ACURA Sport Car | Fiat 124 Spider Abarth 2017

Where receive got you lot gone, Aurelio Lampredi?
Go ahead, write off the new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider two-seat roadster every bit a Mazda Miata wearing Italian rally drag. After all, this revivified 124 Spider is made inwards Japan, past times Mazda, amongst the MX-5 Miata, in addition to it shares with it most every structural in addition to full general mechanical design. That this Abarth version has a limited-slip differential in addition to 4 to a greater extent than horsepower than a regular 124 Spider squeezes out of its Fiat-made, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder doesn’t alter the fact that there’s a lot of Miata marrow here.
But in addition to then there’s the Aurelio Lampredi factor. It’s Lampredi’s 22-year-long legend every bit primary engineer at Fiat that the 2017 124 Spider Abarth must debate with. Lampredi, who drew upwards Ferrari racing engines inwards the early on 1950s in addition to joined Fiat inwards 1955, designed the Fiat Twincam four-cylinder engine that powered all the master copy 124 Sport Spiders from the start 1967 model until the terminal i left production inwards 1985 every bit the Pininfarina Spider. And Lampredi was running the Abarth racing partition when it campaigned the master copy 124 Spider Abarth Rally inwards contest betwixt 1972 in addition to 1975.

Lampredi’s spirit inhabited the master copy 124 Spider, from the means that Twincam engine revved to how the five-speed transmission shifted—and that the four-wheel disc brakes almost nearly e'er stopped the car. It had a distinct graphic symbol that could practically live seen inwards how the Veglia justice needles danced, in addition to the raw xc horsepower (in ’67) snort of its exhaust. And the Abarth version was expert plenty to win the 1975 European Rally Championship.

Italian-Adjacent Tailoring

The novel 124 Spider Abarth’s appearance has a swagger to it that’s missing from lesser 124 Spiders. Most of that machismo stems from its to a greater extent than open, darker-colored lower grille opening in addition to the “gunmetal” complete on the side mirrors in addition to ringlet bar. The exam machine featured the optional ($1995), hand-painted (!) matte dark hood in addition to trunklid to give it to a greater extent than of a contest vibe, though it does inspire questions close how to wax the car.
A large neglect are the ridiculously large, cheap-looking “Abarth” scorpion badges on the olfactory organ in addition to trunklid. They’ve got all the subtlety of plastic WWE entitle belts from the create practise bin at Toys ’R’ Us. It’s a pattern misstep that borders on inexplicable.
With better-padded door panels in addition to to a greater extent than shiny bits on the dash (such every bit the vent rings), the 124 Spider Abarth’s interior looks a chip nicer than the Mazda’s cockpit. Beyond that, the Abarth was equipped with $1195 worth of Recaro seats covered inwards a fake sort-of suede that Mazda doesn’t offer. For the narrow of butt, these Recaros are fantastic. For those with wider tails, however, well, at to the lowest degree the measure topographic point upholstery has horizontal ribs inwards the traditional Italian style.

Starting at $29,190 including a $995 destination charge, the tested 124 Spider Abarth had every choice except an automatic transmission ladled onto it. That brought the total cost to $37,870.

Fiat’s onetime Twincam 4 was a rev-happy petty matter that made a wonderful audio in addition to produced practically no torque. It bore to a greater extent than resemblance to the master copy Miata’s 1.6-liter engine than it does to Fiat’s novel MultiAir turbocharged four, which revs alone reluctantly, makes practically no audio at all, but produces gobs of torque from off-idle to the 6500-rpm redline. The original’s European 1.4-liter Twincam made xc horsepower spell the novel 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo engine is rated at 164 horsepower.
Actually, in that location is a squeamish resonant dissonance coming out of the 4 exhaust outlets. But it’s soundless impossible to drive whatever machine spell standing behind it, thence this chip of aural theatre is lost on the driver.

