Using the car means being able to rely on its functional performance and find in it all the material and immaterial components which can make approaching it easier. The progressive acceleration of recent years has pushed technology to become a not-to-be-missed element, and more and more often it relies on the functions offered by all types of devices as a reassuring and inseparable element for our psycho-physical wellbeing.
So 'L' also stands for Light meant as that 'lightness' feeling that improves and simplifies the quality of life, that innovation that is not an end in itself, but always to man's benefit. Besides, Fiat has always been a byword for innovative cars that offer sophisticated technological solutions which are nonetheless straightforward to use and satisfy both the concrete needs of everyday mobility as well as the growing social awareness toward the environment and safety. But 'lightness' is also an easy and immediate relationship with the network connection, navigation and infotainment systems the Fiat 500L offers, which use simplified "human-friendly" interfaces.
In short, the 500L is a generous car in terms of both contents and technology, easy to use and to enjoy. A simplicity that conceals a complex engineering process requiring hours and hours of design, tests and adjustments.
A "light" engine range
Today the car must be "light" for the environment and also for the wallet of its driver. For several years increasing sensitivity on the part of consumers toward the environmental aspects has been noticed. A new consumer has thus been born, one more eco-friendly and also more mindful to costs. Respect for the environment is an increasingly important factor that this type of customer considers when purchasing a car. Economic accessibility has just as significantly become a requirement that cannot to be ignored, both at the time of purchase and during everyday use.
Reduced fuel consumption and emissions is therefore an essential requirement for the success of a car. For this reason, the Fiat 500L at launch will propose three engines distinguished by their lower polluting emissions and CO2 levels, corresponding to a real economic benefit for the customer in his everyday use of the car: two petrol - 105 HP 0.9 Turbo TwinAir and 95 HP 1.4 l 16V Fire) engines and one turbodiesel engine, the 85 HP 1.3 MultiJet 2. Each with different qualities, all exploited to the full in combination with the 5- or 6-speed manual gearboxes of the petrol and diesel engines, respectively. Last but not least, all Fiat 500L engines have been meticulously set up, which required over 10,000 hours of simulation on the benches, naturally in addition to the road tests.
Standing out amongst the engines is the brand new 105 HP TwinAir, the new generation of the multi-award-winning Fiat two-cylinder engine distinguished by a sparkling personality and low fuel consumption values thanks to its low displacement and inclusion of a high-efficiency turbocharger. In particular, the 500L TwinAir was upgraded to 105 HP with the exhaust manifold integrated in the head to better cool the exhaust gas under power and to guarantee that part of the heat of the burnt gas is recovered while the engine is warming up, which otherwise would be emitted into the atmosphere. In this way the thermal transient is reduced and increases the time in which the engine runs at optimum temperature and fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced, which total 112 grams per kilometre.
Furthermore, starting next year the 500L will be even 'lighter' due to the cleanest fuel available today: methane. The Turbo TwinAir Natural Power engine will debut in 2013 on the model. It combines - in a single engine - the cost-effectiveness and eco-friendliness of the methane fuel system with the Turbo TwinAir technology that ensures excellent fuel consumption, emissions and performance values
The reduction in fuel consumption and emissions involves the design and set-up of the entire vehicle. As proven by the over 3000 hours of controls on the body and underbody carried out at the Fiat Group Automobiles wind tunnel in Orbassano (Turin), one of Europe's largest: the final result is a CX of 0.30.
New 0.9 Turbo TwinAir - 105 HP
The new 105 HP 0.9 Turbo is the maximum evolution of the TwinAir family of engines that combine the concept of downsizing (reduction of displacement and weight) with sophisticated engineering such as supercharging through a turbocharger, the exhaust manifold integration in the cylinder head and the brand-new MultiAir 2 intake valve control system. The second generation of MultiAir further optimises the engine's thermo-dynamic efficiency by modulating the amount of exhaust gases recirculated in the combustion chamber (internal EGR) thanks to a brand-new design of the intake cam profile.
The exhaust manifold in the cylinder head instead reduces the temperature of the exhaust gases (which are directly cooled by the engine cooling system). This has a positive impact on fuel consumption because the enrichments otherwise necessary to keep down the maximum temperatures of the combustion gases are reduced in order to preserve correct turbocharger operation.
