2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Review – An Italian Roadster Made in Japan



The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth has left its Italian origins and turned to Japan for some much needed zoom zoom. The original 124 Spider had a vintage Twincam naturally aspirated engine putting out 90hp and had this nice mechanical feel and power that’s decent for its time. For the 21st century 124 Abarth, The engine is still sourced in Italy using Fiat’s multi-air turbo 1.4 and while it is more powerful, it has lost the character that the original engine designed by Aurelio Lampredi.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Review – An Italian Roadster Made in Japan

The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Shares 90-Percent of its Cassis From the MX-5

On the outside of the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, the whole body is Fiat-designed but the whole car is made in Japan. You won’t find the Kodo – soul in motion design on the 124 as the exterior is very Italian. Up front,there’s a large gaping grille flanked by the large headlights. Off to the sides the flowing lines of the Miata are gone. At the back you get quad exhausts. Powering the 124 is a 1.4 Liter turbocharged four cylinder putting out 164hp and 184lb-ft of torque, more than the 2.0 Liter Mazda Skyactiv engine. Interestingly Fiat uses previous generation NC Miata’s manual gearbox; while still pretty good, it’s not as awesome as the ND Miata’s.

On the inside of the 2017 124 Spider Abarth, most of the interior layout is from the MX-5 with a bit more Italian flair such as Recaroseats with alcantara, better padding on the door panels and chrome bits on the AC vents. Long story short it’s the Miata interior but nicer or more upscale. Cargo space? Don’t even think about it, both cars don’t even offer glove boxes! There’s lots of cubbies, pockets, and panels at the back of the seats and on the center armrest; trunk space is average for a roadster of this size.

Despite the almost identical chassis, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth differs slightly in performance compared to the MX-5. This is mainly due to the engine and the slightly heavier body, as well as suspension tuning.0-60 on the turbo 124 is slower than the MX-5 at 6.7 seconds this is because of the weight and the turbo spools up late in the rev range making the 1.4 underpowered at low revs meanwhile the Skyactive engine on the Mazda is just eager to zoom past anything with its 5.9 second 0-60 bolt. When tackling corners, despite the weight, the dampers on the 124 mitigate body roll versus the MX-5’s softer dampers. Overall both cars handle excellently with minute nuances to differentiate the two.


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2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Review – An Italian Roadster Made in Japan
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