Interest in the pint-sized 2012 Fiat 500 is set to ignite once again with word on the street that its convertible sibling, the funky 500C, is set to make its North American debut at the 2011 New York Auto Show next month.

That word comes by way of Fiat’s local chief, Laura Soave, who in the past has also hinted at production of the all-electric Fiat 500 BEV in 2012 and the launch of a second-generation Abarth performance version.

As for the Fiat 500C, expect it to be very similar to its European cousin though some of the changes made to the hard-top version sold in the States should also feature on the convertible. This includes stuff like a beefed-up heating and air-conditioning system, modified suspension and a larger 10.5-gallon gas tank for greater range.

The convertible mechanism will be an automated sliding soft-top with an integrated glass backlight and built-in center high mounted stop light. The lining for the roof is a weather resistant canvas that should be available in mulitple colors.

Power will come from the same 101 horsepower 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder engine that powers the hard-top.

Stay tuned for an update as we approach the 2011 New York Auto Show’s April 22 opening. In the meantime, check out our previous story on the Fiat 500C for more details.