Fiat Drops Abarth 124 Spider (and Rally Car)
The Italian Miata celebrates its rallying heritage.
Upfront: The new Fiat Abarth 124 Spider, just unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, is barely more powerful than the regular Fiat 124 Spider. The 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four makes 170 horsepower, a mere 10 more than the non-Abarth model. The torque figure doesn't even get that bump; it stays at 184 pound-feet. So the Abarth 124 probably won't be that much quicker than the regular Fiat 124. Fiat is quoting a 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds, which is actually a few tenths behind Car and Driver's figures for the less-powerful-but-otherwise-largely-identical 2016 Mazda Miata.
But with ample mid-range torque, a curb weight around 2,330 pounds, distributed 50/50 front-rear, the Abarth 124 Spider should still be plenty of fun. It's still a Miata underneath all that Italianate flair, after all, and still available with a six-speed manual. And this Italian version adds on Abarth-tuned Bilstein dampers, a limited-slip differential, and stiffened anti-roll bars, so it might wind up being even more fun than the Mazda on a twisty road. (Somehow.)
At the very least, though, it should sound more fun than the Miata. Every Abarth 124 Spider comes with a Record Monza sports exhaust, which, if it's anything like the one on the Fiat 500 Abarth, should be vocal enough to make bystanders think you've got a trombonist in your car. It looks more exciting, too, thanks to a matte black treatment for the hood and trunk that ostensibly cuts glare but actually makes the black-and-white car pictured look kind of like a chomped moon pie.
Of course, if that "Turini 1975 White" isn't your cup of tea, you can also choose from: San Marino 1972 Black, Portogallo 1974 Grey, Costa Brava 1972 Red, and the metallic Isola d'Elba 1974 Blue. Yes, each of those is named in tribute to the original Fiat 124's rally heritage.
And there's an even better homage to the car's motorsports past, too: The Abarth 124 Rally variant, which is primed and ready for some racing fun. Underneath its hood lies a 300-hp, 1.8-liter turbo four, connected to a sequential six-speed gearbox. Hard top, roll cage, custom coilovers—the whole nine. The Abarth 124 Rally will be eligible for the FIA R-GT Cup, a tarmac-based series in Europe. Should you feel like launching your own rally team, Fiat says it'll begin the pre-ordering process shortly. So start figuring out now exactly which large fortune you'd like to turn into a small fortune.