By on April 27, 2015

1970 Fiat 124 Spider Sport

For those who want their 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata to have a more Italian flair, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider will hit showrooms in 2016.

Prior to being unloaded from many a container, the 124 Spider will make its global debut at either Frankfurt or Los Angeles later this year, reports Edmunds.

According to Fiat Brand for North America boss Jason Stoicevich, the roadster would not be a rebadge of the Miata, proclaiming Fiat would put its own style on the model once offered to Alfa Romeo. Parent company FCA later decreed that all Alfas would be designed and engineered in the brand’s native Italy, shuffling the 124 Spider off to Fiat in so doing.

Power is expected to come from Fiat’s 1.4-liter four-cylinder, while pricing and passenger configuration — 2+2 or two-passenger — are among the mysteries left unsolved for now. Both the Spider and the Miata will be assembled at Mazda’s facility in Hiroshima, Japan.

Once stateside, it will be the crown jewel for Fiat’s U.S. lineup — currently consisting of the 500, 500e, 500L and 500X — while competing against the MINI Cooper Roadster, Porsche Boxster, and the aforementioned Miata.

[Photo credit: Rex Gray/Flickr]

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61 Comments on “2017 Fiat 124 Spider Set For 2016 Showroom Arrival...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “…the roadster would not be a rebadge of the Miata, proclaiming Fiat would put its own style on the model once offered to Alfa Romeo.”

    -coughcough-

    BS. A couple different body panels IS a rebadge. Not to mention the car will be better the less Fiat bits it has in it. Fiat people, keep this a rebadge. Do the body panels and some of the interior, then leave it alone!

    Mazda know what they’re doing better than you. After all, when was the last time you made a roadster? And when was the last time you made a roadster which was good?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Toyota promised to put its own sheet metal on the Mazda2, too.

      I would expect Fiat to spend almost as little time as Toyota did ‘rebadging’ it.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I disagree, Corey. Personally, I find the Fiat’s engine with 6-speed automatic a surprisingly lively car–far more so than I expected when I first sat down in a base-model 500 Pop. Its reliability, too, seems to be better than those remembering the old-school models expect. I find the Fiat a surprisingly good car for its size, This is not to say I have anything against Mazda; I just believe it’s time for people to stop using 40-year-old obsolete viewpoints onto a quite throughly modern car.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That’s fair enough. But from what I’ve seen recently with other small two doors that FCA has built (like the 4C), it’s not always fully baked.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I’m not exactly sure what you mean, as the Alfa 4C is apparently a very strong car–a true driver’s car, not a nannified one that coddles the driver. Sure, it may seem rough to most American drivers, but the 4C is much more of what it used to mean when you bought a “sports car”.

          Personally, I’d love to have a 4C, but I don’t expect to ever own one as I don’t have room to store an entire stable of cars (or the cash to buy them).

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          the 4C ‘not fully baked”? you really don’t understand.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            What I meant was build quality. I’m sure it drives fine, if you’re into the ass-on-road feel.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Also on the highway yesterday I saw a coupe Volvo P1800? Or was that called unofficially an Amazon if it was a hard top coupe? It’s the only one like it I’ve ever seen. It was probably coming from the car show in my part of town which had ended shortly before I got back into town, apparently.

    I also saw someone in like a KTX Crossbow 3-wheel thing!

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The KTM Crossbow thing may have been a T-Rex.

      The Volvo would have been called a P1800 or P1800S, depending on whether the body was built in England by Jensen or Sweden by Volvo. The Amazon was the name of the sedans that are usually called 122s.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Thanks, the Volvo looked just like this. Same grille and color too.
        http://mint2me.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/67-Volvo-P1800S.jpg

        I would imagine the Swedish ones more desirable today, because Jensen build quality? Lol.

        The thing I saw didn’t have a roof or doors, and it looked more aggressive than the T-rex but less so than the Aero 3.

