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by George Skentzos

Nearly three months before  its arrival in Australia, Fiat has released full pricing and specifications for the Fiat 500 ahead of unprecedented demand.

Fiat’s decision to release these details before the car even rolls down the production line is to enable owners to take full advantage of the personalisation programme before their cars arrive.

The 500 is sold-out across Europe, and already Australian allocations have been snapped up for the first four months.

“That trickle of customers has now turned into a flood, which means we have already sold the first four months of the Australian allocation, even though we have not been able to confirm local prices,” Fiat Australia general manager David Stone said

The full range of engine and trim packages will be available to Australian buyers which includes three engine variants.

Full Fiat 500 specifications released

The 55kW 1.3-litre turbo diesel variant is sure to be in high demand, its combined fuel economy of 4.2 litres per 100km make the 500 Australia’s most economical car, beating even the hybrids.

Along with another two petrol variants, three different gearboxes will also be on offer – five or six speed manuals and a Dualogic sequential robotised 5-speed gearbox.

“There can be little doubt, given the demand we are already facing, that the new Fiat 500 will be the most sought-after car in 2008,” Stone said.

Matched to this are three equipment packages: ‘Pop’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Lounge’ define taste rather than class. This is coupled with a raft of factory and after market accessories.

Full Fiat 500 specifications released

The entry level trim level is ‘Pop’, which includes Air-Conditioning, trip computer, front electric windows, remote central locking, front and rear head rests, height adjustable steering wheel, split-fold rear seat, ABS brakes and six-speaker MP3 audio system with steering wheel controls.

The Sport model adds 15-inch alloy wheels, ‘Blue&Me’ Telematics with USB connection, rear spoiler, leather steering wheel and gearknob, side skirts and red brake calipers. Over the Pop version, the Lounge gains 15-inch alloys, satin finish aluminium exterior mirrors, chrome trim pack, climate control AirCon and a fixed glass sunroof.

The comprehensive options list includes leather trim, 16-inch alloy wheels, decal options, sunroof on Sport and Pop versions, luxury and chrome packs, as well as dealer-fit options that enable owners to further personalise their Fiat 500.

Full Fiat 500 specifications released

All models will feature ABS, air conditioning, power windows, locks and steering, as well as a six speaker MP3-capable audio system and seven airbags – a record for this vehicle class.

The ferocious 74kW 1.4-litre model features ESP and ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) as standard to keep all those horses in check, plus a Hill Holder, to help the driver on hill starts, and HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance) which steps in for emergency stops.

Despite the high equipment levels, the Fiat 500 will start at a recommended retail price of $22,990 – a small price to pay for the 2008 European Car of the Year.