cushion featured a logo-patterned stamping. The metallic accents are also the satin variety. I was  especially taken with the Gucci-themed threshold plates with their dozens (hundreds) of double-G logos.

The Gucci stripe is apparent on the seatbelts and along the middle of the upper seat cushions. It also runs down the remarkable Cabrio roof. The 500c Cabrio model features a folding cloth top that, unlike a typical convertible, slides along tracks above the side windows. These tracks contribute significant rigidity to the car. You can slide the roof back a little or a lot, but if you send it back all the way it will block the bottom half of the view behind you--so drive carefully. The open-top experience is wonderful, and if you keep the side windows up, it affords some privacy while still letting nature in.

Python (not shipped to California) - $4,500

The Fiat 500 itself is a modest little car, powered by a 1.4-liter, 101-horsepower "Multi-Air" engine. It's EPA-rated at 27 City, 32 Highway (29 Average). I averaged 31.5 mpg--but the fuel filler sign suggested premium fuel! For green scores, all 500s get a 5 for Air Pollution and 7 for Greenhouse Gas--for a SmartWay designation.

The six-speed automatic transmission shifted later when I selected the SPORT button on the dash, and it felt like the springs and steering tightened up as well.

My tester had an optional TomTom navigation device that plugs in to a jack in the top of the dash.

The Gucci model, with the above extras, came to $28,850. That's much more than your typical Gucci item, but for a car, it's not that much, really. I got compliments on my cute little ride, but it's definitely not the model I'd own myself. It did prove to be a worthy freeway driver--smooth and quiet--and, if you don't have much to carry, it could serve you well. If you want the fun but don't need the bling, the basic 500 Pop model starts at $16,250.

The 500 by Gucci won “Best Small Convertible of the Year” at the “Topless in Miami” event held on June 14 by the Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA).


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