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Geneva – Fiat heats up its 124 roadster

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Fiat’s 124 Spider, the answer and sister to the Mazda MX-5, makes its European debut at the Geneva motor show.

Unveiled at the LA Motor Show in November 2015, the car is displayed on Fiat’s Geneva stand with the original 124 Spider of the late 1960s, while Fiat’s Abarth sub brand debuts a more performance-focused version of the car.

The 124 Spider is built on the same platform as the highly popular Mazda MX-5, but uses a Fiat powerplant, a 1.4-litre Multiair turbo petrol engine producing 138bhp and 177lbft of torque. This results in a 7.5-second 0-62mph time and a 134mph top speed.

The car is expected on UK sale in the Autumn, at a price Fiat is yet to announce but says will start at “under £20,000”. All versions will include air conditioning, a leather steering wheel, cruise control, alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and keyless start.

   

There will also be an Anniversary Edition launch model with 124 examples available to UK buyers, costing £23,295. Its bespoke standard specification will include full LED adaptive headlights, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with multimedia control knob, satellite navigation with 3D mapping, a DAB radio, two USB ports, wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a nine-speaker BOSE audio system, automatic lights and wipers, 17-inch alloy wheels, a premium silver finish on the door mirrors, windscreen frame and roll bars and an ‘Anniversary Edition’ numbered plaque with the 124 Spider badge on the front grille.

1603_Abarth_124The Geneva-debuting Abarth 124 Spider, meanwhile, is a significantly more potent version of the roadster, and is expected on UK sale at the end of the year, prices starting from £29,565.

For the almost £10,000 increase in cost buyers gain a 30bhp power increase along with 7lbft of extra torque, cutting the 0-62mph time to 6.8 seconds and increasing maximum speed to 143mph.

The car’s weight is trimmed to 1060kg, still with a perfect 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution, a mechanical limited-slip differential is fitted as standard, the suspension is retuned and significantly stiffened by means of Bilstein dampers and firmer anti-roll bars, and the brakes enlarged with Brembo calipers, the fronts in aluminium.

A Record Monza exhaust system adds a more sporty engine note, and buyers who choose the six-speed Sequenziale Sportivo auto gearbox with steering-wheel paddle shifts gain a Sport mode.

Bespoke styling displayed on the Geneva show cars includes a matt-black finish to the bonnet and boot lid and red detailing on the exterior and will be offered to Abarth 124 buyers at no extra cost.

Also on display in Geneva is an Abarth 124 rally car, which will be competing in 2017 powered by a 300bhp engine.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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