First Drive: Fiat 124 Spider

Nearly 50 years after the original Fiat 124 Spider was introduced to America, Fiat is back with an all-new 124 Spider. This rear-wheel-drive roadster gives the Mazda Miata its first real competition in years, costing just $80 more at its $24,995 base price.

Funny thing about that: Fiat’s new Spider is based on a Miata chassis, and we don’t mean it shares a few bolt sizes. Underneath, the two cars are almost identical, but the Fiat sports new bodywork and the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine from the 500 Abarth.

Want to see more photos? Check out our full gallery

The Perfect Marriage?

Say "platform sharing" to any enthusiast, and you'll get an eye-roll at best. Good things rarely happen when two companies use the same chassis–we're looking at you, Honda Passport and Toyota Cavalier.

Fortunately, Fiat seems to have better taste than '90s-era Honda. Rather than pick something lame, they picked one of the best sports cars ever made: the Mazda MX-5. We're not sure how they did it, but somehow the company convinced Mazda to share their crown jewel, culminating in the 124 Spider.

Each car starts as a turbocharged drivetrain, made from the 500 Abarth's 1.4-liter, 160-horsepower engine and the transmission from an NC-chassis MX-5. That's shipped to Hiroshima, Japan, where an assembly line puts it into a MX-5 chassis and wraps it in Italian-designed Fiat bodywork. The result, in our opinion, is the best of both worlds: Italian design and Japanese build quality.

How Does it Drive?

We set off in a base-model Spider with a manual transmission, the "masculine, aggressive" nose pointed at Southern California's famous canyon roads. Yeah, this was going to be a fun day at the office.

It was even better than we expected. The little 1.4-liter makes peak torque (184 lb.-ft.) at only 2500 rpm, so the character we've come to expect from a small roadster's drivetrain was entirely changed. Gone is the sensation of being tugged along by a determined gerbil sprinting on a wheel, replaced instead by what feels like half of a Mustang shoved under the hood, grunting along.

Well, maybe "grunting" is a little optimistic. Still, though, the Fiat doesn't beg to be wound out to the rev limiter. It simply surges along, the little turbo occasionally making itself known through a cool noise (WRX, bro!) or an annoying bit of lag if you're in the wrong gear. Forget to upshift, though, and you'll be sorry–the rev limiter hits at just 6500 rpm.

What transmission did Fiat use to turn their front-wheel-drive power plant into a rear-wheel-drive one? Oddly enough, they picked the same transmission used in the NC-chassis Mazda Miata, and changed a few pieces to make it all work. We actually prefer the 124 Spider's gear shift to the ND Miata's; the throws felt shorter and more precise.

Now, the biggie: How does it handle? Fiat says they spent three years and visited locations around the world to tune the Spider's suspension, and the North American cars have the same tuning as those found overseas.

Honestly, without instruments or back-to-back tests with both cars, we couldn't find any real difference between the base Fiat we drove and a base MX-5. They're both a tad floaty in stock form, but ultimately lean over and act surprisingly neutral. The Fiat's limits were fairly low, but it also sported tires better suited to highway cruising than track days. We were regretting leaving our R-comps at home. The steering was precise and communicative, even though its assist is electric, not hydraulic.

Brakes? Yes, it had them. We weren't about to find the limit in a borrowed car on public roads. Sorry, internet, but you'll have to wait for an instrumented test in Grassroots Motorsports magazine.

Weight a minute: You're wondering how heavy this thing is, right? With a manual transmission, the curb weight is 2436 pounds.

Does It Have Bluetooth?

Yes, it has bluetooth. In fact, it has everything a Mazda MX-5 has, because the interior is basically the same. Mazda's touchscreen infotainment system is present in the higher trims (with "MX-5" cleverly changed to "124 Spider" wherever it appears in menus), while the base model gets an old-school display that's about as complicated as a bar of soap. Yes–it has bluetooth, too.

