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2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth - Driven

2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth - Driven

By the time you read this review, spring may very well have sprung for most of the Northern Hemisphere. There may be no better cure for cabin fever than the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth.

Based upon and built in the same factory with the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the so-called “Fiata” is at its best in Abarth form, with a tiny bump in horsepower accompanying a sharpened chassis and better-sounding exhaust. Like most Fiats I have driven, the 124 Spider Abarth brings to mind two other F-words: frugal and fun

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2018 Fiat 124 Spider S-Design

2018 Fiat 124 Spider S-Design

Courtesy of Mopar

Revived in 2016, 50 years after its iconic predecessor first hit the streets, the Fiat 124 Spider was the first compact to challenge the popular Mazda MX-5 Miata after many years. Ironically, the Italian roadster sits on the same underpinnings as the Miata, as Mazda and FCA co-developed most of the chassis. But the 124 Spider received its very own styling — some say that it looks more elegant than the Miata — and borrowed its engines from other Fiat models. And unlike the Mazda, it uses turbocharged units too. With less than two years on the market, the 124 Spider lineup has already expanded to include various trims, an Abarth model, and even a racing version. At the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, Fiat launched yet another variant, the 124 Spider S-Design.

If you’re tempted to think about Audi S-Line models, you’re not doing it wrong. The S-Design package is somewhat similar, adding extra features inside and out. The exterior is slightly sportier and boasts an exclusive set of wheels, while the cabin gets extra standard equipment that enhances luxury and comfort. Was another package necessary with so many trims and special-edition versions already available? Not exactly, but this is what keeps the market going and the customers coming into dealerships. Let’s find out more about the S-Design upgrade below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat 124 Spider S-Design.

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso - Driven

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso - Driven

In some ways the “Fiata” is the better Miata

Much has been made in the automotive press about the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider’s close relationship with the Mazda Miata. But the so-called “Fiata” is no mere badge-engineered Miata. In some ways, the 124 is better than the Miata with which it shares its chassis and a production line.

Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat 124 Spider Lusso.

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider Europa

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Europa

Italian automaker celebrates iconic nameplate in style

The Fiat 124 Spider may be a new car on the surface, having first been introduced at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. But there’s more to the lightweight two-door roadster than what meets the eye. For instance, the 124 Spider may consider the Mazda MX-5 Miata as a direct rival, but the two so-called competitors have more in common than people think, including the fact that they share the same underpinnings. Here’s another surprising fact about the 124 Spider: it wasn’t supposed to exist. Yep, the framework that led to the development of the 124 Spider was supposed to be for an Alfa Romeo roadster. But FCA, owners of both Fiat and Alfa Romeo, ultimately decided to give it to the Fiat. And so, the Fiat 124 Spider was born.

Today, the 124 Spider has been a busy sports car for Fiat. It’s been featured numerous times in various special edition variants. That now includes two versions of the car that will be on hand at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. One of those models is the Abarth 124 Spider Scorpione, which our colleague Jonathan Lopez featured a few days ago. The other is this one: the Fiat 124 Spider Europa.

Developed to celebrate the launch of the original, Pininfarina-designed 124 Spider that swept many enthusiasts off their feet back in 1981, the 124 Spider Europa gets its fair share of unique features, not the least of which is a body finish that Fiat describes as the “ultimate color that identifies Italian sporty two-seaters.” The special edition roadster also gets components from Mopar and a slew of exclusive touches that have been thrown in to highlight the car’s celebratory special edition status.

All these items add up to create an impressive two-door roadster that does its predecessor and its legacy proud.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Fiat 124 Spider Europa

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2017 Abarth 124 Spider Scorpione

2017 Abarth 124 Spider Scorpione

Do spiders and scorpions add sting to Fiat’s RWD roadster?

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.

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

A turbocharged alternative to the Mazda Miata

The Fiat 124 Spider first hit the road in 1966 as a 2+2 roadster based on the 124 Coupe’s platform. The model lived a long life, as it ran all the way through 1982. When Mazda announced that it was creating an all-new 2016 MX-5 Miata, it also let out that it co-developed the roadster’s chassis with FCA. Initially, FCA was going to use the chassis to underpin an Alfa Romeo roadster, but it later chose to use it under a Fiat model. Then, in March 2015 at the Geneva Auto Show, FCA announced that the new Fiat convertible would resurrect the 124 Spider nameplate starting in 2016. The roadster was finally unveiled at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Although it shares underpinnings with the new MX-5 Miata, the 124 Spider received an exterior styling of its own, sharing not even a single body panel with its Japanese sibling. The engine is also different, with Fiat opting to use one of its very own turbocharged four-cylinder unit.

