By on November 18, 2015


Finally, a Fiat in North America that isn’t a 500.

The all-new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is what happens when you give a spectacular chassis to the Italians and let them fit it with a torque-happy turbocharged engine.

The new roadster, which is based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata, was revealed today at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. It will be powered by what we all suspected — a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with 160 horsepower and 184 lbs-ft of torque. A pair of six-speed transmissions, one manual and the other automatic, will send that turbo power to the rear wheels.

Everything about the car, from its infotainment system (Fiat calls it FIAT Connect but it’s most definitely MazdaConnect) to the way it lowers and raises its top (you only need one hand!), is straight from the MX-5. The only difference is this roadster might be a fair bit quicker than the Miata on which it’s based.

The Prima Edizione Lusso will be available at launch with a unique Azzurro Italia (Blue) exterior paint, as seen at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Only 124 special edition models will be sold.

The Fiat 124 Spider will arrive at dealerships in the summer.

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69 Comments on “LA 2015: 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Is How You Say Miata in Italian...”

  • avatar

    Looks like the NA Miata, kind of 90’s.

  • avatar

    At long last, Ford has finally revived the Thunderbird and given ot the face of thier latest Fusio….

    Wait, this is a Fiata?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I thought badge engineering was almost gone.

    Why would Fiat do this, or Mazda for that matter? I understand trying to pay down the tooling by selling across brands, but this won’t fool anybody.

    • 0 avatar

      Easy. Money.

      Mazda is also sharing models with Scion. The company is small, and has to spend as much money as everybody else developing products. The resulting products are damn good, but their reach is limited. Doing stuff like this means that their development dollars go further in the form of more cars sold (even if they aren’t all tied to Mazda’s brand).

      The goal is not to fool. Mazda doesn’t win by hiding its DNA. Frankly, it’s a selling point for both Scion (who seems to struggle making good subcompact cars) and Fiat (who struggles to make good cars, period).

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The US will be one of the few markets worldwide where they compete head-to-head. I’m sure there’s at least one Fiat dealer in Osaka, and one Mazda dealer in Madrid, but there are very few markets where Mazda and Fiat are both mainstream brands.

      • 0 avatar

        Madrid? Fiat is Italian. SEAT is the Spanish brand – it used to make Fiats under license for the Spanish market, now it’s owned by VW.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Exactly, I used Spain as an example of a country where Mazda is not a mainstream brand, but Fiat is. That applies to all European countries, but I like the alliteration of “Mazda” and “Madrid.”

    • 0 avatar

      The differences in styling and engine alone are sufficient justify both in the market. I’m fairly sure that is the same engine used in the 500 Abarth, and it sounds great and is a lot of fun in that car, so I imagine it would be even more entertaining in a roadster. (I bet it would sound especially sweet reverberating off the canyon walls on a crisp early morning drive!) Styling is of course subjective, but I think it looks the part (and is better than the Miata).

      If it truly lives up to the promise of Italian mojo with Japanese reliability it could be the best of both worlds for a lot of people!

  • avatar

    They incorporated a lot of 124 Sport Spider design cues. The grill opening, the hood bulges, the kickups over the door handles, and even the door handles themselves are all derivatives of the features on mid ’70s 124s. The end result is sort of like a 2004 Avanti or a C5 Corvette reskinned as a 1962.

  • avatar

    Like I commented in other thread, this looks 10x better than the current Miata. Hate the tired eyes front and busy rear

  • avatar

    The engine alone is what will sell this car. It seemed like a much better idea when that front end was still covered up.

    • 0 avatar

      If they put the Abarth exhaust on this, I *may* be forced to make a very unwise financial decision.

      • 0 avatar

        Sadly, not the case. The exhaust on this new 124 is muffled, whereas the Abarth is open. So out of the box it’ll be far quieter – they’re aspiring toward gentleman cruiser more than scolded cat here. Bummer.

