Stop rubbing your eyes – that isn’t a MX-5, it’s the new Fiat 124 Spider and Abarth. They look very similar, we’ll give you that, and that is because the two roadsters were co-developed but the Fiat is essentially a reskinned Mazda. However, it does capture the essence of the original 124 of 1966 rather nicely.
It features round LED headlights, a simple rear fascia (also with LED taillights) to go with the long bonnet and short deck – classic sportscar proportions. As for the cabin, it gets generous amounts of leather upholstery and contrast stitching. It packs an infotainment system with 3D navigation, a rear view camera, Bluetooth connectivity, HD radio, USB ports, six-speakers and multiple airbags.
Power comes from a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine which makes a healthy 138bhp and 240Nm of torque. However, the 124 Abarth, the hotter version which weighs just 1,060kg (10kg more than the standard car), has the same engine but it develops 170bhp. Both cars can be had with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The Abarth can do the 0-100kph sprint in 6.8 seconds (the tamer variant does it in 7.5 seconds) and it has a top speed of 232kph – and it’ll sound superb too what with a dual-mode Record Monza exhaust system which comes as standard. It can change the soundtrack of the engine with the push of a button. It isn’t just quicker than the normal version – it has a more focused character too. Its suspension has been tweaked and features bigger antiroll bars and a specific setup with Bilstein dampers. The power steering has been retuned too to offer better feedback and stopping power comes from Brembo brakes with beefy four-piston callipers up front. It also offers drivers two driving modes, Normal and Sport – the latter improves the throttle response and sharpens up the gear changes.
Just 2,500 units are scheduled for production with each getting a special numbered plaque in the cabin.