The small petrol engine with 2-cylinder architecture combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox develops 105 HP at 5,500 rpm with a maximum torque of 145 Nm at just 2,000 rpm. The value of the specific power is considerable - a good 120 HP/litre - a value comparable to the sportier engines.
As on the previous Turbo TwinAir applications, ECO mode is also available for the new Fiat 500L: in this condition the maximum torque delivered is limited to 120 Nm and the power to 98 HP, allowing the power unit to function in the operating range which permits maximum efficiency and thus minimum emissions.
The TwinAir engine is a little gem also because of the good level of comfort it offers. The agreeable and characteristic timbre of the two-cylinder engine has been optimised using the balancing countershaft and dual mass flywheel that minimise vibrations and shaking. Particular attention was also paid to improving the soundproofing by studying containment solutions to reduce the levels of noise perceived in the passenger compartment and to improve the articulation index.
The 500L 105 HP 0.9 Turbo TwinAir is very brilliant in its performance (top speed of 180 km/h and it accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 12.3 seconds) and it is at the top of its class in fuel consumption and emissions in the homologation combined cycle at the same time (4.8 litres/100 km and 112 g/km of CO2).
1.3 16V MultiJet 2 - 85 HP
A genuine reference on the low displacement diesel engine scene, the 1.3 16V MultiJet 2 engine of the new Fiat 500L has been refined to further improve its brilliant performance and low fuel consumption. The adoption of a small refined variable geometry turbocharger, which allows the engine to deliver a higher torque at low speeds, makes it possible to match a 5-speed manual gearbox with long ratios (downspeeding concept) that without penalizing performance significantly contributes to curbing fuel consumption.
The heart of the new Fiat 500L with 1.3 16V MultiJet 2 engine is without a doubt the third generation Common Rail injection system that uses innovative injectors able to control the amount of diesel injected into the combustion chamber with utmost precision with a particularly quick and flexible injection sequence thanks to the balanced hydraulic servo valve. With these injectors, now strategies focused on optimising the increasingly advanced combustion can be achieved, such as the Injection Rate Shaping (IRS) system which involves two consecutive injections so close together in time as to generate a continuous and modulated fuel supply into the cylinders. With this method the combustion process is improved, all to the benefit of quieter operation and particulate and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
The new Fiat 500L with 1.3 16V MultiJet 2 engine has also been fitted out with a number of measures aimed at reducing fuel consumption and emissions. These include the intelligent alternator that recovers energy during the release stage and stores it in the battery, optimisation of the engine cooling circuit with a new thermostat that reduces the warm-up time, the oil pump with variable displacement that adjusts the oil pressure in the most appropriate way, reducing the power absorbed by the pump. Naturally the Start&Stop system is a must, while engine and transmission use low viscosity lubricant oil to minimise friction.
The 1.3 16V MultiJet 2 engine of the new Fiat 500L develops 85 HP at 3,500 rpm with a maximum torque of 200 Nm at just 1,500 rpm. The maximum speed is 165 km/h, with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 14.9 seconds. The new Fiat 500L 1.3 16V MultiJet 2 consumes just 4.2 litres/100 km with 110 g/km of CO2 emissions in the homologation combined cycle.
1.4 16V Fire - 95 HP
Solid and reliable, the 1.4 16V of the Fire family is the entry petrol engine of the new Fiat 500L. It delivers 95 HP at 6,000 rpm and reaches a maximum torque of 127 Nm at 4,500 rpm. Combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox, the engine has a 4-cylinder in-line configuration with a double overhead camshaft system that directly controls the valves.
Thanks to the entire intake system with optimised fluid dynamics, the engine is distinguished by a particularly high volumetric efficiency throughout its operating range which makes for outstanding performance levels and, at the same time, economical fuel consumption.
The new Fiat 500L equipped with the 1.4 16V Fire engine reaches a top speed of 170 km/h with an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 12.8 seconds. Its fuel consumption in the homologation combined cycle is just 6.2 litres/100 km with CO2 emissions staying within 145 g/km.
UConnect: always connected in total safety
The 500L is the first car of the Fiat group to be fitted out with a multimedia device based on the new generation of UConnect, the new infotainment platform developed by Fiat Group Automobiles.
UConnect was designed with the aim of creating a multifunction system able to manage all of the main media content on the car, such as the radio, mobile phone, Media Player, iPod or smartphone and in the near future a navigation system. In this way the driver can simply, quickly and safely access them hands-free while keeping his eye on the road.
