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The Fiat 124 Spider - based on the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Fiat 124 Spider - based on the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata

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Deeq

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blogentry-114362-0-29540700-1447900391_thumb.jpgThe 124 Spider is about five inches longer than the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata on which it's based. Up front, it gets a retro-styled design that harks back to the original 124 Spider introduced in 1966 with styling cues such as round LED daytime running lights, a hexagonal upper grille, and a pair of power domes on the hood. The windshield frame is carried over from the Miata without any major modifications, while the back end features rectangular tail lamps whose design is loosely inspired by the units found on the later Fiat- and Pininfarina-badged Spiders.

 

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The cockpit is standard Miata fare; the biggest difference between the two roadsters is a Fiat emblem on the steering wheel. The ragtop can be ordered with a seven-inch touch screen that pops up from the top of the dashboard, heated seats, keyless entry and start, a Bose stereo with nine speakers, and a blind spot monitoring system. Soft-touch materials add an upscale touch to the cabin.

 

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Fiat isn't allowed to use the Miata's naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine so it has fitted the 124 Spider with a turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir engine that's tuned to deliver 160 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 184 lb-ft. of torque at 2,500 rpm. Power is sent to the rear wheels via either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic unit.

 

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Performance specifications haven't been published yet. The 2,436-pound Spider has slightly more horsepower and a lot more torque than the Miata, but it's also about 100 pounds heavier. Buyers who want more grunt will need to wait until Fiat introduces an Abarth-badged model with about 200 ponies at next year's edition of the Geneva Motor Show.

 

Offered in two trim levels called Classica and Lusso, respectively, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider will go on sale next year and it will begin to arrive in showrooms next summer. The first 124 examples will be part of a limited edition called Prima Edizione Lusso that will boast an Azzurro Italia paint job, beige leather upholstery, and a commemorative plaque on the dashboard. Fiat says that Prima Edizione Lusso buyers will also receive collectibles such as wearables and a poster.

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If I were in the market for a fun, tossable car, this would be higher on my list than the Hairdresser's Mazda. But I would wait for the Abarth version.

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