The reviews are starting to trickle in about the MX-5's half Italian brother, the 124. Lets get the name calling out of the way, we will start with the most common one, the Fiata. Fiata, Fiata Is Always The Answer. A sushi roll wrapped in pasta. There will be a bunch coming but what the new 124 Spyder is, is what could be the first worthy alternative to our beloved Miata.
Fiat is bringing the 124 into the United States in three trim levels, the Classica $24,995 before destination charges, the Lusso model at $27,495, with optional gorgeous saddle-colored leather seats and everything’s all very nice and the slightly higher performance Abarth, at a base price of $28,195. All three come standard with a 6 speed, like the Miata and have an optional automatic. Packages differ from what we have offered in the MX5 but there are some options that we cannot have at any price like a saddle interior in the Lusso and the Alcantera Sport seats offered at an option in the Aberth.
Drivetrains are also where the Hiroshima produced 124 also differ. Where Mazda offers a 2.0L 155hp motor on the MX-5, the Fiat uses there own 1.4L Turbo with 160hp (164hp in the Aberth) motor from the 500 in the 124. Torque is also different with the MX5 offering a modest 148lb/ft, the Fiat offers 184lb/ft. Back to back performance tests have yet to be done but I think even with the Fiat's slight higher weight of 104lb, it is going to come out slightly ahead.
Styling is where Fiat went back to it's roots, there is no question that the original Pinanfarina designed 124 was the inspiration. The 124's exposed headlights, the upright grill, chrome windshield frame and traditional boot design all have received a modern look in the new 124. Interior is mostly carry over from the MX-5, that is seen in the dash but the seats and door panels are indeed different. Fiat has also added more sound isolation under the carpet and in the roof for a slightly quieter experience.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do you want traditional Italian or more modern Japanese? Neither is wrong and IMHO, both have accomplished in styling what they were looking to acheive. Color palettes are also different in both the interior and exterior. With a name like Pugliese, as much as I like the MX-5, I will have to go with my Italian heritage, make mine a Lusso in Bianco Perla with a Saddle interior.
You can play with the configulator on Fiat's site HERE.
Check out reviews of the 124 Spyder at these publications:
Car & Driver
Road & Track