Fiat 500 Matt Black…. takes the shine off all its rivals

By Philip Hedderman


Real fashionistas will already know that black is the new, erm, black.


Well, Matt Black to be precise.


Now, the Fiat 500 was already a firm favourite with the jet set who wanted something that stood out from the crowd, but this is now THE designer must-have of the year.


It is so exclusive only 200 will be made in right-hand drive with a limited number coming toIreland.


So, is it being aimed at men or women?


Both actually, as it is cute in a macho kinda way but it is also has a darker side.


Some say it has a hypnotic power.


It sends admirers into a trance-like state as they try to figure out whether it is just hot or simply blistering.


That’s for you to decide, but one thing is for sure it’s not lacking in sex appeal or desirability.


Just look at her … the little rocket looks like it has been given the once over by engineers at NASA.


In fact, I wouldn’t be one bit shocked to learn that Stealth bomber pilots drive them to work.


To maximise the impact of the Matt Black paint, the mirrors, moulding and door handles have a similar satin chrome finish while the 16-inch alloy wheels are painted in matching matt black with a contrasting red coach-line to underscore the car’s sporting spirit.


The sculpted, futuristic feel continues inside with two-tone, half leather sports seats, leather multi-function steering wheel and matt black inlays running around the dash.


It’s loaded with all of the state-of-the-art technology including Start Stop, hill-holder, traction control, Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity.


But like the Stealth bomber, it harbours a deadly weapon – one of the most technically advanced engines in the world.


Turn the key and the magic begins to unfold.


That Top Secret file is codenamed TwinAir.


It is the future for small petrol engines and its revolutionary design means this 2 cylinder (yep, you read right a 2 cylinder) unit which is capable of generating 85bhp while emitting just 95g/km of CO2.


This makes it the cleanest mass-produced petrol engine in the world which is returning an eye-watering 68.8 mpg or 4.1 litres/100km.


The secret lies in MultiAir valve technology and a high-tech turbocharger which powers the superlight 85kg power plant which reaches 0-100kph in 11 seconds and a top speed of 173kmh.


Unfortunately that bears no relevance here as the government fail to recognise any car that has a CO2 count of under 120 – meaning it will cost €160 annual road tax.


By contrast in theUKthe TwinAir would cost nothing to tax for the year.


Thankfully though, the little 500 is a joy to drive and never fails to put a smile on your face.


From the time you climb into the sporty cabin all is well with the world.


It could be the little bit of luxury at your fingertips or the smug satisfaction of knowing that your amongst green royalty.


If that doesn’t float yer boat then the throaty rasp of the two-cylinder is sure to get the blood up.


The taut little chassis hugs every corner like an F1 car while it is equally comfortable on motorways.


But around town is where the 500 is king.


The steering is feather light and its tight turning circle means you could literally park it on the head of a pin.


But its most endearing quality is fun.


Just bloody good fun and in these days of austerity, that’s priceless.


There were a couple little irritations like no remote control central locking which meant that you had to open the drivers’ door to get access to the boot and the seatbelt couplings were a bit fiddly.


On long motorway journeys economy became a casualty of the high revving engine and the absence of a sixth gear saw consumption reduced considerably.


That said, the 500 is a city car and not designed for clocking up massive mileage.


No, it’s all about the look, dahling – and for once it doesn’t come with a designer price tag.


Fiat, unlike many manufacturers, are asking pretty much the same price for the Matt Black finish as ordinary metallic paint.


It’s only when you compare it to the cheapest bog-standard MINI you realise that individuality doesn’t cost the earth.


So, if you’re a bit of an exhibitionist, then this is definitely the car for you.


The Fiat 500 Matt Black costs €16,745 (Jan 2012 includes VAT increase).


You can also see the video of the Fiat 500 Matt Black edition right here