        However, that leaves the door wide open for a bonkers Abarth 124 in a couple years…

    • 0 avatar

      I prefer the looks of the Miata to the Fiat, but the engine does indeed sway me in favor of the 124. 36 lb-ft more torque in a car this small (albeit 100 lbs heavier) will probably make a big difference stock vs stock. And from what I’ve read about the 500 Abarth it will be relatively cheap and easy to get more power when the urge finally comes.

      The greater question will be if I can fit inside the damn thing at 6’2″.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m 6’3″, 33″ inseam, and I finally fit in a stock miata. I could never get my leg under the steering wheel to hit the brake in an NA, NB nor NC. I was so excited to find that out. I’m seriously looking at one, if they put Android Auto in it next year i’m jumping.

        And maybe some more colors. I’d love a Club in either a better white (CW1 FTW) or a brighter color (Celestial Blue from the `10 MSP3 would look great) with a tan interior.

  • avatar

    And I thought the entire point of any Italian car was to be stylish…

  • avatar

    So much want…I even like the color

  • avatar

    Italian sports car heritage design cues with Japanese build quality? Where do I sign up? Looks significantly better than the new Miata.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Well, except for the engine, but that’s a minor component :)

      I really do prefer the looks of this over the Miata as well. Could be worth risking the Fiat engine unless MSRP is nutters compared to the Mazda.

  • avatar

    I like it. Nostalgic because I briefly had a 124, that I wrecked. Love the white. My problem is there is no nearby dealer for FIAT, whereas a Mazda dealer is close.

  • avatar

    That is a VERY pretty blue, which would look nice on a large RWD Cadillac of future.

    I don’t like the front as I find it a bit fiddly looking, but the added overall length, smooth styling and simplicity of the rear end (Maserati-ish) is nice. Hopefully it will cost at LEAST $42,000 so it’s a sales flop compared to a Miata PRHT.

    • 0 avatar

      “I don’t like the front as I find it a bit fiddly looking”

      This. The dual grill openings are unintentionally as egregiously funny as the double set of quad headlights on the Family Truckster.

      • 0 avatar

        “The dual grill openings are unintentionally as egregiously funny as the double set of quad headlights on the Family Truckster.”

        I had to rub my eyes as I thought I was seeing double. The grille doesn’t work for me., but the hood and sides have nice lines and definition. No shot of the rear?

        This should give the moar powah crowd something to consider. I prefer naturally aspirated and well balanced.

  • avatar

    Also, if this were a bit larger and hardtop it might well be called a 280ZX.

  • avatar

    Made in Italy or Japan?

  • avatar

    So, it took Fiat to make the new Miata look good? And itll be quicker? Win.

    I do agree with some who have said (here and elsewhere) that it looks like an updated late 90s Miata. But, its only a passing resemblence, and I seriously doubt its intentional.

    I think this car will do just fine, and it looks fantastic.

  • avatar

    I don’t know, a big part of the appeal of the Miata is that they’re reliable.

    People say the engine will sell this car, IMO the Fiat engine makes it worse.

    Naturally aspirated Japanese 4 cylinder, or a turbocharged Italian 4 cylinder complete with Italian ECU, a Fiat body kit, and higher sticker price.

    The choice is clear to me.

  • avatar

    I owned 2 Alfa 164s and a Saab 9000CD, all based off a common chassis. The engines were NA V6 vs turbo I4. The suspensions were entirely different also. You would never in a million years mistake the Alfa for the Saab in handling and in engine response and sound. It will be interesting to find out if the there are more differences between the Miata and the 124 than just the drive train.

  • avatar

    Not quite what I was expecting on the front end. I expected more of a reference to the earlier 124 at least to start with. Still, very distinctive looks. Wondering how it drives.

  • avatar

    I want to glue a gold Chevy bowtie on the grille crossbar.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    It’s not easy to make a Mazda unreliable, but I’m confident Fiat will find a way.

  • avatar

    So how much is that extra hp going to cost us?

  • avatar

    white ,meh really Fiat as a former 124 owner I am sad no more cool colors, of wait just saw the blue damm that is nice never mind. I would have to see both in the flesh but I assume the fiat dealers will deal more on this than Mazda dealers and I am pretty sure on the used market in a few years the fiat will be cheaper.

