2017 Abarth 124 Spider Scorpione
Do spiders and scorpions add sting to Fiat’s RWD roadster?by Jonathan Lopez, on
Fiat introduced the 124 Spider in 2015 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, framing it as an affordable, compact, lightweight two-door roadster. Built from the bones of the acclaimed fourth-generation (ND) Mazda MX-5, the Fiat 124 Spider stands out next to its Japanese cousin thanks to distinctive Italian exterior styling and a Fiat-sourced turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir inline four-cylinder engine. Although its only been on the market for a few years, Fiat has already offered a selection of special edition variants, and now, there’s a new one called the Abarth 124 Spider Scorpione, sporting new exterior flourishes, premium materials in the cabin, a few extra ponies, and an upgraded exhaust system.
Developed in conjunction with Squadra Corse Abarth (Abarth is Fiat’s racing and performance division, which designates its models with a red and yellow scorpion badge), Fiat is touting the new Scorpione special edition as a “a version designed for customers seeking the essence of unadulterated driving pleasure.”
Kicking it off, you’ll find the body panels are covered in a San Marino 1972 Black livery, complete with Forgiato Grey trim pieces. Alternatively, buyers can also get theirs in Turini 1975 White. Both hues are a nod to Abarth’s successful competition past.
Output from the turbo 1.4-liter powerplant is rated at a slightly higher 170 horsepower (standard spec is rated at 160 horses), while torque matches that of the original production machine at 185 pound-feet. Routing the output to the rear axle is a standard six-speed manual transmission, but an Esseesse Sporty Sequential automatic gearbox is offered as an available option.
There are a few more tricks up this thing’s sleeve, so read on for all the details before it drops cover at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show next week.
Continue reading to learn more about the Abarth 124 Spider Scorpione.
2017 Abarth 124 Spider Scorpione
What Makes The Abarth 124 Spider Scorpione Special
With the Abarth 124 Spider Scorpione laying down power numbers that are nearly identical to those of the regular roadster, straight-line performance goes more or less unaltered as well. That means you’re looking at a 0-to-60 mph sprint that’s concluded in 6.8 seconds, while top speed is topped out at 144 mph.
That said, if you do decide to dig into the long skinny pedal with sufficient gusto, you’ll be enjoying upped aural attitude thanks to a standard Record Monza exhaust system, which is an available option on the regular 124 Spider. Apparently, these pipes also get something called “Dual Mode” which will alter the manner in which the spent gasses are directed for “linear torque and power delivery,” plus a “satisfying, deep roar” out back.
Dig into the long skinny pedal with sufficient gusto, and you’ll be enjoying upped aural attitude thanks to a standard Record Monza exhaust system.
As a complement to the 1.4-liter’s exhaust note, the 124 Spider Scorpione gets the Sound Plus Pack, which throws in a 7.0-inch touchscreen mounted high on the dash, plus a premium stereo from Bose with nine speakers, including a subwoofer.
Further cabin refinement is provided by a black microfiber and leather upholstery combo for the seats, which, it should be noted, offer well supported side bolsters, plus a heating function as standard (if you get the leather, that is). Behind the steering wheel, a sizable analogue tachometer is placed front and center, sporting a red background and white numbering, while additional gauges for speed on the right and temperatures on the left get black backgrounds. A keyless starter is also included.
Further options include the Visibility Plus Pack, which ups safety and convenience thanks to LEDs for the daytime running lights, a rain sensor, a dust sensor, some headlight washers, rear parking sensors, and LEDs for the headlights with an automatic self-leveling function.
Inside is a 7.0-inch touchscreen, a premium stereo from Bose with eight speakers and a sub, black microfiber and leather upholstery for the seats, plus a seat heating function.
The rest of the spec is as you’d expect, with all the normal bells and whistles. The drivetrain and engine are placed centrally in the chassis for a balanced weight distribution and nippier handling, including a mounting position for the 1.4-liter just behind the front axle. Curb weight is rated at 1,060 kg, or 2,337 pounds, which is pretty much on par with the standard version of the car. The power-to-weight ratio is set at 6.2 kg per horsepower.
Keeping the car shiny side up is a double-wishbone suspension set-up in front, while in back is a five-arm multilink set-up. Standard kit includes a self-locking rear differential for fun handling and more aggressive response in the bends. The power steering system was calibrated for a sportier feel, while the usual electronic nanny acronyms are all present, such as ABS, EBD, and ESC. Of course, you can turn these all off, if desired.
If the 124 Spider Scorpione isn’t doing it for you, Fiat will be bringing at least two examples of the roadster to Geneva this year. Joining the Scorpione will be a second display vehicle rocking a Turini 1975 White paint job, plus a hood offset in matte black, once again giving a nod to the Abarth 124 Rally from the brand’s history. Apparently, the dark hood paint was originally used to reduce sunlight from reflecting into the driver’s eyes.
Curb weight is rated at 1,060 kg, or 2,337 pounds, which is pretty much on par with the standard version of the car.
This fun little roadster will also be offered in a variety of other tribute colors, each of which indicates past Abarth rally wins, such as a pastel Costa Brava 1972 Red, and several metallic hues like San Marino 1972 Black, Isola d’Elba 1974 Blue, and Portogallo 1974 Grey. Inside, the seats are upholstered in red and black leather, while Alcantara is used to cover the central tunnel and dash, once again to cut back on glare.
Fiat Abarth 124 Spider Scorpione specs
|Engine type||Turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir inline four-cylinder|
|Drivetrain layout||Front-engine, RWD|
|Engine upgrades||Record Monza exhaust with Dual Mode|
|0-to-60 mph||6.8 seconds|
|Top speed||144 mph|
|Transmission||Standard six-speed manual, available Esseesse Sporty Sequential automatic|
|Exterior||San Marino 1972 Black, Forgiato Grey trim. Available Turini 1975 White|
|Interior||Sound Plus Pack, microfiber and leather upholstery, heated seats|
|Safety and convenience||Visibility Plus Pack|
|Curb weight||2,337 pounds|
While there is certainly to shortage of superfluous special editions these days, Fiat gets a passing grade for this one. Rather than simply repainting the wheels black, adding new kick plates, and padding the MSRP by a few grand before calling it a day, the 124 Spider Scorpione actually takes the brand’s history and uses it for inspiration. Sure, the black paint isn’t spectacular, but it does look good and should serve as a reminder for enthusiasts who know about its rally history.
Not only that, but Abarth actually added to the car’s performance with a new exhaust. Sure, you can get the same pipes as an option for the regular 124, but it’s still a nice touch that I wish more makes would consider when building a performance-oriented special edition.
The bottom line is this thing isn’t the most amazing special edition ever, but it’s definitely worthy of the designation of being “special.”
Read our full review on the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth here.