Fiat does seem to have put a fair bit of effort into quieting the interior down. Compared to a MX-5, it was noticeably quieter on the highway. Fiat showed us a diagram with eight different points of sound deadening improvement, and it worked.

The fancier trim (called Lusso) sports soft-touch materials sprinkled throughout. We think this means Fiat had an intern glue some brown leather over a few plastic places on the dash, but it actually makes a big difference. Getting out of the Classica and into the Lusso was like walking across the street from a Holiday Inn to a Hilton.

The Lusso also comes standard with every other feature you'd expect on a modern car–-automatic lights and wipers, blind spot nannies, leather, backup camera, etc. Oh, and every 124 Spider has a larger trunk than the MX-5 it's based on: 10 liters larger, to be exact. Finally, you can carry an extra day's worth of water on those long trips.

What's This I Hear About an Abarth?

Awwwwwwwwww yessssss. The Abarth. Abarth is to Fiat as AMG is to Mercedes, and we were able to sample the Fiat 124 Abarth on a long, open autocross course.

First up: price. The Abarth starts at $28,195, which makes it just over $400 cheaper than a Mazda MX-5 Club.

So, how much more power does the mighty Abarth make? Uh, uhm, 4. Four horsepower, zero lb.-ft. That's all it gains, so you probably don't want to start your cars & coffee conversation with dyno charts. Buying an Abarth also gets you a sport suspension, a mechanical limited-slip differential, a Sport button, different wheels, four chrome exhaust tips, and a few accents/stripes/badges that actually look damn good. If, for some reason, you buy an Abarth with the automatic transmission, you'll also get paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Feeling spendy? You can add Brembo brakes and Recaro seats, "for added sportiness." Those are Fiat's words, not ours.

How's it drive? Just like the MX-5 Club it competes against, it drives like a slightly stiffer version of the standard Spider that puts its power down much better thanks to a real differential. We were huge fans of the Sport button, though, which sharpens the drivetrain up significantly. It probably just shortens the delay between hitting the throttle and receiving torque, but it made a huge difference on track. By far the highlight of the day, though, was driving an Abarth with a Mopar exhaust system. Wow: Such noise, much loud, very turbo, many want. We had to get out before we had any more thoughts of going into debt.

Will the Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Beat a Mazda MX-5 Club?

Good question! We're cooking up a full, instrumented test of both cars. Want to read it? You'll have to subscribe to Grassroots Motorsports magazine.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Abarth and Fiat articles.
Comments
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revrico
revrico HalfDork
6/10/16 1:19 a.m.

Ok, this actually was worth staying up late to read. It sounds even better than had been hinted at, and looks absolutely gorgeous in that blue.

Did the non hp related changes to the Abarth model make much difference in feel and driveability on course and on highway?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/10/16 1:21 a.m.

Yes, they did, and I would absolutely spring for the Abarth as soon as a clever salesman said "It's only an extra $XX per month!"

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to drive it on the street. Only a few exist at this point, and they were stuck at the autocross course.

Mark_Booth
Mark_Booth New Reader
6/10/16 1:34 a.m.

Thanks, Tom! Great review (the best I've read so far).

Mark

Mitchell
Mitchell UberDork
6/10/16 2:06 a.m.

Shame that the blue is a limited edition. It is beautiful.

Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
6/10/16 6:36 a.m.

I'm not a convertible fan, but damn this other Abarth sounds tempting.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
6/10/16 6:59 a.m.

Nice- and thanks for the comparisons.

I still find it interesting how focused we are as enthusiasts that we want ultra flat cornering. Back when the original 124 was out, cars like it and the Alfas handled really well, but had pretty soft set ups. My Alfa leans a lot in corners.

Having a soft/"leany" car corner so well is a very good thing.

A few years ago, when that car was supposed to have a different badge, it was #1 on my future buy list. At least with this review, it's gone back up some.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
6/10/16 7:05 a.m.

This is an exciting car.

IndyJoe
IndyJoe Dork
6/10/16 7:15 a.m.

