The Ford Fiesta fighter will feature sleeker styling and aggressively expand the 500 lineup.
The Fiat 500 line will soon include a five-door hatchback. Engineers are reportedly working at present on the new body style, which could see a release date of 2015 when the second-generation 500 debuts.
Design cues remain consistent with the retro-styled 500, according to images obtained by AutoExpress. Dual-element headlights remain a key part of the identity, but are elongated to better wrap around the more rounded front end. The A-pillars also have a steeper rake than the current 500 while squared off wheel wells give the fenders and haunches a more muscular look.
The 500 five-door is part of Fiat's aggressive expansion plans that will see $12.4 billion invested in new product. The 500 already exists in seven forms: standard, turbo, and Abarth for the original body, plus a 500c convertible (itself with an Abarth variant), 500e electric vehicle and 500L wagon. Additionally, in 2014 Fiat plans to launch a 500x crossover, and the 7-passenger 500L Living.
Fiat design head Lorezno Ramaciotti is quoted as saying the future of Fiat's brand development will run on "two rails." The 500 line will spawn emotional and more upscale models, while the Panda line, with an upcoming model to rival the Nissan Qashqai (Rogue), will serve those looking for practical cars.
Engines will likely be shared with the rest of the Fiat 500 family, which caps out at a 1.4L four-cylinder. Size-wise, it will compete with the Ford Fiesta. The five-door will be built on the current Fiat Punto chassis and replace the 20-year veteran of Fiat's lineup.