Two years ago, when a collaboration between the Fiat Group and Mazda was announced, the deal mentioned that the recently unveiled Mazda MX-5 Miata will get a brother in the form of an Alfa Romeo roadster built on the same platform. Earlier today we found out that this will not be the case anymore, with the head of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands letting it slip in an interview with Car Magazine that the original idea is actually all wrong.
Apparently, the future Alfa Romeo Spider will not use the MX-5 Miata’s ND platform and will therefore not be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant. Instead, a yet-to-be-named Fiat/Abarth product will be based on the ND Miata. According to a transcript of the interview that Alfa and Maserati chief Harald Wester gave to the British magazine, it seems that "As far as the Spider goes, the final version is of course no longer the two-seater FCA [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] codeveloped with Mazda but a derivative of project Giorgio."
As some of you know, "project Giorgio" is a new modular architecture derived from the one underpinning the current Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte, which will be used in the future on pretty much every RWD Alfa Romeo and some Dodge/Chrysler models. Mazda’s ND platform is still part of the agreement though, and it will be used by either a standalone and long-rumored Abarth roadster or a modern-day variant of the old Fiat 124 Sport Spider, or maybe both. Either way, it won’t be an Alfa.
Click past the jump to read more about the Alfa Romeo Spider.
Now that Alfa Romeo is set to return to North American after a lengthy absence, Fiat is looking at a number of measures on how it plans to return to the US and Canada with a bang as well.
One option that the Italian automaker is planning on pursuing is building a ’more affordable’ sports car to compliment the Alfa Romeo 4C soon after the latter is released in 2013. Word is that this affordable sports car will be built as an Abarth, one that is being pegged to take on a market heavyweight like the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Easier as that is said than it is done, Fiat understands that the Alfa Romeo 4C might not be up to the budget of a lot of American consumers, especially considering that the car is already being touted as a possible rival to a couple of Porsche sports cars: the Cayman and the Boxster.
Should Fiat push forward and build a front-wheel drive sports car under Abarth, we expect it to carry an output of somewhere around 200 horsepower, possibly even going up north to 250. No details have been made as far as what the car is going to look like, but we’d love it if the Italian automaker brushes off an old Abarth classic - the 1968 Scorpione - and build a modern-day take on what we consider one of the sexiest sports cars of the 60’s. That or they could just make some modifications on the Abarth Scorp-Ion Concept that we saw earlier this year.
While everyone is waiting for the Alfa Romeo 4C GTA to debut in production form and find its way over to the US, other variations may currently be in the pipeline as well. New reports suggest that the 4C concept will not only preview a two-seater model for Abarth and Alfa, but will also come in some other derivatives, including a Maserati model.
The 4C GTA concept is powered by a "4 cylinder" 1750 Turbo Petrol engine located centrally in the rear of the vehicle and mated to a new automatic "Alfa TCT" twin dry clutch transmission. With a total output of 200 HP, the engine will sprint the concept from 0 to 60 mph in just 5 seconds, while top speed goes up to 155 mph. However, we anticipate that the Maserati variant will be both more powerful and sportier, but we’ll have to wait until about 2013 or 2014 to see it in action.
After a very successful history of selling customized Fiat models (22,000 since 2008), Abarth has decided it was time to take its chances with the Alfa Romeo models: "The brand is doing so well that we plan to start producing more performance kits for Fiats, and even some Alfa Romeo models. We won’t be working with the Mito since Alfa already has the Cloverleaf, but there are lots of other possibilities," Antonino Labate,the firm’s sales and marketing boss told Autocar.
This, though, will not happen in the near future. Until then Abarth plans to introduce Esseesse versions for the new Punto Evo Abarth and 500C models. The Esseesse package will include engine upgrades, stiffer suspension, and uprated brakes.
But, wait, there’s more. Abarth will also be introducing the company’s first stand-alone sports car model within the next two years. Also in the next two years, Abarth will be bringing a dual-clutch gearbox for the Punto and Multiair engines for the 500.
Stay tuned for more details!
If you’re an avid car enthusiast, the brand BRM might ring a bell to you. The French timekeeper, known for its deep-rooted history in the world of motorsport, has released a special edition version of its titanium-cased V12-T-44 chronograph that features car manufacturer Abarth. The limited edition watch comes with Abarth-inspired elements including the brand’s logo on the watch face to the Nomex strap that has red stitching on it. Each watch is individually numbered – there are only 49 pieces made – making it a sought-after collector’s piece. If you happen to fancy one, the price tag for each watch goes for an astronomical $7,300, and can be purchased through the BRM website.
We’ve always been believers of practicality over lavishness but we have to admit it, this is one of those times where if you’re going to splurge on one item, buying the BRM Abarth V12-T-44 for $7,300 is as good an investment as you’re going to make.
Press release after the jump.
For the first time at the Bologna Motor Show, the reborn Fiat Abarth marque makes a comeback with its own dedicated stand of powerful visual impact which, in line with its relaunch philosophy, was designed to highlight innovation using a fresh, up-to-date language, with leading-edge technology and refinement in the smallest details.