Spider’s Italian touch
FIAT has revealed more details of its Mazda MX-5-based roadster.
The new Abarth 124 Spider is a different looking car on the outside, but all the hard body points are identical and the interior is pretty much MX-5 right down to the central control screen and dash.
Abarth, which is Fiat’s performance arm, puts its own mechanical limited-slip differential under the 124 and shoehorns a 1.4-litre turbo into the engine bay.
The end result is that the 124 has comfortably more oomph than the MX-5: 125kW/250Nm compared to 118kW/200Nm in the MX-5 2.0 litre.
The Abarth exhales through quad exhaust tips with a loud Monza exhaust system optionally available. Fiat has a cheaper variant of the 124 but that won’t come here because the company wants to avoid competing on price with Mazda.
The Abarth version is expected to be priced about $40,000 plus on-roads, about the same as the top-of-the-range MX-5 GT 2.0.
Aside from the different engine and differential, the Abarth has Bilstein dampers, stiffer sway bars and Brembo four-piston front brakes.
It rolls on ultra-low profile 17inch rubber and comes with a six-speed manual or conventional six-speed auto with paddle shift. It also has a sport mode and switchable stability control for track driving.
The extra equipment means added weight – about 50 kilograms more than the 2.0litre MX-5 – but the extra ballast doesn’t slow it down much.
Abarth says it clocks a 0100km/h sprint in the mid 6.0 second bracket, compared with a claimed 7.3 seconds for the MX-5. It is thirstier, though, consuming 7.5-litres/100km compared to 6.9L/100km for the 2.0-litre MX-5.
The sharper-edged styling gives the 124 a strong street presence and it looks a bigger car thanks to the flat-top rear and front guards and large flat bonnet.
Inside, the 124 further differentiates itself from the standard Fiat with leather/ microfibre sports seats, Bose audio, climate control aircon, a reverse camera, push-button start and tyre pressure monitoring.