Mangia Torque

Because the Abarth’s turbo engine rates at 184 lb-ft of peak torque compared with the Miata’s naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four’s measly 148 lb-ft, the 124 Spider uses the six-speed manual transmission from the previous-generation Miata to grip the load. It’s soundless expert inwards the Fiat—short, quick throws, precise gating, in addition to the subtle experience of gears meshing that rises upwards through the kicking exactly about the awkwardly blocky knob. But the electrical flow Miata gearbox feels amend still.
It takes a slight minute for the turbo to spool up, in addition to and then it tips inwards rather than hitting hard. There may live 4 to a greater extent than horsepower inwards the Abarth than the regular 124s, but that quartet of ponies, production of the “sport-tuned exhaust,” can’t genuinely live felt.
By historic small-roadster standards, the 124 Spider Abarth’s swift 6.7-second zero-to-60-mph fourth dimension in addition to 15.1-second tarantella through the quarter-mile at 91 mph is admirable. Back inwards 1979, C/D included a Fiat Spider 2000 in a six-way sports-car blowout comparing test. By then, the Lampredi Twincam engine had grown to 2.0 liters inwards displacement in addition to shrunk to eighty emissions-strangled horses. That machine took an agonizing 11.2 seconds to attain sixty mph in addition to oozed through the quarter-mile inwards 18.4 seconds at an awful 76 mph. The Fiat finished that exam ranked 6th out of six.

Today’s stronger Fiat would’ve run a unopen 2nd to the ’79 Corvette inwards acceleration, but it couldn’t fit the electrical flow Miata’s performance. In C/D’s first exam of the 2016 MX-5 Miata, it sped to sixty mph inwards 5.9 seconds in addition to ran the quarter-mile inwards 14.6 seconds at 95 mph—0.8 in addition to 0.5 seconds quicker, traveling 4 mph faster than the Fiat at the destination of a drag strip. The most frustrating matter close the Fiat MultiAir engine is how unforgiving it tin live when hustled. Screw upwards a shift or bog downwards inwards the incorrect gear, in addition to the engine loses its turbo border in addition to goes limp. Our top-gear 30-to-50-mph exam establish the engine inwards a hole–it took many long seconds to a greater extent than than the Miata did to consummate that task, later on which it was fully on-boost in addition to handily outran the Mazda from 50 to seventy mph. In reality, both cars would demand a downshift to zip exactly about fifty-fifty the slowest traffic, but this nobody-home sensation is an aggravation that the Miata engine amend resists. Atop that, the Mazda makes a to a greater extent than engaging, in addition to louder, sound. This adds a petty to a greater extent than fun when you’re flinging it, although it tin live tiring on extended cruises.

Fiat tunes the 124 Spider Abarth’s chassis with a behavior upon of entertaining oversteer. With the driver sitting alone barely forwards of the nurture axle, it’s a sugariness sensation that makes diving into corners that much to a greater extent than delicious. In contrast, the Miata is a chip to a greater extent than neutral in addition to seems to stick to a greater extent than tenaciously, fifty-fifty every bit its body leans over more.
Most Miatas in addition to 124 Spiders ride on 17-inch wheels with a fairly narrow 205/45R-17 Bridgestone Potenza S001 summertime tire at all 4 corners, thence the differences inwards experience are attributable to the tuning of the dampers, springs, in addition to anti-roll bars. But the Abarth uses the Potenza RE050A of identical size, a tire Fiat says it chose for amend travelling pocket in addition to to complement the interruption tuning. The 124 Spider Abarth circled the skidpad at 0.87 g spell the Mazda stuck all the means to 0.90 g, which leads us to believe the S001 is genuinely the grippier tire. Put it all together, in addition to the Mazda has an eager, antsy, on-its-toes readiness, spell the Fiat is to a greater extent than settled but laid to romp.
Both cars tin live had with sugariness Brembo forepart disc brakes – Fiat charges $1495 for them (Mazda includes the brake upgrade inwards a $3400 packet that also brings bulletin board system wheels, a proximity key, in addition to assorted body add-ons on the Club cut back level). The Fiat’s 171-foot stops from seventy mph experience great, fifty-fifty every bit it took xiii feet longer than the Mazda, but it’s the fade-free functioning spell barreling downwards mount roads that’s most reassuring. Option coin good spent, we’d say.
By now, where a machine is assembled is almost beside the point. That this is a Fiat made past times Mazda inwards Nihon doesn’t hateful it can’t send forwards both the master copy 124 Sport Spider’s styling in addition to its spirit. Italia isn’t missing from this Abarth, but Aurelio Lampredi is. The electrical flow MultiAir engine exactly doesn’t receive got the dramatic, mechanical flair that Lampredi built into his Fiats.
Our ideal 21st-century 124 Spider Abarth would receive got a naturally aspirated 4 that spun upwards aggressively in addition to sang out with a vibrant growl. You know, something similar the 2.0-liter 4 inwards the Miata, but with lighter rotating in addition to reciprocating internals. Somewhere within Fiat—er, FCA—there must live an engineer laid to follow Lampredi’s event in addition to construct that. So larn to it.

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