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Fiat 124 launched with Abarth special. Image by Abarth.

Fiat 124 launched with Abarth special
New 29,500 Abarth edition of the 124 Spider adds 40hp and upgrades.
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Newer articles featuring 2016 Fiat 124 Spider

2016-06-08: First drive: Fiat 124 Spider
2016-05-30: Incoming: Fiat 124 Spider

Why is that Mazda MX-5 wearing Fiat badges?

Oh, you wag, you! This is, obviously, the European debut of the Fiat 124 Spider, which is closely related to that Japanese roadster icon. Fiat chose the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) to reveal its take on the rear-wheel drive open-top formula to the world, but then rather went and undid its good work by distracting everybody with some more aggressive looking examples of the 124.

Is that the white one with a black bonnet and also the racing version I can see?

Damn straight. The first of these is the Abarth 124 Spider, which is probably going to cost 29,500. It has the same 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the regular 124, but with an additional 40hp, leading to a 180hp maximum. Abarth has had a play with the suspension settings and seen fit to fit a limited-slip differential, while you'll be able to choose from six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Reckon on 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds.

The looks remind me of something - what is it?

Aside from the MX-5? You're probably thinking of the 124 Rally and Abarth models from the 1970s. They had black bonnets and meaner bodywork, so the 2016 iteration gets the same. Blistered arches, smoked alloys, red detailing and a matt black bonnet/boot combination make it look pretty special. We're intrigued to try it out soon.

So what's the red and yellow one all about?

That's a 124 Rally and while it's another reference to a 1970's version of the Fiat Spider, this one is actually a rally car, built to R-GT specifications. The 1.4-litre engine is junked in favour of a 300hp 1.8-litre direct injection turbo that is practically front mid-mounted, so far back in the nose is it, while it has tough, four-way adjustable suspension and a weight reduction. Due to compete in 2017, the Rally can be bought by privateers for 150,000 (about 117,000) apiece.

That's out of my league. Can we look at the regular car?

Some critics have lamented the 124 Spider's looks, but, to these eyes at least, it's no less exciting to gaze upon than the rather busy appearance of the current Mazda MX-5; if anything, the Fiat is a little less challenging. Fiat has not finalised UK specs and prices yet, but says it should start at 'less than' 20,000 and all models will get cruise control, air conditioning, a leather steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless start and USB, aux-in and Bluetooth connectivity. Higher versions will benefit from seven-inch touchscreen infotainment, satnav, 17s, LED adaptive headlights, leather trim, a Bose sound system, climate control and front fog lamps, among more.

And the 124's power?

Oh, we knew this already. A 1.4-litre MultiAir four-cylinder turbo delivers 140hp (we alluded to this earlier) and 240Nm. That's only 9hp up on the 1.5-litre MX-5, but crucially it's also 40Nm in excess of the meatier 2.0-litre Mazda, so its performance is broadly on a par with the Japanese firm's quicker motor. The 0-62mph sprint will be done with in 7.5 seconds and its top speed will be 134mph. There is one Fiat 124 we can tell you explicitly about, though.

Which one is that?

To mark the launch of the new one and to celebrate 50 years since the original 124 was unveiled in Turin in 1966, a 23,295 Anniversary Edition has been confirmed. Just 124 numbered examples will be built and enquiries are invited for the model, which gets a lot of the equipment we mention above, such as LED adaptive headlights; the seven-inch infotainment screen; satnav with 3D mapping; DAB; two USB ports; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; a nine-speaker Bose audio system; auto lights and wipers; 17-inch alloys; a silver finish for the door mirrors, windscreen frame and roll hoops; the Anniversary Edition numbered plaque in the cabin; and a '124 Spider' badge in the front grille.

Matt Robinson - 1 Mar 2016

Earlier articles featuring 2016 Fiat 124 Spider

2015-11-18: Fiat revives 124 Spider name for new roadster

2016 Abarth 124 Spider. Image by Abarth.2016 Abarth 124 Spider. Image by Abarth.2016 Abarth 124 Spider. Image by Abarth.2016 Abarth 124 Spider. Image by Abarth.2016 Abarth 124 Spider. Image by Abarth.

2016 Abarth 124 Spider. Image by Abarth.2016 Abarth 124 Spider. Image by Abarth.2016 Abarth 124 Spider. Image by Abarth.2016 Abarth 124 Spider. Image by Abarth.2016 Abarth 124 Spider. Image by Abarth.    - Fiat road tests
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- 124 Spider images

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