By on September 19, 2019

Fiat has introduced a new graphics package for the 124 Spider, yet it’s difficult to envision who this option is for. That’s especially true considering the package, intended to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Abarth and the 120th anniversary of Fiat, is exclusive to top-trimmed models.

We’re not even sure how much time FCA’s Miata-based roadster even has left in the country and don’t imagine a scorpion-themed graphics pack is going to change that. That’s a shame too, because the 124 remains a fun little car.

As this author has always been under the impression that roadsters were designed help drivers commune with nature, the Spider’s relaxed demeanor — at least in relation to the Mazda MX-5 — seemed like a positive attribute. While the Miata is clearly the car you’d want to take to a track, the 124 is noticeably quieter and more comfortable. There’s even pleasure to be found in the Fiat’s noteworthy turbo lag, assuming you’re somewhat nostalgic for early Nineties cars with forced induction. 

If you aren’t, then you’ll have to get your kicks elsewhere or spend some time learning how to interact with the machine. The 124 Spider is a nimble auto with 160 horses (164 hp in the Abarth) all rearing for a good time, you just need to know where on the rev range to stroke them. But the Mazda has the stronger racing pedigree and a broader fan base in the United States, helping to keep MX-5 sales higher than Fiat could ever dream of. While the gap is much closer in Europe, Miata sales typically average twice what the Spider can muster.

Fiat hopes to make up the difference in options. The Scorpion Sting Appearance Group adds $395 to the Abarth’s MSRP while providing customers with a Rosso-red scorpion decal on the hood and stripes down the side.

FCA suggests the droptop might also pair well with the Record Monza exhaust ($995) or Abarth Veleno Appearance Group ($495), that adds red mirror caps, lower fascia lip, floor mats, and frontal tow hook. There are also “Double Rally” and “Retro” stripe options ($295) if you want to go add some flare to your standard 124.

However, the car’s role as the MX-5’s heavier, chillaxed cousin makes a lot of these appearance upgrades feel unnecessary. Big graphic packs feel like a Dodge thing, not something intended for a small-engined, Italian roadster that’s actually from Japan. While ties to Abarth makes the giant scorpion logo forgivable, it’s going to be for niche tastes — likely resulting in a low take rate. While the 500 Abarth managed to get away with it, we would be surprised if you ever saw the Sting graphics in the wild.

The 2020 124 Spider Classica starts at $25,390, with FCA stipulating that the Abarth will come in “under $30,000.” For the extra dough, Fiat upgrades the 1.4-liter turbo with a few extra ponies, gives the car some unique bodywork, adds a Bilstein sport suspension, mechanical limited-slip differential, front strut tower bar, Sport Mode selector, and a throaty sport-tuned chrome quad-tip exhaust system. A six-speed manual transmission is standard but Fiat offers an optional six-speed automatic.

[Image: FCA]

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37 Comments on “2020 Fiat 124 Abarth Adds ‘Scorpion Sting’ Graphics Package; Any Takers?...”

  • avatar

    There’s even pleasure to be found in the Fiat’s noteworthy turbo lag…

    So it should come with one of those t-shirts from Amazon featuring a turbo and the words “Spooling, Please Wait”?

    The Arbath should be closer to 200hp.

    The Miata’s sole engine makes more than this, right? And is now retuned for a flatter torque curve?

    Miata everyday.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah but if you go to your local Fiat store right now they’ll throw in a free 500 just to get the damn things off the lot.

    • 0 avatar

      Yea, compared to most turbos the engine is a bit sporty but overall it isn’t a fast enough car.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Minus the better deal you could potentially negotiate with the Fiat dealership, the MX-5 beats the 124 Spider all day. While the Fiat technically still has more torque, Mazda’s linear power delivery and improved 2.0-liter motor more than make up for it. My fondness for the Fiat is entirely down to its laid back nature, exterior style (some of it), creature comforts, turbo quirks and flatter handling.

      If you drive them back to back with exuberance, the Mazda will probably be your favorite. However, your tune might change on a much longer drive. While not as rambunctious, the Fiat won’t drain you quite so badly on extended trips.

      I honestly think it’s more fun to wring out on normal roads too, but you don’t get the same satisfaction at moderate speeds as you would in the MX-5. There’s a very good reason they sell so much better. If I want more open-air oomph, I’m going to go with a motorbike. But someone else would probably hit up a Mazda dealership.