The want it Strong for this one. What a good looking car. I'm glad to hear they're using the NC transmission, instead of the (apparently weaker) ND Miata unit. Very well written article Tom. Thanks.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/10/16 7:51 a.m.

I'm a sucker for a flat black hood, so you know which way I'm leaning.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/10/16 8:42 a.m.
mazdeuce wrote: This is an exciting car.

Very much so. Plus it gives our world another real sports car. In a day of self-driving cars and SUVs and automatic gearboxes, this is big, big news.

singleslammer
singleslammer UberDork
6/10/16 8:46 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard:

Ah, the youth is really coming through on this here article!

I joke, best words, much excite

mikeatrpi
mikeatrpi Reader
6/10/16 8:48 a.m.
alfadriver wrote: A few years ago, when that car was supposed to have a different badge, it was #1 on my future buy list.

What's this about?

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
6/10/16 8:49 a.m.

In reply to mikeatrpi:

It was originally supposed to be an Alfa Romeo until Sergio decreed that all Alfas must be built in Italy. Then it became a Fiat.

Powar
Powar UltraDork
6/10/16 8:55 a.m.

Yeah. I'm going to need one of these.

Furious_E
Furious_E HalfDork
6/10/16 8:55 a.m.

Well thanks, Tom. Now you have me calculating monthly payments on an Abarth...

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/10/16 9:13 a.m.
singleslammer wrote: In reply to Tom Suddard: Ah, the youth is really coming through on this here article! I joke, best words, much excite

KyAllroad
KyAllroad UltraDork
6/10/16 9:18 a.m.

Interesting about the choice of transmissions. With the new and improved ND box going kablooey, choosing the old and proven NC tranny is a clever idea.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/10/16 9:25 a.m.

I wonder how easily that NC transmission bolts to the 500 engine. Rear-drive 500, anyone?

Robbie
Robbie SuperDork
6/10/16 9:27 a.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: I wonder how easily that NC transmission bolts to the 500 engine. Rear-drive 500, anyone?

I was wondering how well the 500 engine bolts up to the NC...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/10/16 9:32 a.m.
Robbie wrote:
David S. Wallens wrote: I wonder how easily that NC transmission bolts to the 500 engine. Rear-drive 500, anyone?

I was wondering how well the 500 engine bolts up to the NC...

Well, that, too. I like the way you think.

PHeller
PHeller PowerDork
6/10/16 9:35 a.m.

It is funny reading such journalism, much youth, invigorated.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/10/16 9:36 a.m.

Speaking as the editor, yes, it was a fun, youthful read. And I'm totally cool with that. It's genuine.

Robbie
Robbie SuperDork
6/10/16 9:57 a.m.
Tom Suddard wrote:

Here's a thought. I think the fiat looks much more like the NC miata than it does the ND miata. (pics below for reference).

Sooo, IF in fact the fiat looks more like the NC than the ND, what does that mean in design language? Could it mean that more people will more likely initially like the looks of the fiat because they are 'used to' the looks of the NC? Could it mean that the looks of the fiat will become dated more quickly?

Lesley
Lesley PowerDork
6/10/16 9:57 a.m.

Nice work Tom. Wish they hadn't separated us Canuckians (the wall starts already...). I'd love to read more detail on your drive experience.. Bet it was interesting

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/10/16 10:03 a.m.

Lesley, I meant to ask what the Canuckighetto thing was all about.

Margie

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/10/16 10:55 a.m.

Different car specs, possibly?

ultraclyde
ultraclyde UberDork
6/10/16 11:02 a.m.
Robbie wrote: Sooo, IF in fact the fiat looks more like the NC than the ND, what does that mean in design language? Could it mean that more people will more likely initially like the looks of the fiat because they are 'used to' the looks of the NC? Could it mean that the looks of the fiat will become dated more quickly?

