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by Tim Beissmann

The Fiat 500L has gained two new turbocharged engines, doubling the number of powertrains available in the compact five-door hatchback range.

The Fiat 500L – currently sold in Europe but confirmed for Australian showrooms in 2014 – adds the two-cylinder TwinAir turbo petrol engine from the smaller 500 city car and the four-cylinder MultiJet II turbo-diesel found in overseas versions of the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Giulietta.

The tiny 0.9-litre petrol motor produces 77kW of power and 145Nm of torque. Teamed with a six-speed manual transmission, the Fiat 500L TwinAir accelerates from 0-100km/h in 12.3 seconds and consumes fuel at a rate of 4.8 litres per 100km, making it 23 per cent more efficient and half a second quicker than the existing 70kW/127Nm 1.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol model.

The 500L’s new 1.6-litre diesel produces an identical 77kW to the TwinAir but more than twice as much torque, 320Nm, delivered from 1750rpm. The result is a six-speed manual model that sprints from 0-100km/h in 11.3 seconds and uses 4.5L/100km on the combined cycle, making it 3.6 seconds quicker than the already available 62kW/200Nm 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel but 0.3L/100km less efficient.

Similar in size and concept to the Mini Countryman, the Serbia-produced 500L is part of Fiat Australia’s aggressive plan to expand its line-up and significantly increase local sales.

The Grande Punto small car, Panda crossover and Freemont people-mover will arrive in 2013 ahead of the 500L and Panda 4×4 next year and the off-road-themed 500X in 2015.




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