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Fiat Chrysler Automobile announced Monday that the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider, which shares many of the same underpinnings as the Mazda MX-5, will have a starting price of $33,495 –almost $1,600 more than the base MSRP of its rival Japanese cousin.

Fancier trim levels for the Fiat – Lusso and Abarth – are priced at $36,495 and $37,995, respectively. For comparison’s sake, the MX-5 starts at $31,900 for the GX model, jumps to $35,300 for the GS, and $39,200 for the GT.

Fiat 124
Mazda MX-5

The new Fiat 124 – introduced last November at the Los Angeles Auto Show – features an MX-5 chassis, with styling and drivetrain by Fiat, and a continuation of the classic 124 Spider nameplate first introduced 50 years ago.

The collaboration between FCA and Mazda was originally supposed to birth a small Alfa Romeo roadster. However, 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 isn’t much different from the MX-5, although it was done entirely in-house by Fiat at Centro Stile in Turin, Italy.

Fiat 124 at the LA Auto Show November 18, 2015. (Reuters)

The Fiat’s engine is a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque on the base Classica and Lusso models. Horsepower jumps to 165 on the Abarth. That’s more power and more torque than the MX-5, which produces 155 horses and 148 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged Fiat will deliver all its torque lower in the rev range, which would give it a different character behind the wheel. A six-speed manual transmission is standard.

Fiat first revealed the first 124 Spider at the 1966 Turin Motor Show. The vehicle remained in production for almost 20 years.

Fiat 124 Sport Spider (Chrysler)

– with files from Matt Bubbers

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