Interesting point. I kind of agree that looks more like the NC. Kind of like it might be where you expected Mazda to take the design instead of where they went. I'm not sure it will look dated more quickly though. If anything, I think that the Fiat design has more "classic" design references (due to the retroness) than the ND. It's possible that the cutting edge ND design will make it look dated more quickly because it is so unique and therefore indicative of a very specific time period.

In either case, I'll take an Abarth with the recaros. Color TBD. At least, I will if someone decides to total my paid-for Mustang.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/10/16 11:16 a.m.

You know there are other ways to cash out a car other than having it totaled, right?

ZOO
ZOO UltraDork
6/10/16 11:23 a.m.

It is too bad that the design is so meh . . . too much overhang. Too long and narrow. The ND is so much more zesty looking.

Furious_E
Furious_E HalfDork
6/10/16 12:04 p.m.
ZOO wrote: It is too bad that the design is so meh . . . too much overhang. Too long and narrow. The ND is so much more zesty looking.

I definitely agree that the ND looks better than the Fiat does in pictures, however I'd have to see one in person before passing final judgement. Did not like the ND's design at all prior to seeing one in the flesh, but it's since really grown on me.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
6/10/16 12:11 p.m.

I've seen the ND in person, and the Fiat's styling, in pictures, looks soooo much better to me, and really gives a retro feeling without actually being retro. It really calls to mind the '70s 124s.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
6/10/16 12:14 p.m.

How about the exhaust note? Is it abarth 500 tractory?

Lesley
Lesley PowerDork
6/10/16 12:16 p.m.

In reply to Fueled by Caffeine:

Yes, it's dirty. And if you get the optional Mopar exhaust and pretty anodized bypass valve - it's porn.

Lesley
Lesley PowerDork
6/10/16 12:17 p.m.

In reply to Marjorie Suddard:

It's a conspiracy. They don't want us talking about our free health care and bathroom sharing.

CrashingTiger
CrashingTiger None
6/10/16 12:22 p.m.

Tom, in the preview thread, you mentioned being able to piece meal options on any trim car. Does that mean I could add the Abarth suspension and lsd to a classica?

Also, as much as I like the Fiat, all Mazda has to do is add more power and a better transmission and they would have it locked up for me.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
6/10/16 12:27 p.m.
Lesley wrote: In reply to Fueled by Caffeine: Yes, it's dirty. And if you get the optional Mopar exhaust and pretty anodized bypass valve - it's porn.

you have made me so happy..

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/10/16 12:29 p.m.

Pricing and build options are on the Fiat website: http://www.fiatusa.com/hostc/bmo/CUX201707/models.do?

RexSeven
RexSeven UberDork
6/10/16 12:31 p.m.
Fueled by Caffeine wrote: How about the exhaust note? Is it abarth 500 tractory?

Have a listen.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/SSDkcByCWOE

mblommel
mblommel HalfDork
6/10/16 12:36 p.m.

Don't like the FIAT styling, but it looks the least offensive in black.

stroker
stroker SuperDork
6/10/16 12:45 p.m.

I'll be so happy when the styling fad of "jowls" goes away....

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
6/10/16 12:47 p.m.

Me likey sounds.

revrico
revrico HalfDork
6/10/16 12:59 p.m.

Oh god, I need a smoke after hearing that exhaust. It just screams "beat on me" so well.

Kreb
Kreb UltraDork
6/10/16 1:11 p.m.

I'm sure that the Mazda and Fiat designers are really happy that people tend to prefer one or the other. There's a clear classic-versus-cutting-edge thing going on. They've made the twins just enough "non-identical" that they are less likely to cannibalize each others sales. I don't get that same feeling when I look at the BRZ twins.

ZOO
ZOO UltraDork
6/10/16 1:35 p.m.
Chris_V wrote: I've seen the ND in person, and the Fiat's styling, in pictures, looks soooo much better to me, and really gives a retro feeling without actually being retro. It really calls to mind the '70s 124s.

