It’s not exactly news that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is working on a new roadster based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata, but these new spy photos represent the first time we’ve seen a prototype testing with different bodywork that looks specific to the Fiat version.
After lots of back-and-forth speculation that the roadster would be either an Alfa Romeo or a Fiat Abarth, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said at this year’s Geneva auto show that the Mazda-based model will be called the Fiat 124 Spider. While we had previously spotted Mazda MX-5 Miata mules testing, this new prototype has its own Fiat bodywork, with a longer hood, a reshaped rear end, and slightly different side surfacing compared to the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata it’s based on.
Through the camouflage, we can see that the Fiat 124 Spider will have rounded headlights like the rest of the Fiat lineup, and a longer hood than the MX-5 Miata. The overall profile doesn’t change much, but the rear decklid appears to have been reworked for the Fiat version, with new taillights and a raised rear lip. Expect the 124 Spider to further differentiate itself with wheels, exterior color options, and interior trim differences.
Scheduled to arrive sometime in 2016, the Fiat 124 Spider is not likely to use the same Skyactiv 2.0-liter four-cylinder from the Mazda MX-5. Instead, we suspect the Fiat will use a version of the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Fiat 500 Abarth and Fiat 500X. Expect around 160 hp and 170 lb-ft from the roadster, which will make it a bit more powerful than the Mazda Miata’s 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is sure to be standard, with an automatic optional. The turbo engine should also provide a distinctive exhaust note like it does in the 500 Abarth, which will add some Italian character to the Japanese-sourced convertible.
Stay tuned for more information on the Fiat 124 Spider as we get closer to its debut, and check out the spy photos in the gallery below in the meantime.