Abarth – Fiat’s high performance arm – has revealed its version of the 124 Spider at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The two-seat sports car, based on the Fiat 124 Spider (itself a reworked version of the Mazda MX-5), gets an enhanced engine, improved suspension and a sporty body kit.
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Abarth 124 Spider styling
At the front, a huge air intake occupies most of the lower bumper which, like the gaping grille above, is fitted with black hexagonal mesh. The back features a wind tunnel-developed diffuser and additional venting behind the wheels. The LED taillights are distinguished by a body-coloured insert, resulting in a ring-shaped light cluster.
The 17-inch alloy wheels are finished in ‘Forgiato Grey’ matching the windscreen surround and roll hoops. An optional black bonnet and bootlid – a clear nod to rally-spec Abarths of the past – are designed to reduce glare for the driver. Five retro-themed body colours are available – white, red, blue, grey and black.
Abarth 124 Spider interior
The cabin design is mostly unchanged from the regular Fiat 124 which, save for the badges and colours, is essentially the same as the MX-5. Only marginally different material and colour options set the pair apart.
The Abarth 124 gains a unique leather seat design, while various parts of the dash are clad in Alcantara – a grippy glare-reducing material frequently used in racing cars. A red stripe stitched at the top of the wheel rim is a neat rally-inspired touch.
Abarth 124 Spider driving
The MX-5’s agile chassis is a great starting point for any sports car and the performance modifications Abarth engineers have introduced will make it even more thrilling. The suspension layout is largely similar to the Fiat 124 and MX-5, but tuned to Abarth’s own settings. Dampers produced by suspension specialists Bilstein should ensure taut body control, while a mechanical limited slip differential should offer strong traction out of corners.
The 124 Spider tips the scales at a scant 1,060kg – 15kg lighter than the 2.0-litre MX-5. That mass is split evenly between front to rear too, and the majority of it is centred between the axles for ultimate agility. Specially developed Brembo brakes should keep the performance firmly in check.
Abarth 124 Spider engines
The Abarth 124 Spider is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. This unit is found in various states of tune across the current Abarth and Alfa Romeo ranges and, in this application, produces 168hp and 184lb ft of torque. Aided by the low weight, it’s enough to produce a 6.8-second 0-62mph time and a top speed of 143mph.
Abarth promises a soundtrack to match the speed, too. A specially developed exhaust offers what the Italian brand describes as a “beautiful growling sound”. Gearbox choices include a six-speed manual or paddle shift automatic.
Abarth 124 Spider specs and equipment
The Abarth 124 will fulfil its role as the range-topping model with extensive standard equipment. All models get climate and cruise control, and an infotainment system featuring a seven-inch screen, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity, along with MP3, USB and AUX inputs.
Buyers will get the option to add an upgraded Bose sound system with nine speakers – including some in the headrests and a subwoofer in the boot. In addition, sat nav can be added to the infotainment system.
Abarth 124 Spider prices and release date
Prices have finally been announced for the Abarth 124. The manual model will cost from £29,565 while the auto adds £2,040 bringing the total to £31,605. That makes it around £6,000 more expensive than the top-of-the-range Mazda MX-5 with which the Abarth 124 shares a chassis.
Save money on your next new car
Can’t wait until September? Why not take a look at or Fiat 124 review or, alternatively, spec up its Japanese cousin, the Mazda MX-5 on our deals page. To take a look at what other sports cars are available, head over to our car checker.