There have been rumors that the Fiat-badged version of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 will be named the 124 Spider. The brand even went so far as to trademark the name, but it was never officially announced. That all changed at the Geneva Auto Show, when Sergio Marchionne went off-script and confirmed that the new roadster will carry the legendary name that the brand used between 1966 and 1982.

During the show, Auto Express took a chance and asked Marchionne directly if the new roadster will be named the 124 Spider. The brand’s head honcho looked to a member of his executive team to see if the name had been revealed yet, then asked “do we do it now?” which was then followed by another executive chiming in to confirm the name.

So now we have a name, but there are still many uncertainties surrounding the upcoming 124 Spider. One pressing issue is whether it will be branded as a Fiat or as an Abarth. Rumor has it, however, that there will be both Fiat and Abarth versions.

There is also the issue of engines powering this model. According to sources that Auto Express is quoting, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider will likely borrow the 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged engine from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, which produces either 120 or 170 brake horsepower, while the Abarth 124 Spider will be tuned to about 200 brake horsepower.

Continue reading to learn more about the 124 Spider.

Why it Matters

Though the name is not overly important, it is nice to learn that Fiat is sticking with one that we all know and love. What’s really important here are the engines that drive this roadster.

While Mazda put potential buyers off by releasing a roadster with less power than its base grocery-getter, Fiat is releasing a model with up to 200 brake horsepower. If the 124 Spider makes its way to the U.S. – a decision that has not yet been made public – Mazda may have quite a fight on its hands. Sure, the Fiat and Abarth 124 Spider would be a good bit pricier than a base Miata, but the higher-end buyers may opt for the more powerful models, leaving Mazda to depend on lower-level sales.

We’ll find out soon enough if this is the case, but it seems like a possibility to me.

Source: Auto Express

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