I based my opinion on having seen and sat in both. The Fiat is really derivative in person, in my humble opinion.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/10/16 3:08 p.m.
Kreb wrote: I'm sure that the Mazda and Fiat designers are really happy that people tend to prefer one or the other. There's a clear classic-versus-cutting-edge thing going on. They've made the twins just enough "non-identical" that they are less likely to cannibalize each others sales. I don't get that same feeling when I look at the BRZ twins.

I can't even remember which of the twins is a Toyota, a Scion or a Subaru. I don't think anyone will have that problem with the Fiata.

IndyJoe
IndyJoe Dork
6/10/16 3:18 p.m.

Sounds Amazing !

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr SuperDork
6/10/16 3:35 p.m.

Hhnnnggggg. That noise.

Possible to put me front end on fiat? If so..... OOOHHHHHH MY!

RexSeven
RexSeven UberDork
6/10/16 4:14 p.m.

Yep, the Abarth sounds sweet. It looks sweet. Hell, the standard 124 Spider looks sweet.

I've always respected but never really wanted a Miata. However, when it comes time to move on from the Evo the nuovo 124 has jumped to the top of the shopping list. The changes Fiat has made make it look more liveable on a day-to-day basis, and I less than three turbochargers. If Fiat ever makes a hardtop variant it will go even higher on the list, but I would not kick a convertible out of the driveway.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
6/10/16 5:40 p.m.

Quick, somebody total one so I can have the drivetrain for my e30 :)

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
6/10/16 6:19 p.m.

The General Tire Shootout at The Challenge featured the following vehicles:
In 2014: Fiat 500 Abarths
In 2015: Miata NDs
In 2016: What would be the logical progression?

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
6/10/16 9:40 p.m.
stroker wrote: I'll be so happy when the styling fad of "jowls" goes away....

I would love me an Abarth 124.. but I would want the base front bumper on it

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
6/10/16 9:53 p.m.
irish44j wrote: Quick, somebody total one so I can have the drivetrain for my e30 :)

I was thinking the opposite. Someone blow one up on boost that the warranty won't cover. I assume FM kits for LS3 swaps will work on this car. They will just look better doing it :)

tr8todd
tr8todd Dork
6/11/16 6:39 a.m.

33 years ago my first car was a used 76 Fiat 124 spider. I loved that car. I hated that car. I tought my little sister to drive in that car. My wife learned how to drive a stick in that car. She asked me to teach her, and I was busy at the time. Next thing I know she's driving away grinding gears by herself. 15 minutes she comes back and says something to the effect of thanks anyway, but I got this. She's had mostly manual transmission cars ever since. That dang car almost killed me and my wife/girlfriend at the time when one of the front ball joints decided to fail on a twisty road going speeds faster than I should have been going. Passenger wheel pinned against the inner fender and off the road we went. Missed a gigantic non movable oak tree by inches. After it was fixed and sold, I swore I'd never buy another Italian car. Been British and German sports cars ever since. I just might have to rethink my position once this new Fiat comes out.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
6/11/16 7:08 a.m.

Listening to the video of the engine revving, it sounds like it takes a while to go from idle to 3,000 rpm, or is it just me? Think flat head truck engine vs a lighter flywheeled motorcycle engine spooling up.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
6/11/16 7:26 a.m.

Can I say that the styling comments are interesting?

Go back to the 60's and note how big of a departure from roadsters of the time the Fiat was. While the set back lights were kind of seen in cars before, to have them that set back was a big change. The Fiat and Alfa Duetto were both pretty radical departures from the cars just previously made by each company.

Italians had always been very leading edge in design.

The first Miata was very derivative- it had elements from many other cars throughout history.

Now the new Miata is very fresh vs the retro looking Fiat. And, on my previous comment, I also saw that the Alfa was largely the same as the Fiat, as it had a lot of Duetto in it.

