The all-new Mazda MX-5 Miata is one of the best performance bargains of the last decade. We’ve personally sampled this fine little sports car, and came back puzzled whether we’d buy it or Scion’s FR-S. In the end, both are great little cars, but neither of them have the requisite flair something with an Italian badge has.
The only way to produce something with more soul and more character than the already spectacular Mazda is to hand over the Miata’s architecture to Fiat and say, “Go ahead, have at it!” And that’s just what Fiat has done with the all-new 124 Spider. It has more power than the Miata, and looks oh, so much better.
Back in 2012, Fiat and Mazda signed a deal that jointly built the new Miata. It also gave way to the 124 Spider. Essentially, much under the Italian bodywork is exactly the same as the new Miata. The chassis and architecture of the car remain, however, Fiat has tweaked a few things along the driveline. According to the press release, Fiat has given the 124 Spider a specially tuned suspension that provides, “Greater stability while braking and turning.” Does this mean that the Fiat has reduced the Miata’s signature body roll? We hope so.
The Fiat 124 Spider uses Fiat’s 1.4-liter Multi-air four-cylinder from the Fiat 500 Abarth. In this configuration, the engine makes 160 horsepower and a whopping 184 lb-ft of torque. Even with the Abarth’s engine, a hotter version of the new 124 Spider is rumored to also be in development, and that has our interest seriously piqued.
There’s a beautiful irony in the the fact that the return of the Fiat 124 would not be possible without the Mazda Miata, and the Miata was inspired by cars like the original 124. Food for thought.
The Fiat 124 Spider will go on sale summer of 2016. Now, who wants to buy our left kidney so we can buy one?