2012 Fiat 500 4x4 spy shots during winter testing

It's been rumoured for a few months now, but it seems Fiat is well into developing a new Fiat 500 4x4 compact all-wheel drive. Our spy photographers recently caught this test mule undergoing winter testing in Sweden.
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The car will be a part of the new facelifted model line-up which is also said to include a Fiat 500 wagon variant called the Giardinera. For now though, we have definite proof Fiat is working on a slightly lifted 4x4 version.

Dressed in the next-generation Fiat 500 body, incorporating new side vents behind the front wheels, this test mule also features a relocated exhaust and rear muffler layout to accommodate the rear-wheel drive part of the all-paw driveline.

Apart from the side vents, the new model doesn't appear to look all that different from the current model - purely judging from these spy shots (actual production vehicles may be different). The headlights and spotlights appear to be the same, even the front bumper bar - minus the chrome trimming - looks pretty much exactly the same as the current model.

No official details or specifications of the car have been released yet but it's expected the new Fiat 500 4x4 will use the Fiat Panda Cross all-wheel drive running gear - a car which has been praised by many motoring journalists and experts worldwide over the years thanks to its nifty off-road capabilities.

The new Fiat 500 4x4 is expected to be unveiled sometime later this year and then hit the market in 2012.

Fiat Australia has said that it is unlikely we will get the Fiat 500 4x4 as the entire right-hand drive production line is apparently designated for the UK market.

Fiat Australia has said it would be happy to see the new model introduced if circumstances were different, though. Shame.