That is partially because the new 124 Spider brings us something we've long been clamoring for in the Miata. Fiat ditched the MX-5's standard-issue 2.0-liter, Skyactiv four-cylinder, and replaced it with the popular 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder from the 500 Abarth. While it's worth getting excited about the new roadster's singing voice, it's the big jump in torque that will truly transform the driving experience. Rather than 148 pound-feet, there's a meaty 184 lb-ft, a figure which is paired with 160 horsepower (five more than the MX-5).
As Managing Editor Ewing explained in his by-the-numbers comparison of the two roadsters, it's this new powertrain that has the most potential to change the dynamite MX-5 driving experience. Of course, we won't know how it handles for certain until we get behind the wheel. Stay tuned for that saga.
As for the looks, we'd argue that they're largely subjective. Among the Autobloggers in attendance at the 2015 LA Auto Show, opinions seem to be split, with some appreciating the Fiata's extensive overhaul while others (notably professed Miata fanatic Ewing) are set firmly against it.
We'd love to hear your take on the new look. Take a peek at our full gallery of images from the car's LA debut, and then register your opinion in Comments.
- 2017 Fiat 124 Spider returns nearly 50 years after original introduction
Revival of roadster continues expansion of FIAT brand in North America
- Delivers iconic Italian style with modern adaptation of original Spider legend
- Powered by turbocharged MultiAir 1.4-liter engine for 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, available with manual or automatic transmission
Available with an array of safety and security features, plus technologies for added comfort and convenience
- First 124 units will be available as limited-production Prima Edizione Lusso
Auburn Hills, Mich., Nov 18, 2015 - The all-new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider revives the storied nameplate, bringing its classic Italian styling and performance to a new generation. Paying homage to the original 124 Spider nearly 50 years after its introduction, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider delivers the ultimate Italian roadster experience with driving excitement, technology and safety combined with iconic Italian design.
"There's no better way to celebrate 50 years of the Fiat 124 Spider than to bring back this iconic roadster, pairing its Italian styling of the past with all of the modern performance and technology of today," said Olivier François, Head of FIAT Brand, FCA – Global. "The 124 Spider expands the FIAT family, bringing to market yet another head-turning, fun-to-drive vehicle for our customers."
Engaging driving dynamics through thoughtful engineering
In North America, the Fiat 124 Spider is available with the proven 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo four-cylinder engine, the engine's first application in a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. The engine delivers 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, and is available with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission.
The 124 Spider's suspension uses a double-wishbone layout in front and a multi-link in the rear, specifically tuned for greater stability while braking and turning. Steering is light and responsive with the use of an electric power assist (dual pinion) system.
The steering and suspension setup, lightweight frame, balanced weight distribution and turbocharged engine combine for a dynamic driving experience. Noise vibration and harshness (NVH) enhancements, including an acoustic front windshield and insulation treatments, also help to deliver a refined, quiet ride.
For an open-air driving experience, the Fiat 124 Spider's soft convertible top is easy to operate and requires minimal force, much like the original Spider's top.
Loaded with safety, security and technology features
The all-new roadster is available with an array of safety and security features, including adaptive front headlamps, Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection and ParkView rear backup camera. A high-strength body helps to dissipate energy while optimizing occupant protection.
The Fiat 124 Spider is also available with technology features for added comfort and convenience, including the FIAT Connect 7.0 system with 7-inch touchscreen display, multimedia control, Bluetooth connectivity, heated seats and Keyless Enter 'n Go.
A Bose premium sound system with nine speakers, including dual headrest speakers, is also available for superior sound quality even with the top down.
Design pays homage to past with modern interpretation of styling cues
The all-new Fiat 124 Spider, designed at Centro Stile in Turin, Italy, borrows cues from the original Spider – widely considered one of Fiat's most beautiful cars of all time – and reinterprets them for today. The 2017 124 Spider has a timeless low-slung presence, with a classically beautiful bodyside, well-balanced proportions and a sporty cabin-to-hood ratio. Features like the hexagonal upper grille and grille pattern, "power domes" on the front hood and sharp horizontal rear lamps call to mind details of the historic Spider.
The interior is crafted and designed to focus on the occupants, with premium soft-touch materials throughout. Ergonomics were applied to emphasize the driving experience and ensure easy operation of the steering wheel, pedals and shifter while driving.
The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is available in two trim levels: Classica and Lusso. Each model is available in six exterior paint colors, including Rosso Passione (Red Clear Coat), Bianco Gelato (White Clear Coat), Nero Cinema (Jet Black Metallic), Grigio Argento (Gray Metallic), Grigio Moda (Dark Gray Metallic) and Bronzo Magnetico (Bronze Metallic). The Lusso ("Luxury") model is also available in tri-coat Bianco Perla (Crystal White Pearl).
Special edition gives enthusiasts the chance to own one of the first 2017 Fiat 124 Spiders
To celebrate the return of the classic nameplate, the first 124 vehicles will be offered as a limited-edition Prima Edizione Lusso, as shown at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. Each will be individually numbered with a commemorative badge and available in exclusive Azzurro Italia (Blue) exterior paint with premium leather seats in Saddle. Owners who purchase a Prima Edizione will also receive limited-edition items, including wearables and a poster. For more information about ordering a Fiat 124 Spider Prima Edizione, interested customers can sign up for updates at http://www.fiatusa.com.
The all-new Fiat 124 Spider will arrive in FIAT studios in North America in summer 2016.