Reactions to the debut of the Fiat 124 Spider were a little mum following its appearance at the Los Angeles auto show. We’re seeing the Italian Miata in a whole new light now that Fiat has unveiled the more potent Abarth 124 Spider at the Geneva auto show. With its upgraded power, beefed-up suspension and brakes, more menacing exhaust, and more sinister looks, it seems like the 124 to get.
Based on the Mazda Miata platform, the Fiat 124 Spider earns its scorpion emblems courtesy of the Abarth performance division. For the Abarth version, the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is tuned to 170 hp (up from 160 hp), while retaining its 184 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with shift paddles.
While the added power is indeed welcome, we’re more enticied by the handling and braking upgrades for the Abarth 124 Spider. It gets a traditional mechanical limited-slip differential at the rear, Bilstein dampers, stiffer anti-roll bars, and Brembo brakes with aluminum front calipers–a recipe that should reward both backroad, autocross, and track-day enthusiasts.
Like the Miata, the Abarth 124 Spider still isn’t exactly quick. In European spec it will sprint from 0-62 mph in 6.8 seconds on its way to a 143-mph top speed. But the good news is that in true Abarth tradition, you’ll sound like a teeth-gnashing demon even when you’re bested at stop-lights by a Camry V-6; installed in every Abarth 124 Spider is a Record Monza exhaust for your aural pleasure.
The Abarth boys didn’t forget to freshen up the visuals, tacking on a full aero kit, matte black hood and trunklid to eliminate glare, 17-inch wheels, and LED headlights and taillights. Inside you’ll find a healthy dose of Alcantara trim, a new instrument cluster with a red background, along with aluminum pedals for friendly heel-toe shifting, a shift lever, and a small-diameter steering wheel.
If that’s not enough to get your blood pumping, there’s a 1.8-liter direct-injection, 300-hp rally version that debuts in Geneva with the Abarth 124 Spider. With its fixed roof, comprehensive safety gear and rollcage, and significant lightweighting, the Abarth 124 Rally is prepped for the 2017 rally season according to FIA R-GT rules.
Expect the Abarth 124 Spider to make its U.S. debut at the New York auto show.