It’s been five years since the Fiat 500 landed on North American shores and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is finally getting around to providing it with a stablemate whose name begins with something other than 500. But wait, there’s more …
FCA has announced that the 124 Spider will be offered in a sportier Abarth version — the spiritual successor to the roadster that claimed Fiat’s first European Rally Championship in 1972 — when it joins the lineup in summer 2016.
Debuting at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth comes with a sport suspension, limited slip differential, Sport Mode selector and sport-tuned, chrome quad-tip exhaust, and it can be optioned up with Brembo brakes and Recaro seats.
Distinguishing design cues include unique front and rear fascias, gun metal exterior accents and 17-inch aluminum wheels also in gun metal grey. It comes in five exterior colours — Bianco Gelato (White Clear Coat), Rosso Passione (Red Clear Coat), Nero Cinema (Jet Black Metallic), Grigio Argento (Grey Metallic) and tri-coat Bianco Perla (Crystal White Pearl).
The black interior features leather/microfiber seats (upgradable to straight leather or leather/Alcantara, in the Recaro), and leather wrapped wheel, instrument panel trim and emergency brake and shifter handles. All stitching is red. The instrument panel and gauge cluster is matte black. Pedals are bright aluminum.
“Our new Fiat 124 Spider is an iconic roadster that combines classic Italian styling with modern performance and technology,” said Olivier Francois, Head of FIAT Brand, FCA – Global. “The addition of our new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth further enhances the driving experience and offers yet another head-turning, fun-to-drive vehicle to our customers.”
Power for the newest Abarth comes from the MultiAir 1.4-litre turbocharged 4-cyllinder engine that makes best-in-class 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, and delivers that power to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
A driver selected Sport Mode (an Abarth exclusive) changes the engine and transmission mapping, as well as the steering and stability control calibrations, all meant to deliver a sportier, more responsive driving experience. A mechanical limited slip differential (biased for low end torque) improves launch and power delivery in corners.