Abarth 124 Spider | Spotted

Abarth isn't bringing any more 124 Spiders to the UK, not for the foreseeable future at least. FCA's UK boss, Arnaud Leclerc, told Top Gear earlier this year that, despite the country being the world's number one market for Abarth as a whole, there was no profit in bringing the cars here. There won't have been any profit for the previous owner of today's Spotted either, who would have bought the car for around £30,000 when new, only to find it worth over £11,000 less just 8,000 miles later.

That makes it a steal for its next custodian, though, who'll get themselves a cracking little roadster for a very reasonable price. A roadster which is based, of course, on the universally adored Mazda MX-5, sharing as it does that car's chassis, interior and open-top appeal.

With the Abarth carrying an additional 60kg than the Mazda and offering 630cc less, initial comparisons between the two don't look great for the 124. But its four-pot motor is turbocharged, meaning it boasts 184lb ft to the MX-5's 148 and bestowing it with more easily accessible real world performance. Its firmer suspension can mean it rides more harshly over bumpy surfaces, but also enables drivers to take full advantage of its limited-slip diff, cornering harder and faster than the slightly squishier Japanese machine.

Back in 2017 we took the chance to put our long-term Abarth head to head with its 2.0-litre MX-5 sibling. The 124 lost, but not because it was the lesser of the two cars. In fact, Matt called it "the more satisfying and enjoyable car to drive, thanks to its torque and more focused suspension", but adjudged the difference between the two to not be worth the £7,000 premium which the Italian commanded as tested.

Now, though, with this nearly new car listed at just £18,950, the equation is somewhat different. The Mazda will have depreciated too, of course, but with the only comparable 2018 MX-5 in the classifieds priced at £17,500, the difference between them is not what it once was.

With its slightly larger proportions, more conservative styling and fabulously roarty exhaust, then, the Abarth provides a solid alternative to the world's best-selling roadster. Of course, those who prefer the Mazda will likely find their allegiance unswayed, but for buyers who previously considered going in a different direction, there may never have been a better time to take the plunge.

1,368cc, four-cyl turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 170@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 184@2,500rpm
0-62mph: 6.8sec
Top speed: 144mph
First registered: 2018
Recorded mileage: 8,000
Price new: ~ £30,000
Price now: £18,950

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Comments (53) Join the discussion on the forum

  • retrosonic 6 days ago

    so 1st owner probablly weighed it in for £17+k ....Ouch !

  • Nerdherder 6 days ago

    Depreciation like this was to be expected.. Still good to point out PH.

  • Luke. 6 days ago

    Love ours and the lease deals at the time were silly cheap. We're paying just £140 a month. Can't think of anything better for the money.

  • je777 6 days ago

    I'd suggest being the 3rd or 4th owner - once someone else has lost yet another enormous bundle of cash.
    I'm not a fan of its looks, but give it another three years and this thing could be dirt cheap.

  • Vocht 6 days ago

    These can be tuned to 200PS/290Nm pretty cheaply/easily... As mentioned, they're also a lot nicer as a daily compared to an MX5 thanks to the torquey 4pot.

    They're a genuinely rare car on the roads to with just circa 1,700 in the UK. Mk4 MX5's are possibly even 10x this number.

    I'm waiting until they drop that little bit more to around £15k before I buy. From there I think they'll continue to drop very slowly but it'll be the perfect time to get a nice, unabused low miles example and one which isn't too old either!

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