  • avatar

    I was looking forward to this car but the styling looks as though it should be wearing a Dodge badge. FCA should have developed this as an Alfa with unmistakable Alfa styling cues. Next year perhaps?

    It will be interesting to see how the driving dynamics and performance compares to the Miata. As it stands, I prefer the styling of the Miata from which it was based.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      I wonder if the Fiata has its styling leftover from when the project was still supposed to become an Alfa. When Marchionne wanted all Alfas to come out of Italy, it got a little nose job and the Multiair 1.4.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought the new rule for Alfa is that it has to be made in Italy, so this one can’t be if it is outsourced to Japan.

  • avatar

    The front end looks like a frog that’s having an orgasm.

  • avatar

    Is the 1.4T one of those engines with a tiny turbo that spools quickly but runs out of breath in the upper rpms….kinda like a diesel?

    Maybe it’s just me, but Mazda’s NA engine seems like a better fit for a little roadster like this.

    • 0 avatar

      No the 1.4 is more like an old school turbo torque comes in around 2500 rpm peaks at 4000 rpm and stays there for the most part horsepower doesn’t peak until 6500. It’s an engine well suited to low weight fun cars then daily driven heavy cars (it’s a poor fit in the dart for most drivers for instance.) It should be actually quite a bit more fun in the miata then the NA engine.

  • avatar

    I haven’t seen it in person, but Autoblog has, and they where none too charitable. “Trust us when we say that this car looks way better in photos. In person, it really didn’t wow us.”

  • avatar

    The Dodge Boys and Alfaholics notwithstanding, this car should have been launched in red.

  • avatar

    What we have here is styling that may be much more appealing to the ‘mature’ buyer, the ones that actually have the cash. I hope the turbo motor in this will have all the ” less is more” fanatics eating crow.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Chevy should have just cut a check to the Italians for the design of the C7 Corvette.

    Love the blue.

  • avatar

    What an ugly front end, especially when contrasted to the more attractive rear. In between its obvious it’s a Miata.

    The his reminds of the old saw of a camel being a committees best attempt to design a horse.

  • avatar

    I found Allpar’s page on this car early this morning. It has decent photographs, but the accompanying words are straight out of Fiat PR. You’d think they designed the Miata in the first place!

    It turns out that the 6MT is only available on the cheaper Classic version of the two models, and that comes with “three-season” tires: Classic: 195/50R16 three-season Yokohama Advan Sport V105.

    Sporty. Not. The Lusso has the automatic and 17 inch tires.

    Since flat-out acceleration is directly proportional to horsepower, and this weighs exactly the same as the 500 Abarth, with only 5 hp more than the Miata, it is unlikely to be quicker in a straight line, so 5.9 to 60. Mid range punch will be better.

    • 0 avatar

      You’d expect this one to produce more power in the midrange than the Miata. It may yet accelerate more quickly.

      As a Miata owner though, I’ll stick to natural aspiration. My favorite thing about the car is its responsiveness – no turbo lag for me, no matter what it does to the car’s acceleration.

  • avatar

    Mazda nailed the ND for me. Only slight disappointment might be rear. Very slight.

    This car looks bulbous and flabby. Overhangs way too big. And the front end looks cross eyed or something.

    But I’m seeing about half half for each. So clearly people have their styling preferences.

    I would never choose this over the Miata…. Except the sound of that engine. I don’t even want turbo honestly, I just want that sound. If Mazda could give that sound I’d never consider this car. But they don’t.. So this car is still a possibility for me.

  • avatar
    Jonathan H.

    Hopefully this goes over better than the Maserati LeBaron.

  • avatar

    Mazda might not deserve all the credit for that handy manual soft-top. My first car, a 1970 Fiat 1500 Cabriolet, had a smooth-working, well-balanced top that I could raise from the driver’s seat with an overhand motion of my right arm. That superior top, plus a 5-speed, led me to buy the car instead of the Triumph Spitfire sitting next to it, with its pitiful pup tent roof.

    Both were $750 in 1975 dollars. If only I had kept that Cabriolet! It took me some time to realize what a rarity it was.

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