Less than a week ago, Fiat introduced its hot little 0.9-liter, two-cylinder TwinAir engine in its spunky yet sensationally popular 500. Over in Europe, test drives of the 500 fitted with the TwinAir mill are underway and Autocar says the two-cylinder powerplant may very well be the most well-rounded engine to ever reside between the fenders of the Cinquecento. The TwinAir's combination of low-end grunt, lightweight internals and high efficiency provide the 500 with ample acceleration, a rev-happy nature and increased range.
As Autocar remarked after driving the two-cylinder Fiat 500:
Did Autocar seriously call a 0.9-liter engine "pure fun"? How can a two-cylinder engine sporting just 85 horsepower be a hoot to drive? Well, much in the same way that the Mazda Miata focuses on the overall driving experience rather than flat-out speed, the TwinAir-powered 500 offers abundant low-end grunt to help scoot the lightweight Fiat away from each stoplight with authority. Flat-out motoring is not the TwinAir's forte, but it can slice and dice through congested city traffic with the best of them.The TwinAir 500 is pure fun. You're aware of the lightness and low friction of its internals, yet it has plenty of low-speed torque (and no turbo lag) to get its one tonne bulk moving.
The TwinAir's success is important to Fiat and the company hopes that its pint-sized mill will be a popular choice. Fiat has committed to 400,000 TwinAir's per year and, judging by Autocar's praise, the company should have no problem finding buyers for the ultra-efficient powerplant that makes the 500 "pure fun."