Fiat has today unveiled the 500 ‘La Prima by Bocelli’, a special edition of its celebrated electric hatchback created in collaboration with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and boasting what the Italian marque calls a “Virtual Venues” audio experience.
Based on the 500’s range-topping La Prima trim, the main draw of the Bocelli special edition is its new, more powerful 320-watt surround sound system from JBL (named for founder, and American audio engineer, James Bullough Lansing). To “truly test the refinement of the sound system,” Fiat invited both Maestro Andrea Bocelli and his son – also a tenor – Matteo to put the JBL Premium Audio program through its paces.
‘Virtual Venues,’ a technology originally used by bands in preparation for live concerts, integrates Lexicon signal processing to add “characteristics” to specific parts of the audio being played to make it sound like it’s coming from several different places at once. Effectively, the system is designed to make songs more engaging and enveloping, effectively turning the cabin into a live arena.
What better environment to showcase this technology than the near-silence of an electric car?
“The resounding success of the New 500 La Prima, the top of the range of our electric icon, made us realise that our customers desire a product that is definitely premium and Italian,” Fiat CEO Olivier Francois explains. “For this reason, together with Maestro Andrea Bocelli, we have created the ultimate listening experience to enhance the silence of an electric car.
“Thanks to JBL’s exclusive Virtual Venues technology, we provide our customers with an immersive and tailored audio experience. This revolutionary premium sound system completes an authentic Italian icon, proudly created in Italy to bring the most authentic Italian spirit to the world.”
La Prima by Bocelli can be ordered in both hatchback and convertible guise, and in up to six exterior colours, Fiat opting to present the special edition in Onyx Black.
Barring the new pillar and door-mounted speakers, plus ‘ice-beige’ upholstered seats, cosmetically the 500 La Prima remains much the same on the inside, with the cabin’s main feature still the 10.25-inch touchscreen mounted to the dash and the digital instrument cluster behind the slender two-spoke steering wheel. On the outside, a dedicated ‘La Prima’ badge has been fitted as have full LED headlights and exclusive 17-inch diamond cut wheels.
The drivetrain also remains untouched, with an electric motor that powers the front axle producing 116 hp. Mated with a 42 kWh battery pack as standard, the 500 La Prima can cover 320 km on a single charge and can recharge from 10 to 80 per cent in 35 minutes via a DC, 80 kW fast-charge.