Fiat returns to the two-seat convertible market with the new Fiat 124 Spider – based on the Mazda MX-5 – which has debuted at the Los Angeles Motor Show.
The most fun convertible sports car – pound for pound – is the Mazda MX-5, a car that does all the British did so well for so long. It’s affordable, fun and cute and makes the perfect starting point for a new car from Fiat – step forward the new Fiat 124 Spider.
Based on the underpinnings of the MX-5, the 124 Spider gets new clothing and different engines, but the promise is it will be as appealing as its Japanese donor.
Fiat has made a bit of an effort to evoke the original 124 Spider, but it still manages to look contemporary and, perhaps, rather more stylish than the MX-5.
Fiat has changed all the body panels (except windscreen, header rail and roof gubbins), and the result is enough to differentiate it, with a new nose and grill, power bulges on the bonnet, different styling on the flanks and different lights, and although the interior is much more Mazda-like it still manages to look ‘Fiat’.
Under the bonnet, the UK will be getting Fiat’s 1.4 litre MultiAir with 138bhp and a six speed manual ‘box (the US market looks to be getting a 158bhp version), which suggests performance could be as good as Mazda’s 2.0 litre naturally aspirated MX-5. There’s also talk of a more powerful Abarth version at some point.
The new Fiat 124 Spider isn’t likely to arrive in the UK until late in 2016, so Fiat hasn’t yet had to get their abacus out to work out prices. Is it worth a premium over the Mazda MX-5? Perhaps.