      • 0 avatar

        I did drive them back to back last year, the Abarth first. As a previous NC and NB Miata owner, I was disappointed with the Abarth. First, was that the exhaust sound was nothing like the Abarth 500, which is what I was expecting. I guess they fixed that. The steering and pedals had no feel/feedback, and shifter was a disappointment. The Miata was much better in every respect, and that was without the improved engine.

        The biggest factor in the Abarth’s favor was the price. The quoted price for the Abarth was a few grand less than the mid-level (Touring) Miata. The Miata doesn’t match the Abarth on the inside until you hit the Grand Touring model.

        • 0 avatar

          I tried both, including ’18 and ’19 Miatas last winter. I bought the Fiat – a leftover ’18 Lusso in metallic black on saddle. The Fiat is faster than the ’18 and earlier ND Miatas, and it feels more faster than the numbers would indicate to my butt dyno. And if I cared, it is much cheaper and easier to make it MUCH faster than a Miata. The ’19 Miata is a little faster, but only if you rev the pee out of the thing. I am not out to win races.

          To my eye, the Fiat looks a LOT better. To my ear it sounds better stock, and with the AutoRicambi exhaust I put on mine it sounds just like my old 500 Abarth. It rides better too. And the kicker is my Lusso was $8000 off MSRP… There were plenty of leftover Miatas around too, but Mazda was only giving $2K or so. MSRP at best on the ’19s in my area.

          So thank you to all the Fix It Again Tony idiots, you saved me $8000.

          This sticker package is awful though. I didn’t like the graphics of the Abarth to start with, particularly the red gauges.

    • 0 avatar

      “The Miata’s sole engine makes more than this, right? ”

      May be. But FIAT’s engine sounds like Ferrari.

  • avatar

    I’m waiting for the “Dodge Badge and Hurricane Engine” package to be a real thing that happens.

    I’m not holding my breath, but I reserve a very cautious level of optimism for the energy I put into this daydream.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    An Abarth Double Bubble style hardtop would be a neat retro option.

  • avatar

    This is a factory option? How many meetings where conducted to design, approve and produce these extra stickers? There are children with crayons that have better designs. Someone needs to be fired.

    • 0 avatar

      agreed, who the heck let this happen?

    • 0 avatar

      Reminds me of the old dealership practice of building showrooms with 40 foot glass windows, and then body-painting Christmas scenes or touting heavy discounts on them so the cars on the other side of the glass are obscured. Give me the fine lines of the 124 Abarth, but ’86’ the hood scorpion and ’65 Mustang GT-like rocker panel stripes. As for the inhouse Fiat artist who dreamed up this mess of graphics, take his easel away and send him back to the mailroom.

  • avatar

    Finally a reason to buy the Fiat – I’m rushing to my local dealer before they are all gone.

  • avatar

    Miata for girls
    S2000 for boys

  • avatar

    Lame effort for a lame duck, or maybe dead duck is more appropriate.

  • avatar

    Even a fifth grader would think that looks awful.

  • avatar

    What’s that red dot on the end of the grille?

  • avatar

    they put ugly tattoos on a good looking car

  • avatar

    That picture made me think this was TTAC’s attempt at an Onion article.

    Fiat, please. Stop.

    The 124 isn’t selling well. Adding red scorpion decals is not gonna help.

    Putting the engine from the Giulia under the hood might!!

  • avatar

    That’s a lot of tape. Isn’t Mazda well along the path to being the next Mitsubishi? There certainly should be some deals available at their ever-smaller dealers.

  • avatar

    I must agree that this is more enjoyable than the Miata, as the tow hooks and boiling lobster stickers make me laugh out loud.

  • avatar

    Keep saying I want a ‘toy’ car and I love the Fiat 124. However, while it fits me just fine, it’s much too tight for my wife in either seat. On the other hand, the 500Abarth fits her just fine.

  • avatar

    Glad to see Fiat is finally serious about moving some 124’s.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Is the ND as easy to swap an LS into as the previous generation Miatas?

  • avatar

    Pontiac looks cooler.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I really, really want to like this because it looks great and likely sounds very nice. In my years of owning various Miatas however, not once did I think to myself “What this car really needs is less power and more weight” and no matter how good they have made it look and sound, that is what they have done here.

    The Abarth version of this car should have the Alfa 2.0T. Even had they saddled it with the DCT (There is of course a manual, we just don’t get it in the USA) it would have been a legend, which I would own WITH the sticker package!

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