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2017 FIAT 124 Spider: LA Auto Show

What Is It?

The FIAT lineup is growing — and the 2017 FIAT 124 Spider is its latest addition. Essentially a 2-seat soft-top roadster like many FIAT models of years past, the 124 Spider borrows its underpinnings from an unusual place — the latest Mazda MX-5 Miata — but offers a twist of its own.

On the outside, you can see a little Miata in the 124 Spider, but not much. While the 124 Spider shares the Miata’s approximate dimensions, it offers a completely new look of its own, with new wheels, headlights and taillights, and front and rear fenders. Only in the doors does the 124 Spider seem to really mimic the Miata.

It’s a different story on the inside, where the Miata’s entire interior is essentially carried over, save for a FIAT badge on the steering wheel. That even includes the infotainment system, as the 124 Spider will keep Mazda’s unit instead of adding FIAT’s own proprietary Uconnect touchscreen technology.

Under the hood, however, the 124 Spider is all FIAT. While the Miata uses a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 167 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque, the 124 Spider utilizes the 500 Abarth’s 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that touts 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. While the jury’s still out on whether the Miata or the 124 Spider will be faster, we admit the FIAT’s gruff exhaust note seems a bit more compelling.

How Much?

Pricing has not yet been released — but we wouldn’t expect it to stray too far from the Miata’s MSRP of around $25,800 with shipping.

When Can You Get It?

Summer 2016

Add It to Your Shopping List Because…

The world needs more 2-seat, rear-wheel-drive roadsters. Sure, we love the Miata, but now there’s another option — and we’re not exactly going to complain about it. Instead, we’re excited to see how the FIAT 124 Spider stacks up against the iconic Miata — especially given the powertrain differences between both models. We’re also excited to see how the 124 Spider looks in person, as early pictures have us convinced the Miata offers a slightly more flattering design.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 FIAT 500 Abarth — If you love the 124 Spider’s exhaust note but don’t want a 2-seat roadster, you might want to consider the 500 Abarth. It touts four seats, a hatchback bodystyle and park-anywhere dimensions.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata — Not surprisingly, drivers interested in the 124 Spider should also consider the Miata, on which it’s based. We’re not sure how these two will stack up just yet, but we’re eager to find out.

2016 Subaru BRZ — Although you can’t get the BRZ with a removable roof, we love the sporty Subaru’s rear-wheel drive, its perfectly balanced chassis and its (admittedly tight) rear seats.

Used BMW Z4 — If you’re interested in a European roadster, you might want to consider the sporty — and luxurious — BMW Z4. Offering a little more pizzazz than the 124 Spider and more power, the Z4 is still a head-turner. Prices are high, though, so you might want to consider a used model.

See all 2015 LA Auto Show articles

Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top... Read More

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