        Edit: I think it was this.

        http://syd-trade.com/pic/20117713243641314.jpg
        T-Rex 14R. Definitely an eye catcher.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          It is generally agreed that the Swedish ones are better in terms of rust resistance and seating quality, but the Jensens command higher prices. It may be because of scarcity.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The detailing is nicer on the Jensen-built cars. Nicer interior, nicer trim. The Volvo built cars ARE more rust resistant, but either way they rust like crazy.

      • 0 avatar
        Bunter1

        Polaris now has a similar 3-wheeler with styling a bit like the KTM.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You’re thinking of the Alpine I believe, Corey. I saw one myself just yesterday.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Can you show me a pic of what you mean?

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I’m going to correct myself as the Alpine was a Sunbeam and had some roughly similar lines–particularly the bit of fin at the tail lights, slanted slightly outboard. The Volvo 1800 and 1800S came in Roadster, Coupe and even a Wagon version (the ES) on which I remember seeing an Alpine name on one a long, long time ago. Today I can’t find any reference so I may then have been looking at a Sunbeam and using its similarity visualizing the Volvo instead.

          http://bringatrailer.com/wp-content/plugins/PostviaEmail/images/1967_Volvo_P1800S_For_Sale_Rear_resize.jpg

          I’m personally a fan of the Volvo, and that is what I saw yesterday in a pale cream color.

          Here’s a photo of the 1800ES:
          http://www.viaretro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/volvo-p1800-1800-es-005.jpg

  • avatar
    ajla

    I thought Dodge was supposed to be the FCA performance brand?

    Or did that get changed yet again?

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Finally, the Copperhead can become a reality.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      A Fiat 124 is not a “performance” car, it’s a true roadster, intended for open-air cruising and simply enjoying the act of driving down country roads (county and state highways as compared to the interstate). Ye GADS but I’d do my best to get my wife to trade her 500 for one. Or better yet, give HER the Renegade and take the 124 for myself!

      • 0 avatar
        GeneralMalaise

        the 124 Spider is a car beloved by most who’ve owned one. Miatas are great cars, I bought a’92 Special Edition (or LE, anyways the one with the Nardi bits) for my son back in 2000 and he still owns and drives it on weekends. However, I have an ’81 Fiat X1/9 that I prefer over that Miata, as good a car as it is. The X is just more fun to drive.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    That should be enough time for them to change the wiring harness to all black wires like old Ducatis lol.

    Hopefully they shoehorn in the 1.4T from the Abarth 500.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      I’d assume the 1.4T would be the only engine in the US version.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Bumpy, you don’t need the 1.4T. If the car is light enough ( <3000# ) then the base 1.4 multiair is surprising power, especially with a 6-speed stick or automatic driving the wheels.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          True, but too many people complain about 150hp being underpowered in a car this size, so there’s no way 100hp even will sell.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Doesn’t that really depend on the gear ratio? The Fiat 500 Pop is a 2700# car with only 101 horses under the hood, yet it’s a VERY quick car (note I didn’t say “fast”, though it gets up to 80 and above a lot sooner than you might expect). At 500 pounds heavier, the new Miata/Fiat 124 shouldn’t be all that weak unless you just put the wrong gearing in the transmission/final drive. Especially with 50 more horses to push it. Mazda apparently did. We’ll have to see what Fiat specifies, considering their likely engine choices.

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          160 HP/170 Lb./ft will be more than adequate to motivate the Spider. My Abarth is a blast to drive and I would expect no less from the 124 Spider.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I got all excited thinking for a half-second that the picture WAS the 2017 Fiat 124.

    Is the 1.4 turbo or NA? The turbo could be fun. A 1.4 NA would give naysayers of the Miata’s low hp a diversion to shoot at for awhile.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Let’s hope it has far more than 155 limp-wristed horsepower.

    Bonus points if it sounds like the 500 Abarth.