The new device is based on a 5" colour touchscreen, one of the largest of the segment, which lets the driver access all the main functions, from the analogue and digital radio (DAB) up to all the main multimedia resources (Media Player, iPod, iPhone, smartphone) that can be connected by USB port and AUX-IN connector.
The system also includes an advanced Bluetooth interface to access extra functions such as phone call management or reading received SMS text messages via text-to-speech technology, the innovative Audio Streaming system that reproduces music files and web radio stations directly from your smartphone in streaming via Bluetooth on the UConnect device.
The new radio is based on the Windows Embedded Automotive operating system and has an advance user interface with functions such as the previously mentioned text-to-speech, voice recognition (in 11 languages) and audio controls on the steering wheel so that the driver can access all of the main infotainment contents without taking his hands off the steering wheel.
The UConnect system also introduces the eco:Drive Live application for the first time on a car. Developed by Fiat Group, it helps the driver reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by monitoring his driving style in real time and giving tips so his driving is even more eco-friendly.
The system will soon introduce new functions such as the built-in navigation system developed in collaboration with TomTom. Moreover, the system will let the customer use a large number of apps on the on-board system via integration with his smartphone starting in 2013. In this way he can always be in touch with his friends on Facebook and Twitter or be updated on traffic, news and weather in real time.
The UConnect radio is designed to permit new software functions to be implemented and updates to be installed during the entire life cycle of the vehicle so that the system is always up to date and ready for future evolutions.
eco:Drive LIVE, the evolution of a Fiat invention
Light also is the simplicity of use of the on-board technology of the new car. An example?
The brand new eco:Drive LIVE, the latest development of the eco-friendly application developed by Fiat in 2009. eco:Drive LIVE analyses your driving style thanks to the data collected on the car and provides personalised suggestions in order to reduce up to 16% of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. One peculiarity of eco:Drive LIVE is the possibility to receive feedback about your style of driving in real time, thus attaining immediate fuel consumption and emission improvements. It is also possible to save the data of every journey on a compatible USB memory stick and smartphone to analyse your driving style on a PC and receive tailored driving lessons.
The analysis of the actual driving data made possible by this software demonstrates that constant and correct use of eco:Drive leads to a savings of almost 3 tons of CO2, 1,200 litres of petrol and about Euro 2,000 during the life cycle of a car.
This is one more concrete example of Fiat's commitment to responsible and sustainable mobility, the same stance that has made it the brand which has recorded the lowest level of CO2emissions by vehicles sold in Europe in 2011, with an average measurement of 118.2 g/km (4.9 g/km less than the 2010 average) for the fifth year running.
TomTom GO LIVE for the 500L, for driving with total peace of mind
To drive in city traffic with total peace of mind, the new 500L comes with, on request, the TomTom GO LIVE navigation system with dedicated customisation with the picture of the 500L on the start screen and in the icon along the route, in addition to signalling Fiat network service points.
TomTom GO LIVE for the 500L offers a safe driving experience as it is built into the dashboard and provides the most precise traffic information updated in real time. The setup for this navigation system is located in the middle of the dashboard and allows the totally safe installation of the specific mounting, in addition to guaranteeing power to the navigation device without external wiring.
TomTom GO LIVE for the 500L has a 4.3" display with iPhone type capacitive touchscreen; pre-uploaded and detailed maps of 45 countries (Europe); and it offers the Live TomTom services that permit the customer to receive traffic information in real time through HD Traffic, information on fixed and mobile speed detection systems (including the portals of the tutor system in Italy, in agreement with the legal restrictions in Europe, in France for example), TomTom Local Search, weather forecasts, and Quick GPS fix.
HD Traffic is the most important service that lets you receive real time detailed information on traffic with updates every two minutes. With this information you can plan your route with instantaneous updates based on traffic conditions. Optimised routes cut down fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and travel time.
TomTom GO LIVE for the 500L can be purchased in all the following countries: France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Ireland, Austria and the Czech Republic. The LIVE services are offered free of charge for 1 year and include roaming and traffic information in the conditions previously mentioned.
Social connectivity functions developed exclusively for the 500L, such as Twitter, Trip Advisor and Expedia, are also available in a number of countries, including Italy, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. These services are included in the LIVE package.