Very interesting.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
6/11/16 7:28 a.m.
tr8todd wrote: 33 years ago my first car was a used 76 Fiat 124 spider. I loved that car. I hated that car. I tought my little sister to drive in that car. My wife learned how to drive a stick in that car. She asked me to teach her, and I was busy at the time. Next thing I know she's driving away grinding gears by herself. 15 minutes she comes back and says something to the effect of thanks anyway, but I got this. She's had mostly manual transmission cars ever since. That dang car almost killed me and my wife/girlfriend at the time when one of the front ball joints decided to fail on a twisty road going speeds faster than I should have been going. Passenger wheel pinned against the inner fender and off the road we went. Missed a gigantic non movable oak tree by inches. After it was fixed and sold, I swore I'd never buy another Italian car. Been British and German sports cars ever since. I just might have to rethink my position once this new Fiat comes out.

Years ago there was a serious problem with bad balljoints. I know in my 77, I had one of the uppers only last 3000 miles before falling apart into 4 pieces. These were not fiat branded ball joints, but aftermarket, so it was not Fiat's fault.. but somebody who built them as cheap as possible and shipped them all over the world with many different names on the boxes.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/12/16 10:49 a.m.
JohnRW1621 wrote: The General Tire Shootout at The Challenge featured the following vehicles: In 2014: Fiat 500 Abarths In 2015: Miata NDs In 2016: What would be the logical progression?

It's like we predicted the future.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/12/16 10:50 a.m.

Regarding the style: Some people love it, some people don't love it. Honestly, I think that's a good thing. Can you quickly tell an FR-S from a BRZ? Not really. This time we have two different faces for one great chassis.

petegossett
petegossett UltimaDork
6/12/16 11:22 a.m.

I checked, nearest dealer is 350-miles away. That would make any potential warranty work a bit of a hassle...

Lesley
Lesley PowerDork
6/12/16 11:33 a.m.

As an 8-time fanatical Mazda-owner, I didn't think I would fall in love with this car. I did. It feels a bit more grown-up than the MX-5, which is in no way a criticism. There's room to love them both.

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Reader
6/12/16 1:55 p.m.
Lesley wrote: As an 8-time fanatical Mazda-owner, I didn't think I would fall in love with this car. I did. It feels a bit more grown-up than the MX-5, which is in no way a criticism. There's room to love them both.

I feel the same way. I've owned a Miata since they came out in 1990. The first time I saw one, I knew that was the car I'd been waiting for. If I were younger, I might appreciate the newer styling of the ND. But I'm just not in love with it. The Fiat styling is better looking to my eyes. It's not perfect, but I can't think of any car design that is with the possible exception of a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing or E-Type Jag.

If Fiat makes a fastback coupe, I'll be standing in line waving a stack of money at the sales people.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/12/16 3:01 p.m.

I must not be old enough yet, then. I still prefer the ND looks. Must be because I didn't get a Miata until 1993 But I'm looking forward to driving the 124 to see how it behaves.

kanaric
kanaric Dork
6/12/16 5:08 p.m.
Tom Suddard wrote: Nearly 50 years after the original Fiat 124 Spider was introduced to America, Fiat is back with an all-new 124 Spider. This rear-wheel-drive roadster gives the Mazda Miata its first real competition in years, costing just $80 more at its $24,995 base price. Funny thing about that: Fiat's new Spider is based on a Miata chassis, and we don't mean it shares a few bolt sizes. Underneath, the two cars are almost identical, but the Fiat sports new bodywork and the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine from the 500 Abarth....

that blue is such a tease, you need to buy the special edition otherwise you get typical bland colors

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
6/12/16 6:24 p.m.
Lesley wrote: In reply to Fueled by Caffeine: Yes, it's dirty. And if you get the optional Mopar exhaust and pretty anodized bypass valve - it's porn.

I could do without a fancy bypass valve, but the idea of a Mopar sport exhaust for my Fiat-engined Miata is.... well. What strange times we live in!

Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
6/12/16 9:42 p.m.
JoeTR6 wrote: If Fiat makes a fastback coupe, I'll be standing in line waving a stack of money at the sales people.

My salesman is always joking about me buying another car from him. If a coupe happened, he might get a repeat customer.