    • 0 avatar
      Charliej

      What is a “limp wristed” horsepower? You sound like one of those people who need something to make up for your “personal inadequacies”. More power will not change you into superman, you will still be yourself. Inadequate as ever.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Get mad. Slow car is slow. 155hp in 2015 in a new sports car is absurd.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          First you have to prove the car is slow, Chris. Right now, even a base model Fiat 500 with automatic runs away from full-sized pickup trucks with huge engines for well over 100 yards (at least a football field’s length) when they’re not expecting it to be so quick. I let up at 55mph, which is just about when they catch me.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    When is FCA going to realize they cannot fill all engine requirements with the 1.4 and develop more engines?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      They have more engines. But the 1.4 is not nearly as bad as you think. With a 3000# body and a 6-speed transmission, it’s remarkably lively. Put the 1.4T in a slightly heavier car and its still reasonably strong–though admittedly a little weak on torque. Put the 1.4 Turbo Abarth engine and it’s going to be the equivalent of a “Rice Rocket”.

      But if you want a simple yet strong 4 cyl engine, take a look at the 2.4 Tigershark. Same horses as the Abarth without the turbo snapping your neck when it finally hits.

  • avatar

    I had a Fiat 124 back around 1970. But it was the couple not the ragtop. Sweet little car for its day

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Have unique engines been confirmed? Press releases and production spec are two different things and I wouldn’t be shocked if FCA wasnt also rebadging the SkyActive motor under the hood.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    And after 200,000 miles my Miata got plenty of “Itallian Flair”. It routinely failed to start and leaked just like any of the string of Uno/Punto/Lancia that looked like a boat vehicles I had around the turn of the century.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      No vehicle with proper “Italian flair” (aka “soul” or “character”) has ever made it to 200k miles without a very persistent owner, living in an ideal climate, with enough cash to be a Medici-style patron to his mechanic and parts suppliers.

      • 0 avatar
        GeneralMalaise

        Meh… 200K and change on my ’81 X1/9 now… I’m attentive, live in California and don’t have to spend that much. Mazdas and Hondas of that era had a propensity to rust, don’t kid yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          OK, 200k between St. Louis and Upstate NY. The only rust I got was the common spot at the rear of the rocker panel. It was driven year round, even in Watertown NY. Not exactly a friendly environment to vehicles.

  • avatar
    bd2

    While I can appreciate the return of the Spider (even if it basically ends up as a rebadge), not sure how Fiat is going to thrive in the US offering niche after niche model.

    And trying to establish AR as a competitor to the Germans is going to be a tough, tough road.

    Marchionne really has to thank the gods for letting Chrysler (and more specifically Jeep) fall into his lap.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You might be surprised, bd2. The Fiat 500 itself is a surprising little car and the 124 will probably be pretty good too. However, like Mini for BMW, the Fiat brand itself won’t be their mainstream brand except maybe in densely urban areas. Chrysler, Dodge and especially Jeep and Ram are doing very well in supporting the Fiat brand both here in the States and apparently also in Europe. The Jeep Cherokee has proven surprisingly popular, despite riding on essentially a Fiat platform and the Jeep Renegade already looks headed the same way. Meanwhile, Jeeps other models don’t seem to be hurting either.

      So who cares now if Fiat isn’t a runaway success? They get exposure and they are proving to be a more capable and more reliable car than their 40-year-old predecessors so far. And for a single or childless couple, they’re almost perfect with its low price and 30mpg in-town fuel mileage while still offering peppy performance.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I am quite sure I would never buy a Fiat. I am a Miata lover and would see zero reason to buy the Fiat over the Miata.

    With 1 exception… If they do nothing but put the Abarth motor and that exhaust on the car, I will head to whatever Fiat dealer is in my area and put that in the garage instead.

    I am continually blown away by how unbelievably good that 500 Abarth sounds. That’s how I want my Miata to sound. Just incredible, especially for a puny 4 cyl.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Jerome, please don’t make assumptions about Fiat. The modern Fiat is not like the antiques remaining after Fiat left 40 years ago. In a lightweight car, that “puny 4 cyl” has a LOT of life. I know because I own one with the MultiAir (non-turbo) 4 and it amazes people around me with how quick it is.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      I’ll have owned my Abarth for 3 years as of May 13th and I’ll never tire of that sound. It’s a ridiculously fun little car to drive me a pleasure to own. I expect this new Spider will add some personality and fun to an already great platform.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        I recall reading the Chrysler SRT engineers that tuned the Abarth for the US market, generally making it better than the original, specd the exhaust, clearly inspired by the muffler-less SRT-4. I never tired of that exhaust sound and scared the crap out of pedestrians in parking garages lol.

