Fiat revives the name of one of its iconic roadsters on a new platform that’s shared with the 2016 Mazda Miata. The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider wears retro-themed bodywork that shares nary a panel with the Miata; instead, it lifts design cues from the original Fiat 124 Spider, which debuted for 1966.
It also differs from the Miata under the hood. In place of the Miata’s 155-horsepower 2.3-liter 4-cylinder, a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo 4-cylinder is 124 Spider’s sole engine. It can be paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Available features include adaptive headlights, a rearview camera, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection.
The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is set to go on sale in summer 2016. The first 124 Spiders produced will be specially trimmed limited-edition “Prima Edizione Lusso” models finished in exclusive Azzuro Italia (blue) paint.
The initial journalist reaction to the revived Fiat 124 Spider’s styling seems predominately negative. Whether or not the new car effectively transposes the original’s classic styling cues onto the Miata’s long-hood/short-deck architecture is certainly a topic for debate. However, if you like its looks, the 124 Spider promises a distinctive driving experience and enough Italian flair to make the whole thing worthwhile. The 1.4 turbo four is lifted from the Fiat 500 Abarth; it has a delightfully snarky character in that pint-sized pit bull, with a wonderfully aggressive exhaust note that should feel even more at home in a two-seat roadster.