Fiat 124 Spider
, albeit with the caveat it's a grown-up roadster in the traditional mould and perhaps not as sharp or responsive as the MX-5 on which it is based. That's OK though, because details of the
have also been confirmed; prices start from £29,995 for the manual version or £31,605 for the Sequenziale Sportivo. That'll be 'marketing Italian' for a six-speed auto, in case you were wondering.
We can tell you it sounds good...
Putting the Abarth on equal terms with the first rungs of the BMW Z4 or Mercedes SLC ranges is quite a step up from the £23,295 of the most expensive Lusso Plus version of the Fiat 124 Spider. But the Abarth promises to be a rather more serious car. We'd like to base this opinion on more than just the press release, given there were a couple of Abarth Spiders being driven at the 124 launch. But we weren't among those granted a go so we'll instead have to sulkily recite the numbers as given.
170hp and 184lb ft from the 1.4 Multiair turbo seem relatively mild upgrades from the 140hp and 177lb ft of the standard car, especially given how much more aggressive the Abarth looks. And sounds, the rasp from the standard Record Monza exhaust noticeably more potent when one of those lucky enough to get a go razzed past us on the launch event. We did say we weren't bitter, didn't we?
Moving on, the car will hit 143mph and 0-62 in 6.8 seconds, which is faster than the standard 124 or any MX-5 Mazda will currently sell you. Unlike the standard Fiat version the Abarth gets a limited-slip differential too and a more assertive one than the Torsen fitted to the Mazda, so the engineers told us. That should hopefully deal with the standard, open-diffed car's willingness to spin up its inside wheel. And make more entertaining use of the boosty, turbocharged power delivery.
Fiat out, Abarth scorpions in
What else does your money get you? Well, the Abarth obviously looks a lot more sporty and, as proven with previous products, they're not shy of the branding to remind you of the Scorpion-badged heritage. It's certainly eye-catching, coming in five retro colours evoking memories of the original Abarth 124's respectable rallying heritage. Hence you can choose from Turini 1975 White, Costa Brava 1972 Red, metallic Isola d'Elba 1974 Blue, Portogallo 1974 Grey or San Marino 1972 Black.
Also included are Brembo brakes, an under bonnet strut brace, Abarth spec Bilstein dampers, stiffer springs and thicker anti-roll bars. A package of convenience features like folding mirrors, climate and cruise control are standard, but you still need to spend extra to get the Bose upgrade with headrest mounted speakers or the sat-nav. Just to bump up the price a little more. We'll hope to bring you driving impressions soon!
Photos: Stan Papior/Autocar