By on March 22, 2016

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth

After teasing Americans from a distance at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month, a production version of a meaner Fiat 124 Spider has been unveiled by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in advance of its New York premiere.

The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth is a mouthful to pronounce, but the Old World name should help add some metaphysical distance between this massaged roadster and its Mazda MX-5 Miata underpinnings.

At Geneva, the word was that the Abarth version of the Spider would benefit from a 10 horsepower boost, but that’s sadly not the case on this side of the Atlantic — or Pacific, since it’ll be built in Japan. Both Spiders will share the same turbocharged MultiAir 1.4-liter four-cylinder, mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, the latter outfitted with paddle shifters in the Abarth.

A sport mode allows wannabe racers to prime the Elaborazione Abarth for better performance if the feeling hits them. One press of the button re-writes the feedback a driver can expect from the vehicle’s engine, (automatic) transmission, steering and suspension.

Powertrains aside, the Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione takes full advantage of the Abarth goodies bag to differentiate itself from its boulevard-bound sibling. Brembo brakes, Recaro seats, Bilstein front and rear shocks and a mechanical limited-slip differential ensure the vehicle stays planted — and the driver, too.

The exterior clearly intends to telegraph the spiritual difference between the Abarth and lesser Spiders. Matte black paint coats the hood, lower fascia and rockers, while gunmetal grey 17-inch aluminum wheels and a quad chrome-tipped exhaust suggests this Italian is a fighter, not a lover.

The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth and its stock siblings are expected to filter into grateful dealerships this summer, and not a moment too soon.

[Image: FCA US LLC]

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29 Comments on “2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth: Sensuous Italian Loses Passion on Boat Over the Ocean...”

  • avatar

    Looks better then the squinty headlights and z3 copy rear lights of the new mx-5. No that is not an Asian reference for all those nanny trolls.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Not good enough. I’m sick to death of hearing that other races look like Z3 tail lights. Apologizing for a racist statement after the fact is no substitute for lack of discretion in the first place.

      • 0 avatar

        30, hilarious. Other races look like tail lights?? The mx-5 tail lights look like the z3. How else would describe the HEAD lights of the mx-5?

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Oh, you’re on about headlights now too? Listen bud, your egregious tail light reference is bad enough. I simply will not stand for you using the other end of the car in a disparaging way as well. One end is enough.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Z3 tail lights – who the heck would copy those squares?

      Z4 tail lights – nope, you’re thinking upside down, get an eye exam.

  • avatar

    What a mess. I can’t think of any reason to get this over a Miata.

  • avatar

    Oh look, the 017 Fiat 124 Spider Stupidizione Abarth…come on, NO HP increase over stock? Not good.

  • avatar

    That black hood & black airdam look craptastic.

  • avatar

    /s A blending of two small marques in the American marketplace using two well known models as a starting point (124 Spider and MX-5) with the hope of creating a niche in a niche market. Two marques which manufacture vehicles well known for evolving rather quickly into rolling hydrated ferric oxide. Sounds like a recipe for success. /s

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Fiats were known to rust 40 years ago (not as much as Toyota, of course), but now? You are showing your age, you are too old for a mid-life crisis car!

      Seriously, this car makes no sense, until you realize that the US and Canada are the only markets where Fiat and Mazda have a significant market presence. Go anywhere else and it’s one or the other, not both.

  • avatar

    They’re gonna be mad when Mazda releases the MX-5 Tutti Boppi Edition next year.

  • avatar

    U G L Y, you ain’t got no alibi!
    Serious that looks like a Miata with a bad body kit. Could they have made the Fiat badge any larger? I give it a year, two tops.

    And 4 pipes on an I4, turbo no less, mean lover, not fighter. Poseur.

  • avatar

    Mmm, two-tone paint Miata…

    Maybe for their next trick, they can get some Mitsubishis and put Dodge labels on them!

    Seriously, though, Suzuki has some pretty good small cars and would make the perfect captive import for FCA. Or maybe an eye-catching relabeled Daihatsu?

  • avatar

    This gives the new Highlander a run for the money, looks like a really confused fish.

    • 0 avatar

      The new Highlander is doing just fine. Some say it is even better than the older Highlanders.

      But I noticed there was no mention of the cost of this Mazda MX-5 Miata with an Italian body and I’m guessing it will be a lot more in spite of its “Mazda MX-5 Miata underpinnings. “

  • avatar

    I saw this thing in person, and it doesn’t look any better than in pictures. I agree with others who’ve said that the overhangs look awkward. I’m not sure if it would be an issue if I hadn’t seen a Miata first, but I did, so it is.

    On the other hand, the Mazda rep, although nice, immediately pointed out my Quebec accent when I spoke to him in French. Should’ve spoken to him in Swiss German (whereupon he would’ve been subjected to yet another weird accent).

  • avatar

    I have never really swallowed the mystique of Abarth … cost mostly seemed to exceed value by a pretty significant margin. This exercise is typical, I reckon. I continue to have mixed feelings about FIAT rebadging a Mazda, hope it works out for Mazda.

    My dollars are staying in my pocket until either they hit it with the HP stick or until depreciation does its thing. A Mazdaspeed treatment like what they did to the 3 would be ideal — subtle visually, unmistakable dynamically.

  • avatar

    In my opinion, grafting the original 124 styling cues onto a Mazda Miata doesn’t work. They may as well have festooned the Miata with bumper bombs and fins. (Here in Pennsylvania, I have actually seen an early Miata with ’59 Caddy fins, so it’s not out of the question!)

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