If ever anyone asks you why Fiat bothered to make a sports car based on the Mazda MX-5, then your answer should simply be ‘because Seventies.’ Quite apart from being a pleasing throwback to the classic 124 Spider of the sixties and seventies, Fiat now has to opportunity to make a modern-day version of one of its all-time classic models – the Abarth 124 Spider.
Originally developed (successfully so) as a rally car, the original Abarth became something of a legend in sports car circles. Fiat will be hoping for a similar halo effect from this new one, which thankfully, restores the original’s matte-black bonnet finish to production reality.
More importantly, it gets a tweaked version of the standard 124’s 1.4 Mulitair turbo petrol engine, boosted by 30hp to a healthy 170hp. Not Bugatti Chrion power by any means, but in a car that weighs little more than a tonne, that should be enough for pretty strenuous performance. Fiat quotes a 0-100kmh time of 6.8secs and the best news of all is that it comes with a fruity ‘Record Monza’ exhaust system as standard.
The wishbone-front, multi-link rear suspension is carried over from the standard car, but tweaked by Abarth for sharper handling, while the brakes have been equipped with new aluminium callipers.
You haven’t heard the best part yet – Fiat will be taking the new Abarth Spider rallying. There’s a 300hp rallying version at Geneva (just look at those spot-lights!), set to be ready for the 2017 season. Now all we need is Alitalia sponsorship…