  • avatar
    Chan

    The modern 500 seems to be holding up quite well in reliability. The interiors aren’t great, but they sure have some cute quirks and ergonomic niggles that would not pass in, say, a Corolla.

    The Abarth is probably the best fun-per-dollar bargain available in the States, partly due to the steep discounts available at US dealers. No tiny little city car has the right to sound that naughty, and the fact that it’s Italian (at least in concept) somehow makes it all acceptable!

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    While I think the NA 1.4 would be adequate for Europe, I don’t see it flying in the US. The standard 500 is adequate, but no more. A 2 seat sports car will have to turn in more than adequate performance, so I would imagine the 1.4 Abarth spec motor will be the engine of choice. It will at least allow the Fiat to match the Miata’s performance. As others have said, I just hope it sounds as good as my Abarth. That is a proper sports car noise. Would be awesome if it offers the same great warranties that the rest of the Fiat line up offers. Can’t be a lifetime unlimited mileage bumper to bumper one.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      It seems many have forgotten the whole reasoning behind a roadster; it’s not intended for speed, but rather for simply enjoying the act of driving through the countryside. Small, open and honestly slower than many bigger cars when they came out; their whole purpose was a means to escape stress.

      Owning a Fiat 500 now, with the 1.4NA under the hood, I’ve found its performance more than adequate for the size and weight of the car (just under 3,000#). I don’t deny the 1.4T would offer more acceleration, but it would also have a habit of kicking in that acceleration when you least want it–just after the apex of the curve where it would kick out the tail unexpectedly, at least, until you get used to that turbo lag. I would expect the 2.4 MultiAir to be the optional larger engine but I’d also bet the gearing would be raised a bit while shortening the ratios to help keep the car from getting too squirrelly.

      Look at it this way: It wasn’t all that long ago that Ford attempted to resurrect the original Thunderbird by planting it on a Miata platform. It looked nice and had some of the throwback features, but it fell far short of what people expected it to be. Now, Fiat’s bringing back one of its own classics that simply does not have the cachet the Thunderbird name carried, nor the level of performance even that original Thunderbird offered. It was never fast in the sense of muscle cars, but it was quick and agile, making it a dream for the old two-lane highways that would be killers for those overpowered pieces of iron (don’t argue, the proof is quite evident).

      International road rallies simply don’t use big iron for their races; they use tiny cars with tiny engines–admittedly built for much higher performance and speeds, but lightweight so they remain agile. You simply don’t need massive horsepower in a car barely pushing 1.5 tons.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @ Vulpine – I don’t disagree with your point in principle. I think that in Europe the 1.4 NA will be a fine motor for the car. My parents have a 500C 6AT that I’ve spent plenty of time driving, and I’ve had 500s for rentals so I know what it is capable of. The reality is that “slow” has a different meaning today and in the North American market. I think Fiat will have a difficult time selling what I have to imagine will be a $25k (certainly more than $20k) sports car that is less powerful and slower than a Honda Fit or a Toyota Corolla, much less its still sexy, more powerful, and better known cousin down the street at the Mazda dealer. There’s a reason Mazda doesn’t bring over the smaller displacement Miata, only the larger 2.0. With the Miata recognized as the entry level sports car, I think its power has become the defacto benchmark starting point in the market.

        I think the 2.4 is unnecessary. Its too heavy and a large displacement 4 cylinder doesn’t suit the character of this car. I would think a detuned Alfa 4C engine would be more likely as the upgrade power plant.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @tjh: With this argument, “…My parents have a 500C 6AT that I’ve spent plenty of time driving, and I’ve had 500s for rentals so I know what it is capable of,” I really have to ask: What grade of gasoline have you been putting in those cars? I can’t believe you consider them “slow” next to a Fit and a Corolla; those two models have to work hard to keep up with me in my 500 Pop. By no means is the 500 slow if you use the recommended fuel octane!

