Positioned between the standard 500 and the high-performance Abarth model, the 500 Turbo offers middle-ground performance along with a middle-ground price.
For the latest model year, 500 Turbo gains a newly optional six-speed automatic transmission and an instrument cluster-mounted 7.0-inch HD TFT that displays speed, fuel level, Eco index and trip information. The center console has also been redesigned for ease of use, and streaming audio via Bluetooth is newly standard.
The 500 Turbo comes fitted with the same 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder used in the regular 500, but a turbo boosts power to 135 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque - improvements of 34 and 52, respectively.
The 500 Turbo can be had with the buyer's choice of five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. Fuel efficiency is rated at 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with the stick, while selecting the auto lowers mileage to 24/32 mpg
In order to handle that extra power, Fiat beefed up the 500 Turbo's mechanical components, including larger half shafts and stronger constant velocity joints. Fiat says those improvements also help to reduce torque steer.
Other performance goodies include a high-performance brake system with larger front rotors, a sport-tuned suspension borrowed from the 500 Sport and a throaty exhaust system.
The exterior of the 500 Turbo is toughened up from the "cute-as-a-button" look of the standard car with a unique front fascia, which extends by 2.7-inches to make room for the engine's turbocharger. Other cues that set the Turbo apart include larger lower air inlets, twin "nostrils" to feed air to the car's intercoolers and Gloss Black headlamps and parking lamp bezels. Around back, the Turbo treatment is completed by a liftgate-mounted spoiler, new taillamps with Gloss Black bezels and a two-piece rear fascia with a black-accented rear diffuser.
Interior trimmings include sport-styled seating, a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel with contrasting silver stitching and a gray and black color scheme. Two leather interior styles are also available - a black on black scheme as well as a two-tone black on red.
Audiophiles, take note - the 500 Turbo is available with an optional Beat by Dr. Dre sound system that boasts six speakers plus an 8-inch dual-voice coil subwoofer with trunk-mounted enclosure and an eight-channel 368-watt amplifier.
The 500 Cattiva - a word that means "naughty" in Italian - boasts blacked out headlights and tail lamps, bespoke 16-inch aluminum wheels, a gloss black roof and a discreet spoiler out back. It is available in red, copper, granite crystal, white, black and silver.
Inside, the Cattiva features cloth sport seats with contrasting accent stitching, a flat black instrument panel and leather upholstery on the steering wheel and the shift knob. Leather seats are available at an extra cost.
Standard safety items include dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to a driver's knee airbag and traction and stability control systems.
The 500 Turbo can be cross-shopped against a diverse range of models including the MINI Cooper, the Volkswagen Golf, the Scion tC and the Hyundai Veloster Turbo.