Fiat Auto on Monday confirmed it would be bringing a convertible version of its new 500 to market.

Roberto Giolito, styling director for the Fiat brand, told just-auto on the sidelines of the Automotive News Europe Congress in Turin that the convertible variant was definitely coming and that the design would be simple, affordable and "aimed at bringing maximum customer enjoyment".

He also confirmed the car would have a fabric top. "There have been advances in fabric tops that remove some of the perceived drawbacks," he said. "They're now tougher and more resilient through the use of new materials," he added.

BMW and Audi both chose fabric over a folding metal roof for their respective recently launched new 1-series and A3 convertible variants.

BMW insiders said at the model's UK launch in Spain in April that the fabric top was their best yet (j-a found it fitted and operated perfectly with excellent motorway-speed wind noise suppression) and was considerably lighter and less complex than a folding metal top, reducing vehicle weight to the benefit of performance, fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

The 1-series cabriolet also introduced a new type of hood fabric, offered as an option, which includes metallic threads that give it a distinctive appearance.

Audi is understood to have reached a similar conclusion on the advantages of fabric vs metal when deciding on the A3 cabriolet's hood.

Dave Leggett