Fiat Gets It Right!

Fiat Red

Fiat has done a fine job of creating it’s own Mazda MX5. It’s quick and fun to drive, but manages it all in a slightly different way to its sister car. Yes, it’s a little pricier, but for a lot of people the 124 Spider will be just the ticket. The biggest difference between 124 and MX5 is how grown up the Italian car feels.

The two cars share the same chassis structure, suspension and rear-wheel drive transmission but Fiat has done its bit to make the car stand out. Both cars will be built at Mazda’s Hiroshima facility.

While the Mazda uses a couple of naturally aspirated engines, the Fiat makes use of turbocharging, with the 1.4-litre petrol unit boasting 138bhp. Thanks to the turbo kicking in around the mid-point of the rev range, it’s a little more relaxed on the move, only needing a shove on the throttle to make decent progress. The MX5, by comparison, needs to be constantly wound up to get down the road quickly.

But the Fiat’s turbo does come with some disadvantages. It’s not quite as frugal as the entry-level MX5 and below 3,000rpm the engine can seem a little unresponsive due to the undisguisable turbo lag.

Fiat White

Click photo for large side view

The Fiat feels a more refined on the move thanks to an acoustic windscreen, extra sound deadening behind the dashboard and thicker rear glass. The interior also feels slightly plusher – the soft-touch plastics and tan leather seats mean the Fiat feels just a little step up from the Mazda. Moreover, Fiat has recalibrated the steering, making it a little heavier to add to the old-school sports car experience.

Fiat Cockpit

It is clear Fiat is pitching the 124 as a slightly more premium roadster, so it’s real shame there is no limited-slip differential available. It’s standard on the 2.0-litre MX5 but if you want a 124 with one you’ll have to splash out another £10,000 for the Abarth version.
Despite this, there’s no denying Fiat has built a terrific sports car that takes all the MX5’s good points and adds a certain Italian flair. We could argue all day which car is better but the ultimate choice will come down to personal taste. Click on the logo below to learn more about the new Fiat 124 Spider:

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