But it’s what’s inside that counts, and now the retro-styled Italian city car has picked up the Engine of the Year at the 2010 Top Gear awards for the TwinAir petrol engine.
There has been quite a buzz around the TwinAir engine, based in the award-winning MultiAir unit used in the Alfa Romeo MiTo, because the TwinAir engine is the only two-cylinder petrol engine on the mainstream market.
Advances in technology have allowed Fiat to build the engine, and bring emissions in the petrol-powered 500 down to just 95g/km of CO2 – making it the greenest petrol engine car on the market today.
More surprisingly, power has not been compromised with the new engine. The Fiat 500 TwinAir delivers 85bhp and 145Nm of torque to deliver 23 per cent more power than the previous smallest engine in the range, the 1.2-litre petrol.
There is also a 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption over the 1.2-litre unit, leading to the honour from Top Gear.
Judges described the 500 as: "A little bundle of energy, charm and downright saintliness to prove our good old friend the gasoline engine is still alive and very much kicking…"
On receiving the award, Elena Bernardelli, marketing director, Fiat Group Automobiles UK and Ireland, said she was confident the city car would win more honours in future.
"We were confident when we launched the TwinAir engine that our customers would like the combination of power, low emissions and fun to drive," she said.
"So it’s an added pleasure when experts from the motoring media also give us such high praise."
The new Fiat 500 TwinAir range starts at £10,665 (OTR) for the TwinAir Pop and rises to £16,065 (OTR) for the convertible 500C TwinAir byDIESEL.