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Essence of Italy: Fiat 500 L comes with built-in espresso machine

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July 18, 2012

Fiat claims the 500L is the first production car to offer these type of coffee-making capa...

Fiat claims the 500L is the first production car to offer these type of coffee-making capabilities

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The automotive world is full of interesting optional equipment - everything from ornate removable timepieces to cigar humidors have been built into lavish cars and concepts. Heck, even whale penis leather was a thing for a while - a very short while. Despite all that, Fiat has still managed to turn heads and inspire headlines with an option offered on a fairly modest car. The new 500L can be fitted with an integrated espresso machine.

Media relations is an interesting space. Every day there are hundreds of press releases that the media - and the public that the media serves - have exactly zero interest in. Some of these press releases don't seem worth the paper they're written on - even if they're not written on actual paper anymore. Then there are stories with very broad appeal that are buried in some obscure corporate paper or press kit. It's hard to fathom what companies are thinking at times.

News of a Fiat espresso machine, which has gotten ink flowing everywhere from automobile blogs to newspapers to internet forums, appears to be pulled from a three-sentence paragraph toward the end of a much broader press release about the new 500L model, an elongated version of the iconic 500 minicar.

"Finally, another world premiere is the brand new coffee machine created in collaboration with Lavazza," Fiat explains in the release. "The 500L is the first standard-production car in the world to offer a true espresso coffee machine that utilises the technology of the 'A Modo Mio' pods. It is perfectly integrated in the car with a deck designed expressly by Fiat."

That's all Fiat has to say about the option, and it doesn't really explain how it works. From the pictures, we can tell that the espresso machine is a narrow, portable unit that slides into a compartment in the center console. It looks very similar to a Lavazza version of the Handpresso Auto we saw a few months ago.

Although Fiat treated the espresso machine like a small aside, news of the option has caused a bit of an uproar. CNN reports that the option has been criticized by some US voices who claim it's one more potential contributor to distracted driving. However, the news source also reports that Fiat has clarified that the espresso machine can only be operated when the car is in park. Otherwise, it remains locked in its dock, where it shouldn't be much of a distraction.

The option also seems unlikely for the North American market. Fiat has said that no official decision has been made, but espresso doesn't exactly enjoy as intense a following in North America as in Italy and Europe. Auto manufacturers regularly offer different options for different markets, and the likelihood of an espresso machine in North America seems to lie somewhere south of any given diesel engine.

Fiat held an introduction ceremony for the European 500L earlier this month. The new car is expected to launch in North America next year.

Source: Fiat, CNN

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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4 Comments

Can they make the 500 anymore a chick car now with this expresso machine. What, no driver seat bidet? Not one aspect is marketed to men. VW found out with their lack of sales Beetle that women will buy dude cars, but guys will not buy chick cars, so they made the Beetle more masculine with aggressive body lines and less cute. Fiat seems to be going down that same fail.

Ct
18th July, 2012 @ 08:43 pm PDT

As an ex-Miata owner and espresso lover I just sent my girlfriend a link to this. And I've been meaning to drive a 500.

Adam Cecchini
19th July, 2012 @ 12:26 pm PDT

I think this is an unusual option for a car but it is still neat. I think it is cool.

I don't think of the Fiat 500 as being a 'chick car' but being a vehicle that can appeal to both guys and girls.

BigGoofyGuy
19th July, 2012 @ 07:00 pm PDT

Just what's need. Yet another distraction from watching the road.

VoiceofReason
20th July, 2012 @ 11:50 pm PDT
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