The 2016 Fiat 500 will make its world premiere on July 4 of this year — the iconic nameplate’s 58th birthday.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed the reveal timing overnight, and promised to hold “an unforgettable event” to mark the occasion.
In a fine piece of synchronicity, this most Italian of model launches coincides with Independence Day in the United States, a national holiday celebrated by the North American-based members of the FCA Group.
While Fiat calls the forthcoming model the ‘New 500’, it’s really more of a late-life facelift to keep things fresh until an all-new version drops in 2017/18. As these spy images promise, you can reasonably expect new bumpers, intakes and lights to differentiate this update from its predecessor.
Of course, given the Fiat 500 trades on its cute, retro styling, substantive cosmetic changes are hardly called for.
Inside, you can expect the addition of extra technology and connectivity — including FCA’s latest infotainment system — building on other recent additions such as the TFT digital instrument display.
It’s unclear if the engine range (currently consisting of 51kW/102Nm 1.2-litre and 74kW/131Nm 1.4-litre petrol fours, or a 63kW/145Nm 900cc two-cylinder with a turbo) will get any tweaks.
The modern 500 was launched in 2007, and over the years it has received new engine options, countless special edition variations and various upgrades. It’s now marketed in more than 100 countries and has clocked up more than 1.5 million sales.
In Australia, the Fiat 500/Abarth range retains a very healthy share of the declining Micro Car segment, with 1111 sales this year, second only to the Mitsubishi Mirage hatch (1401). This is enough for almost 25.0 per cent market share.
The re-jigged Fiat 500 will arrive in Australia either late this year, or potentially in the first quarter of 2016, according to FCA Australia. Expect the familiar Pop, Sport and Lounge variants to continue.