This Spi­der has legs

Fiat’s new 124 Spi­der, mark­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of the orig­i­nal, may be based on Mazda’s MX-5 but has a char­ac­ter all of its own, says mo­tor­ing ed­i­tor ANDY RUS­SELL

EDP Norfolk - - Driving Digest -

FIAT HAS built some crack­ing sports cars and, 50 years af­ter the orig­i­nal Fiat 124 Spi­der was launched, it has done it again – with help from Mazda. The new 124 Spi­der is based on the MX-5 soft-top, shar­ing its chas­sis and cock­pit, but has its own char­ac­ter. Longer and slightly wider, it’s a mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of its pre­de­ces­sor, mak­ing it look more squat and ma­ture than the MX-5.


The stan­dard 124 Spi­der uses the zesty 140hp 1.4-litre turbo petrol en­gine – the sportier Abarth the 170hp ver­sion – which has a flex­i­ble, re­laxed power de­liv­ery but revs ea­gerly when un­leashed and it’s so much fun keep­ing the en­gine spin­ning sweetly via the snappy, six-speed gearshift.


The Fiat sports car feels more softly-sprung that the MX-5 so it’s more com­pli­ant and more com­fort­able as a long-dis­tance cruiser and will still put a huge smile on your face on twisty roads but, ul­ti­mately, it’s not quite as ag­ile as the shorter Mazda. But the Fiat has the best view – look­ing along that long, fluted bon­net is just won­der­ful and helps make it easy to place on the road.


It’s easy to make the most of the wind-in-the-hair driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Get­ting the soft top up and down in­volves one catch, one hand and takes sec­onds and it clips down neatly be­hind the head­rests. Put the ef­fi­cient heater on and win­dows up, pop a hat on and, even on clear, frosty day you can en­joy top-down mo­tor­ing.

Apart from the Fiat badge on the steer­ing wheel, the in­te­rior is straight out of the MX-5 – no bad thing as it’s clean, fuss-free and easy to use. The cabin is snug, with­out be­ing cramped, and the 140-litre boot – 10 more than the Mazda – will hold enough for a long week­end for two if you pack care­fully with soft bags.


En­try-level Clas­sica in­cludes four airbags, air con­di­tion­ing, cruise con­trol with speed lim­iter, 16in al­loy wheels, key­less ig­ni­tion and Blue­tooth.

Lusso adds a seven-inch in­fo­tain­ment touch­screen, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, rear park­ing cam­era, 17in al­loys, heated leather seats, cli­mate con­trol, front fog lamps and key­less en­try.

Range-top­ping Lusso Plus gains adap­tive LED head­lights, LED run­ning lights, au­to­matic lights and wipers and nine-speaker Bose sound sys­tem with head­rest speak­ers.


This new Fiat sports car has re­ally got legs… it’s not a Spi­der that’s go­ing to scare you away.

Above: Fiat 124 Spi­der looks more ma­ture than its MX-5 sib­ling

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