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The all new Fiat 124 Spider. At first glance, did you think it was a Miata?

Posted by Globe Drive on Thursday, November 19, 2015

What is it

This is the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider. It’s a Mazda MX-5 chassis, with styling and drivetrain by Fiat, and a continuation of the classic 124 Spider nameplate first introduced in the 1960s. Sounds like a winning combination, doesn’t it?

Reuters

Signature feature

At the 1966 Turin Motor Show, Fiat revealed the first 124 Spider. The beautiful cabriolet was styled by Pininfarina and became such a hit, it remained in production for nearly 20 years. For the new 124, Fiat collaborated with Mazda instead. With a front-engine, rear-drive chassis it should make purists happy.

FCA

What else is new

The collaboration between Fiat-Chrysler and Mazda was originally supposed to birth a small Alfa Romeo roadster. At some point, Alfa decided to develop its own sports car based on the firm’s new rear-drive architecture, rather than use the Japanese-built Mazda. But the partnership didn’t die, with the MX-5 chassis being picked up by Fiat to underpin this new 124. The styling — both inside and out — isn’t all that different from the MX-5, although it was done entirely in-house by Fiat at Centro Stile in Turin, Italy. It just doesn’t look… that special. Could there be a hotter Abarth version in the future? It’s a good bet.

Reuters

Under the hood

The Fiat’s big selling point is its engine: a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. That’s more power and more torque than the MX-5. The turbocharged Fiat will deliver all that torque lower in the rev range, which would give it quite a different character behind the wheel. A six-speed manual ‘box will be standard.

Bloomberg

When can we buy it, and for how much

It will be available in the second half of 2016, a date that conveniently marks the 50th anniversary of the very first Fiat 124 Spider. Canadian pricing has yet to be announced.

AP

Cool quotient

2.5 stars (out of 5)

This is what The Graduate would drive today.

Reuters

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