T.J.
T.J. UltimaDork
6/13/16 7:56 a.m.

The 124 looks a little generic and plain to me where the ND at least looks different. I'll have to see one in person. I like the ND better in person than in photos and that might be the same with the 124. The only real complaint I can make about the styling is the dumb windshield surround not being body color.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
6/13/16 8:27 a.m.

That's actually dependent on the trim. The Lusso comes with that fancy silver windshield surround.

Matt B
Matt B SuperDork
6/13/16 8:39 a.m.

In reply to T.J.:

Yes, that silver windshield surround is a problem for me. Other convertibles have tried it before (see Crossfire), and it didn't work then and doesn't work now. I'm guessing since it's a retro design they're reaching for the old look of chrome-trimmed glass like the original 124, but the new pillar width vexes the attempt.

I guess that's what they make vinyl wrap for.

Edit - just saw Tom's post and visited the website, which is updated since I last visited. Glad to see not all the trims have it. Captain Assumption away! (whoosh)

T.J.
T.J. UltimaDork
6/13/16 8:41 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard:

Oh, good. Every picture I've seen so far has the silverish windshield frame. Glad to know it is not mandatory.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
6/13/16 9:17 a.m.
T.J. wrote: The 124 looks a little generic and plain to me where the ND at least looks different. I'll have to see one in person. I like the ND better in person than in photos and that might be the same with the 124. The only real complaint I can make about the styling is the dumb windshield surround not being body color.

I see it the other way around. The Miata looks too much like a mishmash of other car's parts. The 124 is a "thoughtful" (not slavish) nod back to the original 124 spider.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
6/15/16 10:37 a.m.
mad_machine wrote:
T.J. wrote: The 124 looks a little generic and plain to me where the ND at least looks different. I'll have to see one in person. I like the ND better in person than in photos and that might be the same with the 124. The only real complaint I can make about the styling is the dumb windshield surround not being body color.

I see it the other way around. The Miata looks too much like a mishmash of other car's parts. The 124 is a "thoughtful" (not slavish) nod back to the original 124 spider.

I agree. The Miata is dumpy and disproportionate. The Fiat is well thought out. And I love the fact that as everything gets bigger in it's class, the Fiat is about the same size as the original:

T.J.
T.J. UltimaDork
6/15/16 10:47 a.m.

In reply to Chris_V:

About the only similarity other than the name between those two cars is that they are both red convertibles. I'm not seeing any real ties or nod to the original. The new one looks more like it sprung from an NB and NC Miata with a sprinkling of S2000 thrown in to me. (Yes, I see the tailights are similar, but have been italicized like a a 5 year old Camry and that the headlights are slightly recessed).

Just my opinion on it.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
6/15/16 10:58 a.m.
T.J. wrote: In reply to Chris_V: About the only similarity other than the name between those two cars is that they are both red convertibles. I'm not seeing any real ties or nod to the original. The new one looks more like it sprung from an NB and NC Miata with a sprinkling of S2000 thrown in to me. (Yes, I see the tailights are similar, but have been italicized like a a 5 year old Camry and that the headlights are slightly recessed). Just my opinion on it.

Let's see. The grille, the headlights inset, the dual hood bulges like the '70s and '80s Spiders, the entire side bodyline with it's kickup over the door handle, the silver windshield surround, the taillights (whihc mimic the later spider taillights) etc. Look at the blue one above and the sides of the original spider:

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
6/15/16 12:41 p.m.

it also has slightly the slightly raised rear fenders like the original. (look at how the trunk slopes downwards at the sides, but the fenders raise up and then slope down again.

There are a LOT of nods to the original in the new 124

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
6/15/16 12:44 p.m.
Chris_V wrote:
mad_machine wrote:
T.J. wrote: The 124 looks a little generic and plain to me where the ND at least looks different. I'll have to see one in person. I like the ND better in person than in photos and that might be the same with the 124. The only real complaint I can make about the styling is the dumb windshield surround not being body color.

