Shown on the left is the Fiat 500C that is sold in the European market and when the drop-top Fiat 500 makes its debut in New York, we can expect it to bear a striking resemblance to the one shown here. As you can see, the Fiat 500 Cabrio features an interesting hard-and-soft top combo that retracts on a track mounted into the car’s unibody framework. Unlike other convertibles that have a complete soft top that requires additional reinforcement to the doors and floor to meet US safety standards are not as necessary, since the 500 Cabrio maintains the structural roofline, as well as the A, B and C pillars.
The design of the 2012 Fiat 500 convertible offers open-air cruising for front and rear passengers while offering a similar structural rigidity to the solid-topped Fiat 500s. As the soft portion retracts along the track work built into the upper portions of the unibody, the hard panels that house the 3rd brake light fold down into a nice compact package – making sure that the 3rd brake light is still functional even though it sits atop the rear hatch rather than along the roofline.
I have not had the pleasure of checking out a Fiat 500C in person but it looks like the storage location of the retracting top helps to save storage space in the very rear portion of the 500, so the 500 convertible offers open air comfort with seating for 4 and similar cargo space to the traditional hard-top Fiat 500s.
The new Fiat 500 convertible is expected to hit US shores later this spring – shortly after the 2012 Fiat 500 makes its full-scale debut across the American dealership network.
Source: Kicking Tires
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