If you’re among those who were whining about Mazda not offering a turbo Miata, then the 124 Spider might be what you’re looking for.

While they feature different exteriors and engines, the roadsters share an almost identical interior. That’s not to say Fiat was lazy and didn’t want to give the 124’s cabin an identity of its own. It actually has to do with reducing costs and the fact that the MX-5’s interior is very spacious and comfortable for a small car.

Updated 05/16/2016: Fiat dropped two new commercials for its latest 124 Spider called "Free Like a Bird" and "No Blue Pill Needed." The first of them is the first commercial ever filmed by an eagle, while the second one leverages the strength of the original award-wining ’Blue Pill,’ which has over 30 million views on YouTube. Hit "play" to watch them.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider.

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2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

The performance-oriented Miata you’ve been asking for; with an Abarth badge

Rumors that Fiat might revive the 124 Spider, a stylish roadster from the 1960s, surfaced in 2014 and were confirmed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, when Fiat came clean and revealed that there was a new roadster underway with Mazda MX-5 underpinnings. Various reports then claimed that Fiat 124 Spider will also be followed by a performance-oriented Abarth version with a more powerful engine and all the goodies that come with the scorpion badge. With the standard roadster unveiled at the 2015 Los Angeles Show, Fiat took the wraps off the performance-oriented version at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

Not surprisingly, the 124 Abarth was conceived using the same recipe applied to the 500 Abarth. It features a sportier body kit, a mildly revised interior with Abarth trim, and a more powerful version of the engine used in the standard model. On top of that, Fiat sprinkled a bit of its classic Abarth heritage in order to link the modern roadster to the original 124 Rally, a limited-edition homologation special.

Set to arrive in European showrooms for the 2017 model year, the 124 Spider Abarth is an extremely important car for this tight niche. The main reason for that is because Mazda said it won’t develop a high-performance version of the new Miata. So Abarth will exploit the potential of Mazda’s new chassis and give Miata lovers the power that the Japanese roadster has failed to deliver.

While Fiat has yet to confirm or release data about the U.S.-spec version, a similar model is very likely to cross the pond to North America and join the standard model. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the European version.

Updated 04/29/2016: FCA dropped prices on the 2018 Spider Abarth. Check the "Prices" section for the full details.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth.

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth

A 124 Abarth without the badges and the extra oomph

In late 2015, Fiat entered a new sports car niche by launching the 124 Spider, a neo-retro interpretation of a classy roadster originally built between 1966 and 1982. Based on the ND-generation Mazda Miata, the compact two-seater received styling of its own and a powerplant based on the Abarth 500’s. In early 2016, Fiat did what the whole industry expected it to do: it showcased an Abarth version of the 124 with a sportier appearance and a more powerful engine. But while the standard 124 Spider already made it to the U.S., the Abarth was only unveiled in its European specification, leaving North America to wait for its very own Scorpion-badged roadster.

The wait ends at the 2016 New York Auto Show, where Fiat launched the 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth.

Although it is powered by the 124’s standard engine, the Elaborazione is a sportier proposition to the regular Spider, featuring numerous add-ons that are not available with the stock model. The styling is inspired by the Euro-spec Abarth model, while the interior has just enough goodies to stand out. While the drivetrain is as standard as they get, the chassis boasts many new components designed to deliver a more exciting experience behind the wheel. All told, the Elaborazione was developed to slot between the standard 124 Spider and the sportier and more powerful Abarth. It might not have a Scorpion badge on its nose, but it is more than worthy of the Abarth name.

Hopefully Fiat is already working on a full-fledged 124 Abath for the U.S. market, but until the performance-oriented cabriolet arrives, the Elaborazione seems to be a thrilling option if you’re in the market for a compact roadster.

