If you’ve had your eye on Mazda’s excellent MX-5 convertible, but you wish it had a wonderful and tiny turbocharged engine in it — or you wish it was a bit more Italian — then Fiat has the car for you.
It’s the oft-rumored Fiat 124 Spider, a new car with a classic name. Fiat has taken the excellent chassis and interior from Mazda’s MX-5 and added it’s own exterior design and the turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder power plant from the Fiat 500 Abarth. It pumps out 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, a nice jump from the 155 and 148 in the naturally aspirated MX-5.
The design will naturally draw comparisons to the nearly universally-loved Miata, but some (including The Verge transportation section chief Chris Ziegler) are likely to see it as little more than “a Miata with bolted-on parts.” I think he must be looking at a different car than I am, because the 124 is gorgeous. To each his own.
We’ll have to set up our own Fiat / Mazda showdown next summer when the Fiat 124 Spider hits showrooms.