FIAT unveiled its new 500 Turbo last week at an event in California, saying that the turbocharged subcompact offers a middle ground in the Fiat 500 lineup. The 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo has a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, which gives it more horsepower and torque than the base 500’s 101 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque, but less than the high-performance Abarth model’s 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque.

“With 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque, the Fiat 500 Turbo hits the sweet spot between the regular Cinquecento and the high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth,” Tim Kuniskis, head of FIAT Brand North America, says in a statement. FIAT says the new 500 Turbo should get 34 mpg on the highway, though the EPA has not released official fuel economy estimates yet.

Performance-wise, the 500 Turbo has a five-speed manual transmission, sport-tuned suspension, high-performance brakes and sportier steering calibration. “Sounds potent,” Autoblog writes. “And we certainly hope that the Turbo's sport-tuned exhaust delivers the same sort of throaty growl that we've fallen in love with on the Abarth.”

In terms of styling, the 2013 500 Turbo has exterior and interior enhancements that help differentiate it from the base 500, including sport seats and a leather steering wheel and shift knob. Heated leather seats are also available. “Inside, drivers will be rocked by Chrysler's Beats by Dr. Dre audio system,” the Detroit Free Press reports. The new available sound system includes six speakers, a subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier.

Kicking Tires says the 500 Turbo will compete with the Volkswagen Beetle Turbo and Mini Cooper S. The new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo could be a good option for those who want more power than the base 500 but are looking to save some money compared with the $22,000 500 Abarth. The 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo will start at $19,500, excluding a $700 delivery fee, and is expected to arrive at dealerships this fall.

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