I see it the other way around. The Miata looks too much like a mishmash of other car's parts. The 124 is a "thoughtful" (not slavish) nod back to the original 124 spider.

I agree. The Miata is dumpy and disproportionate. The Fiat is well thought out. And I love the fact that as everything gets bigger in it's class, the Fiat is about the same size as the original:

the original 124 was a rather large car for the time it was designed. Not American car large. but wider and longer than it's competition, the MGB and Triumphs. I dare say it was even wider than the 911 (original SWB) and definitely bigger than the Karman Ghia

T.J.
T.J. UltimaDork
6/15/16 12:48 p.m.

In reply to Chris_V and mad_machine:

Yes, there are certainly nods. I'm not arguing that there are not. I am just saying, when I see the new car it looks more like an NB/NC/S2K than an original 124 to me. Styling is nothing if not subjective.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago SuperDork
6/15/16 2:39 p.m.

Color me shocked that the new 124 is that close in size to the old 124. I didn't realized the old one was that "big." Always thought they were the same size as MG or something. The new 124's styling makes it look way bigger than the ND when there no scale in the photo.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
6/15/16 3:22 p.m.

here we go:

Fiat Spider (original)
Width: 63.5 inches
Length: 156.25 inches
Height: 49.25 inches

MGB Roadster
Width: 60 inches
Length: 153 inches
Height: 48 inches

Porsche 911 SWB
Width: 63.4 inches
Length: 163.9 inches
Height: 52 inches

Fiat 124 Spider (New)
Width: 68.5 inches
Length: 159.6 inches
Height: 48.5 inches

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
6/15/16 6:35 p.m.

I wonder how the TR4 and TR6 compares. The early 911 was definitely bigger, though.

Still a small car by any real standards, especially modern ones.

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Reader
6/15/16 7:02 p.m.

TR6 Width: 61 inches Length: 155.5 inches Height: 50 inches

A TR6 is a pretty narrow car. I'm surprised the MGB is narrower. Lengthwise it isn't so small, but it has that longish rear overhang. Seeing any of these cars parked with a group of modern "normal" sized cars is amusing. It's also frightening that I drive mostly cars of this size.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
6/15/16 7:30 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: here we go: Fiat Spider (original) Width: 63.5 inches Length: 156.25 inches Height: 49.25 inches MGB Roadster Width: 60 inches Length: 153 inches Height: 48 inches Porsche 911 SWB Width: 63.4 inches Length: 163.9 inches Height: 52 inches Fiat 124 Spider (New) Width: 68.5 inches Length: 159.6 inches Height: 48.5 inches

Decided to have some fun:

NA Miata:

Width: 65.9 inches
Length: 155.5 inches
Height: 48.2 inches

mblommel
mblommel HalfDork
7/16/16 6:31 p.m.

Went to check out the Fiata in the flesh (metal?) today at the local Fiat/Alfa dealer.

Did not like.

For comparison stopped by the Mazda dealer too. The Miata looks SOOOO much better to my eyes.

petegossett
petegossett UltimaDork
7/16/16 8:41 p.m.

In reply to mblommel:

Interesting. Which did you prefer before you saw each in person?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/17/16 8:23 a.m.

Call it a matter of taste. There is no right answer, you either prefer a modern shape or a retro one.

Choice is good.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk UberDork
7/17/16 8:24 a.m.

I've seen both ion the fleash and driven the Mazda for a couple of hours. I like the styling of both (maybe the Fiat a little better), but both have some elements that don't quite look right. Both need larger diameter wheel and tire combos, or a slight lowering. From some angles, typically a low angle, the Fiat looks a little large for its wheelbase. The curvature of the Miata front fenders looks "off" in relation to the wheel and wheel opening to me. Both are rather minor complaints. I'll test drive both before I buy one next year,assuming I hear positive results for the Miata's manual transmission failures. If I had to buy right now I'd probably go with the Fiata.

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