The long-awaited Italian twin of the Mazda MX-5 has been revealed at the 2015 Los Angeles Motor Show – welcome everyone to the new Fiat 124 Spider.
Okay, so the original 124 Spider was named after the 124 Sedan on which it was based on, but Fiat being Fiat, wanted to bring back that historic name in a modern package.
This project has been on quite a bumpy ride. If you remember all the way back around 2012, there were reports that Mazda and Alfa Romeo were teaming up to produce a new Alfa Spider which would be based on the MX-5.
Then Alfa Romeo decided to pull out because they wanted all their cars to be made in Italy. Fair enough. So along comes Fiat to pick up where Alfa left off and take over the Italian side of the project. The end result is the car you see here.
Like in the proposed Mazda/Alfa project, the Italian car would have its own bespoke styling and engines. That’s what you get with the 124 Spider. The homage to the original 1960s car is apparent with the car’s nose. That grille, those round headlights, and those bulges on the bonnet. It’s a more classic approach to roadster design than the new modern and edgy MX-5.
From the side and rear, the 124 is squarer (more butch?) than the curvaceous MX-5. Could almost say it’s a blunter looking thing. Hopefully that’s not a sign of how it’ll be like to drive. The 124 is marginally longer than the MX-5. The changes are small (14cm) but they’ve managed to change the overall proportions of the car.
The rear is rather, well how can I say this, Dodge-like? Sexier, more Italian looking taillights would’ve been better in my opinion but there are worse things than looking like a mini-Viper. I’m sure this will look a lot nicer in the metal too. Especially in a nice red.
Inside there are very little changes. In fact the only difference I can see between the interior of the Fiat 124 and the MX-5 is the badge on the steering wheel. Everything from the seats, to the MZD Connect infotainment system is identical to the Mazda’s. Even the folding soft top roof is the same. I guess the had to cut costs somewhere.
Luckily Fiat haven’t skimped on the engine. They’ve told Mazda to keep their 1.5 and 2.0 SkyActiv engines and instead have used their own 1.4-litre turbocharged engine in the 124. Fiat have said it’ll produce 162bhp/119kW and 250NM of torque. That’s about 2bhp/1kW and 50Nm more than the 2.0 MX-5. Weight hasn’t been announced but it should hopefully be much more than the MX-5’s.
The 124 will also be offered with a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, like the MX-5. There’s also talks that an Abarth version with bespoke Abarth styling and more power is in the works. How amazing would it be if they put the 1.7-litre turbo from the Alfa 4C in the the (yet-to-be-confirmed) Abarth version?
So what are your thoughts on the new Fiat 124 Spider? Remember, this car will be made in Mazda’s Hiroshima factory. Which could make this the most reliable Fiat ever. Quite tempting if you ask me.