Ciao Bella: The New Fiat 124 Spider

Ciao Bella: The New Fiat 124 Spider

Styled with classic Italian flair and reviving a storied nameplate, the new FIAT 124 Spider is now available in the UK and brings the authentic, Italian roadster driving experience to a whole new generation of British enthusiasts.

The transformation of Fiat from budget buy to the very definition of city chic lies solely at the oh so pretty doors of the Fiat 500, a car that has given the marquee back its brio. One thing that has been lacking though is something truly aspirational which is where the new 124 comes in to play but sports cars are expensive things to develop so Fiat have, rather cleverly, collaborated with a manufacturer that has perfected the roadster concept; Mazda. Underneath the pretty body the 124 is pure MX5 apart from the engines which are strictly Italian.

Designed in the Fiat Style Centre, the front-end of the Fiat 124 Spider encapsulates the essence of its classic predecessor in a modern, bold and incredibly pretty package; broad and muscular but also elegant and perfectly proportioned. The profile view is pure classic roadster, with its long wheelbase, a cockpit hunkered low near the driven rear axle and a long bonnet, all tied elegantly together by a horizontal line that emerges from the front wing, kicking up over the rear haunch and flowing toward the tail lamp, aping the distinctive bodywork of the original Fiat 124 Spider

The nose of the new Fiat 124 Spider also takes its inspiration from the 1966 original with the style and position of the LED headlamps and the hexagonal upper grille all drawing heavily from the details of the classic roadster. The bonnet of the new sports car also emulates the twin power domes of the second- generation Fiat 124 while the rear view is defined by two main features: the swallow-tail rear wings, the upper surface of which cascade inward toward the decklid, and the sharp horizontal tail lamps with their distinctive ring shape.  An integrated rear spoiler enhances the aerodynamic performance of the new Fiat 124 Spider, while twin exhaust outlets are a reminder of its sporting pedigree.

To minimise weight, improve longevity and encourage spur-of-the-moment open air driving experiences, the multi-layer canvas hood is a manual unit that can be operated in seconds using minimal force and without the driver having to leave their seat. Doing so reveals a cabin built to the highest standard from a variety of top-quality soft-touch and premium materials, painstakingly laid out and fine-tuned to ensure the perfect layout of pedals, steering wheel and gear lever with a clear view of the three-dial instrument cluster with a purposeful central rev-counter. It’s effectively the same dashboard as the MX5 so buyers can expect solid quality throughout.  Fiat have added some glamour with a fine selection of leather seats – we love the toffee shade which can be specified on the ergonomically designed steering wheel as well as the seats.

Fiat have decided to make use of the  proven 1,368cc MultiAir, turbo-charged four-cylinder engine which delivers 140hp and 240Nm of torque to the rear wheels via six-speed manual transmission and compact rear differential. The Fiat 124 Spider is capable of accelerating to 62mph/100km/h in just 7.5 seconds and has a top speed of 134mph/215 km/h. It can’t match it’s MX5 for the dricing experience- longer overhangs from that pretty bodywork and the addition of a turbo charger to the engine means that the MX5’s perfect 50/50 weight balance is no more but the 124 is an entertaining drive none the less.

The Fiat 124 Spider’s suspension uses a double-wishbone layout in front and a multilink in the rear, specifically tuned for greater stability while braking and turning, while the dual-pinion electric power steering system has been specifically tuned to give the Spider a responsive, Italian feel. The 124 Spider offers more of cossetted driving experience; exciting enough in the bends but without compromising comfort and refinement.

Safety is taken care of too thanks to an extensive range of active and passive safety devices. A voice-controlled infotainment system (with Bluetooth), LED rear light clusters, four airbags, TPMS, cruise control, a speed limiter and ESC with ABS and EBD are all standard, as are seat belts with pre-tensioners and Constant-Force Retractors (CFR) to control the degree of force applied by the belt onto the occupant and then gradually release it in a controlled manner.  The body, made from high-tensile materials, has dedicated structural elements designed specifically to dissipate and absorb energy in the event of impact, aided by a steering column designed for energy absorption and a non-intrusive pedal box. A rear parking assistance system, a reversing camera, keyless entry and automatic lights and wipers also improve safety, security and convenience.

Three trim levels will be offered in the UK: Classica, Lusso and Lusso Plus. Standard equipment on the entry-level Classica version includes air conditioning, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless engine start and a powerful infotainment system with USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity. A seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB, WiFi, two USB ports and a multimedia control knob is available as a £500 option.

The mid-range Lusso version is equipped with that seven-inch infotainment system as standard, but adds satellite navigation with 3D maps and the Parkview rear parking camera as well. It is also equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, heated leather upholstery, automatic climate control, front fog lamps, keyless entry, chrome exhaust tips and a premium silver finish on the windscreen frame and rollover bars.

The top Lusso Plus model builds on the excellent specification of the Lusso model by adding adaptive LED headlamps, LED DRLs, automatic lights and wipers and a nine-speaker BOSE sound system (including stereo headrest speakers on both seats).

Prices for the Fiat 124 Spider starts at £19,545 OTR for the Classica version, with the Lusso model prised at £22,295 and the top Lusso Plus trim just £1,000 more at £23,295.

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