There’s a good chance that if you’ve heard anything about the new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider, you’ve heard some critics saying, “it’s nothing but a rebadged Mazda MX-5 Miata.” But while these cars share a platform, the Fiat is a totally different take on a roadster, especially the Abarth model, which left us scrambling to learn a few Italian words ourselves after a breathtaking test drive…
1. Più caldo corpo (“Hotter body”): Despite the design similarities with the Mazda Miata, the Fiat 124 Spider is swathed in unique sheet metal, which gives the car more Italian flair than its Japanese counterpart.
2. Più spazio (“More space”): The thing you quickly realize when sliding into any compact, low-profile roaster at 6’1” is that interior space is a prized commodity. The Fiat 124 Spider is 5 inches longer than the Miata and has a larger cargo area than the MX-5.
3. Più muscoli (“More muscle”): Nothing quite distinguishes one car from another in the segment like its powertrain, which in the case of the Spider Abarth is a 1.4L turbo engine with 164 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. The Miata or MX-5, on the other hand, is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 155 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. torque.
4. Dettagli, dettagli, dettagli (“Details, details, details”): Sit in any new car, and you immediately begin to form an opinion of the vehicle. Here the Abarth stands out with exclusive interior components like soft touch materials on the door trim.
5. Prestazioni complessive (“Overall performance”): At the end of the day, what really distinguishes one roadster from another is how fun it is to drive. That’s where the Fiat 124 Spider really shines, with features like a stiffer suspension and specialized steering calibration, perfect for nifty maneuvering in a variety of conditions.
6. Insomme (“In conclusion”): Now, if you every find yourself in a conversation about the Fiat 124 Spider and someone brings up the Miata, keep these five pointers on hand. And if you really want to show off, give ’em the quick rundown in Italian. Just be sure to practice those pronunciations first, capeesh?