RAC Cars News


Fiat 124 Spider emerges

By raccars Published

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The Fiat 124 Spider has been announced, with the Italian manufacturer reviving its classic for 2016.

The Fiat 124 Spider enjoyed its first public outing at this month’s Los Angeles Auto Show over in the USA. And in spite of the fact that it was competing against supercars and futuristic concepts, it may have managed to grab more headlines than any other vehicle. Based upon the same platform as the new MX-5 from Mazda, the 124 Spider is an attainable and exciting roadster that could end up winning a lot of hearts in the UK when it goes on sale here next year.

While it may be identical to the MX-5 in a number of technical areas, the exterior is unmistakably inspired by Fiat’s vintage sports coupe with which it shares its name. From the long bonnet to the low driving position and the grinning grille, it is definitely an aesthetically appealing newcomer that manages to look modern and classic at the same time. And the potential performance figures are likely to put a smile on the faces of many affordable roadster fans.

Outstanding power

What will make the new Fiat 124 Spider stand out from the MX-5 is the fact that it will use one of the Italian firm’s own engines under the bonnet, rather than opting for a Mazda alternative. And the unit in question is a 1.4 litre petrol engine that AutoTrader reports will deliver 138bhp; more than enough to make this light weight roadster a fun, fast vehicle to take out on country roads with the top down.

Observers have estimated that the 124 Spider will be able to hit 60 miles an hour in eight seconds or less. It turbocharged engine should enable it to slightly outpace the base model MX-5 although it will not quite match the range-topping version of its Mazda counterpart which was announced earlier this month. And in the future it seems likely that Fiat will produce its own ‘hot’ variant, although the time frame for its arrival is still uncertain.

Two trim levels

Fiat is expected to introduce two main versions of the 124 Spider, both of which will share the same power train, with the only differences being in the interior. The basic version will come with a solid if unspectacular infotainment centre, allowing connectivity to peripherals and mobile devices via Bluetooth or via a wired auxiliary input. Meanwhile the higher end trim will add an infotainment system with its own touch screen display for navigation as well as digital radio functionality and satellite navigation. A camera to help with reversing will be available on the higher spec models, although individual elements will presumably be available as optional extras.

The Fiat 124 Spider is scheduled to go on sale in the autumn of 2016. And since it is based upon the same platform as the new MX-5, experts are estimating that it will also cost roughly the same in the UK, meaning a £20,000 price tag for the base model is not out of the question. This will make it more affordable than the majority of roadsters on the market, including the Mercedes-Benz SLK, the BMW Z4 and the Porsche Boxster. Arguably, however, it is not setting out to compete with these premium powerhouses and will instead settle into its own niche in the market.

Fiat has found success in the past not only with the Spider range, but with more recent roadsters such as the Barchetta. And there is little doubt that the 124 Spider will continue this heritage.

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