Easy in the city, quiet on the motorway
Technology makes life simple on the 500L. Clean, safe and fun driving while being enveloped in ultimate comfort is also simple. That is certainly the merit of the new wide architecture that will be shared by the upcoming generations of models and that on the 500L was calibrated to guarantee top of class performance and comfort. For example, the body has a high level of torsional rigidity - 111,700 daNm/rad - that contributes to optimum control of the geometry.
The new 500L is a car that lets you experience relaxing moments and travel comfortably, also because of the layout of its suspensions - MacPherson up front, torsion beam in the rear - that have been updated to ensure control and comfort at top levels. More specifically, the front suspension with MacPherson architecture has a new anti-roll bar with extraordinary rolling rigidity made with hollow technology that provides increased performance and at the same time reduced weight. The front crossmember is also designed with high rigidity to achieve greater acoustic comfort and to integrate a third load line to improve energy absorption capacity in the case of collision.
One of the new innovations is adoption of a "split" type of shock absorber mounting that transmits the loads to the body through two different routes and therefore get better filtering of the road vibrations, improved acoustics and better efficiency of the shock absorber.
Lastly, the rear suspension has a newly designed torsion axle architecture with a high level of rolling rigidity. This feature lets us save on the weight of an anti-roll bar. Hydraulic bushes were also adopted to improve the car's level of comfort. Last but not least, the rear suspension of the Fiat 500L was further lightened in weight by adopting single tube shock absorbers.
"Lightness" on the 500L is also weighed in quantity of silence. The need to turn the interior into a muffled sitting room stems from this. External noise does not seep in and the motion of the car as it travels along the road is barely perceptible. To achieve this result, lots of time was spent in the anechoic room and on the proving grounds in over 10,000 hours of tests to reach an articulation index of 72%, a level at the top of its class.
Technological and protective
To guarantee the protection of the passengers, the new 500L combines a body designed according to the most modern criteria with active and passive safety content that ensures its optimum performance, so much so as to be at the top of its category.
Specifically, the new car has a safety cell structure complete with double pillars in front designed in line with current U.S. regulations as far as crash tests and dimensional specifications of the materials used are concerned.
The safety performance was designed by the designers and experts of the Fiat Safety Centre after examining all possible types of impact: front and side impacts, roll-over, pile-up and impacts with pedestrians. Various speeds at which impact may occur were also taken into consideration as well as different types of obstacles and different types of occupants with greatly varying physical characteristics.
The new 500L's standard equipment includes front and window airbags - side airbags and knee bags are available on request - front headlights with DRL (Daytime Running Lights) function and fog lights with the self-adaptive cornering function. The model also comes standard with ABS with BAS (Brake Assist System) and the sophisticated ESC (Electronic Stability Control) that intervenes in conditions close to the limit, when the car's stability is at risk, and helps the driver control it.
The Fiat 500L ESC is equipped with several very useful functions:
Lastly, the brand-new "City Brake Control" system is worthy of a detailed look. Becoming available after the launch, the innovative device is capable of recognising obstacles in front of the car and of braking automatically when the driver fails to do so to avoid crashing into them. Depending on certain parameters (road surface conditions, dynamics and trajectory of the vehicle, position of the obstacles and condition of the tyres, etc.), the intervention of the LSCM system can avoid impact completely ("Collision Avoidance") or minimise the consequences of a possible impact ("Collision Mitigation").
The sophisticated device of the new 500L integrates three additional functions: Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Prefill and Brake Assist. The former, while respecting the driver's wishes and leaving full control of the car in his/her hands, is triggered by emergency braking after carefully assessing the position and speed of the obstacles, the speed of the vehicle (below 30 km/h), lateral acceleration, the steering angle and pressure on the accelerator pedal and its variation. The "Prefill" function instead prefills the braking system to provide a quicker response both when Automatic Emergency Braking intervenes and in the case the driver brakes. Brake Assist on the other hand recognises emergency situations and alters the brake pedal's response to achieve quicker braking in emergency situations.
In detail, the system works with a laser sensor installed in the windscreen, and it communicates with the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system. Based on the same principle as those used in astronomy to measure distances between satellites, the laser sensor detects the presence of obstacles in front of the vehicle when certain alignment conditions be present: the overlapping of the car and obstacle must be more than 40% than the width of the vehicle, while the angle of impact must be less than 30° and the obstacle must have an adequate surface and reflecting properties.
The goal of the City Brake Control system is to guarantee maximum safety in all conditions of use, so in certain conditions (unfastened seat belts, icy road, reversing), different triggering logics are activated.