          That said, I will admit that the new model Miata will be about 500 pounds heavier than the Fiat 500, so I will imagine the new Fiat 124 will be similarly heavy. This doesn’t mean the turbo is necessary though, only that something like 150 horses may be more lively than a mere 100–though again the gearing can make a difference. The reason I suggest the Tigershark is that it’s a readily available engine in the Jeep Renegade and other FCA models, pushing roughly 185 horses. This would make the engine a very lively one for the bigger and heavier 124 without having to rely on turbocharging for sharp acceleration and probably still achieve respectable fuel mileage.

          Oh, and while I will agree that the 1.4 MultiAir may be slow compared to your Abarth, it is by no means slow compared to a lot of cars of similar size and larger. Again, putting the right grade of gasoline in will make a difference.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @Vulpine – I’m going based on published numbers.

            0-60:
            2012 Fiat 500 Sport 5mt: 9.7-9.9 seconds
            2012 Fiat 500C 6AT: 11.5 seconds
            2015 Honda Fit EX 6MT: 7.7 seconds
            2014 Toyota Corolla S CVT: 9.5 seconds
            I can’t find an instrumented test for a manual Corolla but the estimates published both put it slightly quicker than the CVT.

            As you can see, all match, if not beat the Fiat’s performance. Putting 93 instead of 87 isn’t going to make up the 2 second difference to a Honda Fit.

            Your numbers are also off as far as curb weight. the US spec 2016 Miata is listed at a 2300 lb curb weight, which is about 100-200 lbs less than a 500 coupe.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @tjh: According to the owner’s manual of the 500 I own, the curb weight is 2700 pounds while the 2016 Miata, as I saw on their website is 3200 pounds. I’m not sure where the 2300 curb weight comes from that you found. On reviewing the page now, I have to agree that the weight is significantly lighter now–apparently due to a misprint, so to speak when I first checked.

            That said, if the Miata/Fiat 124 is that much lighter, it certainly doesn’t need more than the base 1.4MultiAir to give it peppy performance.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Sounds like you’re looking at the GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, which is the maximum safe weight for the vehicle including passengers and cargo.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You’re right, Bumpy, there is a difference between GWVR and curb weight. What I said is what the book says. Of course, I could go back out and look on the door jamb if you wish. (maybe tomorrow. I’m in for the day, now.)

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @Vulpine – perhaps we are arguing against each other here. My argument is not that a NA 1.4 powered 124 would be “slow” in any absolute terms. I don’t dispute that it would in fact be peppy and adequately powered. As I said several times, I would not at all be surprised to see it sold in Europe, where Mazda also sells the 1.5L 129 hp Miata. However, whereas peppy and adequate is fine for a $15k subcompact, it is not for a $25k sports car. I see no reason to think that Fiat will reach a different conclusion than Mazda, which is that the car better be able to comfortably outrun Honda Fits and Ford Fiestas, something that the numbers say it will struggle to do with the same hp and similar curb weight as a 500.

            I’ll refer you to Jack Baruth’s article a week or two ago about dealership inventory limitations. While I’m sure a limited number of people would buy it, I doubt most Fiat Studios will want to devote precious space to a niche version of a niche model. The Studio I bought my Abarth from has very limited parking, and I don’t see them stocking more than 1 or 2 124s at a time. I can’t imagine them devoting that space to a base model non turbo 1.4 when a 1.4t model will inevitably sell much quicker and at a higher transaction price.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            We will see, my friend. Too many here are insisting it needs massive power, but I think that goes against what the car was in its heyday. There will always be those who consider speed as king, but for me, an open car means a relaxing ride.

            A roadster is to people on four wheels what a Harley or Gold Wing is to bikers; a comfortable open cruiser for enjoying the ride.

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