The Spider is back – well almost. The all-new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Roadster will not arrive until Summer 2016, but Fiat revealed it this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It is hard to believe that this iconic sports car – known as the Sports Spider when introduced in 1966 – has been gone since 1985. We remember it well having spent many hours behind the wheel of the later Pininfarina Spider in mid-1980.
Now, Fiat, as part of their ongoing development and roll out of the brand, has revived the iconic nameplate, bringing its classic Italian styling and performance to a new generation Fiat says. Based on what we saw today, we think the new generation Spider 124 may well be what Fiat fans have been looking for since the brand was reintroduced to North America in March of 2011, with the redesigned Fiat 500 Cinquecento.
“There’s no better way to celebrate 50 years of the Fiat 124 Spider than to bring back this iconic roadster, pairing its Italian styling of the past with all of the modern performance and technology of today,” said Olivier François, Head of FIAT Brand, FCA – Global. “The 124 Spider expands the FIAT family, bringing to market yet another head-turning, fun-to-drive vehicle for our customers.”
Spider 124 is not a Miata MX-5
We will be up front on this point, though based on the Mazda Miata MX-5, the 2017 Fiat Spider 124 has its own styling with Italian personality and a heftier Fiat powertrain that will certainly perform very differently.
The all-new Fiat 124 Spider is all Italian, designed at Centro Stile in Turin, Italy, borrows cues from the original Spider – widely considered one of Fiat’s most beautiful cars of all time – and reinterprets them for today. The 2017 124 Spider has a nice low-slung presence, with a classically beautiful bodyside, well-balanced proportions and a sporty cabin-to-hood ratio. Features like the hexagonal upper grille and grille pattern, “power domes” on the front hood and sharp horizontal rear lamps call to mind details of the historic Spider.
The interior is more directly from the nicely crafted latest generation MX-5 which is designed to focus on the occupants, with premium soft-touch materials throughout. Ergonomics were applied to emphasize the driving experience and ensure easy operation of the steering wheel, pedals and shifter while driving.
For North America, the Fiat 124 Spider is available with the proven Fiat 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo four-cylinder engine which is the engine’s first application in a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. The engine delivers 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, and is available with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. The Miata powertrain, by comparison, delivers just 155 horsepower with only 148 lb.-ft. of torque.
The 124 Spider’s suspension uses a double-wishbone layout in front and a multi-link in the rear, specifically tuned for greater stability while braking and turning. Fiat says the steering is light and responsive through the use of an electric power assist (dual pinion) system.
Fiat adds that the steering and suspension setup, lightweight frame, balanced weight distribution and turbocharged engine combine for a dynamic driving experience. Noise vibration and harshness (NVH) enhancements, including an acoustic front windshield and insulation treatments, also help to deliver a refined, quiet ride. Based on our time in the Miata, Spider drivers will be very pleased.
And, since it is a Roadster, borrowing form the Miata, the soft top will be easy to open and close – even from the inside much like the original Spider.
Fiat Technology and Safety
The all-new roadster is available with an array of safety and security features, including adaptive front headlamps, Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection and ParkView rear backup camera. A high-strength body helps to dissipate energy while optimizing occupant protection.
The Fiat 124 Spider is also available with technology features for added comfort and convenience, including the FIAT Connect 7.0 system with 7-inch touchscreen display, multimedia control, Bluetooth connectivity, heated seats and Keyless Enter ‘n Go.
A Bose premium sound system with nine speakers, including dual headrest speakers, is also available for superior sound quality even with the top down. From our Miata experience, this Bose system is really good.
The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is available in two trim levels: Classica and Lusso. Each model is available in six exterior paint colors, including Rosso Passione (Red Clear Coat), Bianco Gelato (White Clear Coat), Nero Cinema (Jet Black Metallic), Grigio Argento (Gray Metallic), Grigio Moda (Dark Gray Metallic) and Bronzo Magnetico (Bronze Metallic). The Lusso (“Luxury”) model is also available in tri-coat Bianco Perla (Crystal White Pearl).
Initial Special Edition
For those who really are Spider 124 enthusiasts, the first 124 vehicles will be offered as a limited-edition Prima Edizione Lusso, that was shown at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. Each will be individually numbered with a commemorative badge and available in exclusive Azzurro Italia (Blue) exterior paint with premium leather seats in Saddle. Owners who purchase a Prima Edizione will also receive limited-edition items, including wearables and a poster.
For more information about ordering a Fiat 124 Spider Prima Edizione, interested customers can sign up for updates at www.fiatusa.com.
The all-new Fiat 124 Spider will arrive in Fiat studios in North America in summer 2016.
Read our review of the Mazda Miata MX-5 by clicking on the “Suggested Links” below.
Read our recent review of the 2016 Mazda Miata MX5 by clicking on ‘’Suggested Links” below.