The “L” in its name stands for “large,” and the 500L lives up to its moniker by offering two more doors than the regular 500 hardtop as well as seating for a fifth passenger. European 500L is 163.0 inches long, 70.1 inches wide, and 65.4 inches tall; that’s a little longer and taller than and roughly the same width as a Mini Countryman. The measurements will be essentially unchanged. Cargo room, is sure to increase beyond the pitiful 10 cubic feet available behind the smaller 500’s rear seats.
Styling-wise, the transition from 500 to 500L reminds us of the relationship between the Mini Countryman and the Mini Cooper hatch; the 500L looks like a 500 that stuck its thumb in its mouth and an air hose in its tail. That said, it’s not totally unattractive, and details like the bulging fenders and the wraparound windshield add some zest. The enormous front quarter-windows are somewhat debatable, however. The front end’s big black bumper and chunky plastic trim on the doors and rear end add some crossover-ness to the appearance.
Speaking of crossover pretensions, the 500L will be front-wheel drive—but we expect an optional all-wheel-drive system adapted from the architecturally related Fiat Panda to be worked into the mix eventually. We’re hoping the 101-hp, 1.4-liter four from the standard 500 isn’t in the running; the 160-hp, turbocharged four from the 500 Abarth would be a nice alternative. The Euro-spec model gets Fiat’s TwinAir two-cylinder and a 1.3-liter turbo-diesel among its options.