2018 Fiat 500 gains more power and standard features at the Chicago Auto Show

The feeble naturally aspirated engine gets replaced by a turbo unit

Fiat has updated the 500 family in the United States, with the main additions being a more powerful engine and more standard features than before. Replacing the 2017 Fiat 500's 1.4-liter MultiAir naturally aspirated four-cylinder gasoline engine is the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo unit that makes 135 hp and 150 lb-ft (203 Nm) of torque thanks to force-feeding. That represents an improvement of 31 hp and 53 lb-ft over the 2017 model.

Furthermore, the new engine comes with a sport-tuned exhaust to accompany the extra grunt. The 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo unit can be had with a standard five-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic transmission.

As before, the 2018 Fiat 500 lineup is available in three grades: Pop, Lounge, and Abarth. Pop and Lounge models get the new 135-hp turbo engine, while the Abarth comes with a more powerful version of the same engine that delivers 160 hp and 184 lb-ft (248 Nm) of torque.

Equipment-wise, Pop and Lounge models now get standard 16-inch aluminum wheels, a performance braking system, sports suspension, and ParkView rear backup camera. Outside changes are discreet and include body-color front and rear fascias, fog lamps, side-sill ground effects, a sport spoiler, and "Turbo" badging on the tailgate.

Abarth models offer a performance suspension, three-mode electronic stability control, 16-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels shod with Pirelli tires, red brake calipers, and a concentric "double-tip" dual-exhaust system.

The Fiat 500 lineup gains three new colors for 2018 (Brillante Red, Mezzanotte Blue Pearl and Vesuvio Black Pearl). Fiat starts taking orders this month, with deliveries expected for the second quarter of this year.

Did you know some folks in Italy can convert the Fiat 500 city car into a 350-hp, rear-wheel-drive little monster?

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