Updated 03/25/2016: The new Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth made its world debut at the 2016 New York Auto Show. Check the "Pictures" tab for a series of new images taken during it official launch.

Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth.

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2016 Abarth 124 Rally

2016 Abarth 124 Rally

Abarth returns to rallying with a 300-horsepower 124 Coupe

As soon as the Miata-based Fiat 124 Spider was unveiled in 2015, rumors that the Italians are also planning to develop a rally-spec model surfaced the Interwebz. Although Fiat declined to confirm that such a model is in the works, the race-prepped car made a surprise debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, alongside the beefed-up 124 Abarth. It’s called the Abarth 124 Rally, and much like the standard 124 Spider, it’s a modern iteration of the Fiat’s original roadster.

Only a prototype for now, the 124 Rally will be finalized in time for the 2017 season. Fiat confirmed that the coupe will be homologated for the FIA R-GT, a category created specifically for GT cars. In 2015, the R-GT Cup was contested by only four drivers, all using 996- and 997-generation Porsche 911 GT3s. There’s no word if other makers plan to join the sport, but the 124 Rally should make things significantly more interesting.

A final version will be unveiled by the end of the year with official testing to commence in the coming months. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the prototype that revives the 124 Rally after exactly four decades since its last official race.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2016 Abarth 124 Rally.

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2019 Abarth 124 Coupe

2019 Abarth 124 Coupe

Shortly after Fiat unveiled the Miata-based 124 Spider, rumors that Abarth might build a rally-spec version surfaced the Interwebz. Reports claimed that the FIA was planning to introduce a new sports car category for the World Rally Championship, which would allow vehicles the size of the 124 to take part in the series. Though neither Abarth nor the FIA confirmed the rumor, we went ahead and created a rendering and a speculative review about the Abarth 124 WRC, which, according to current WRC regulations, would have to be a coupe.

Then it occurred to me that if Abarth will indeed build a race-spec, coupe version of the 124, it could also develop a road-going variant. With so many Miata fans clamoring for a full-fledged coupe, I’m sure such a model would be pretty popular with MX-5 enthusiasts despite having a different exterior design and an Abarth badge on its nose. Not to mention that unless Fiat has some sort of agreement with Mazda that prevents it from building different body styles, an Abarth 124 Coupe would be doable with the performance division having the necessary experience from the rally car.

Now you might ask why an Abarth and not a Fiat? Well, turning the Spider into a mass-produced coupe would require a hefty investment and given the fact that FCA isn’t doing quite well financially, Sergio Marchionne wouldn’t approve such a project. Under Abarth, however, the 124 Coupe could be developed as a coach-built vehicle and produced in a limited run and for a more exotic price tag. This would be similar to what Abarth did with the original 124 Spider in the early 1970s, when the 124 Rally had to be homologated for the World Rally Championship.

Continue reading to learn more about the Abarth 124 Coupe.

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2018 Abarth 124 WRC

2018 Abarth 124 WRC

It hasn’t been long since Fiat unveiled the 124 Spider, a stylish roadster based on the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5. Now, word has it that the Italians are also planning a racing version for the World Rally Championship. If this proves to be true, the modern-day 124 Spider will follow in the exact footsteps of its predecessor, which also spawned a rally car, despite Fiat not offering a production coupe model. But, as exciting as it may sound, Abarth’s return to rallying is still a rumor as of December 2015.

It’s not because the Italian brand wouldn’t be able to turn the roadster into a tarmac-eating machine. The main problem is that a WRC-spec 124 Abarth currently has no class to race in, as the World Rally Championship has become a competition for superminis only.

In November 2015, Piston Heads reported — quoting sources close to Abarth — that the FIA is considering a new sports car category for the WRC. The class will be designed "to restore some petrolhead credibility to the series" and will allow larger vehicles, such as the Fiat 124 Spider, to race. For the uninitiated, WRC used to allow a wider range of cars in the 1970s and 1980s, from the Porsche 911 to the significantly larger, four-door Audi 200 Quattro.

We won’t find out whether FIA will indeed create a new class anytime soon, but the thought that Abarth might return to rallying is exciting to say the least. With that in mind, we decided to create a rendering of the Abarth 124 WRC and talk about as to what it might bring to the table. Find out more in my speculative review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Abarth 124 Spider WRC.

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