The world needs more Italian roadsters. At the same time, Italian roadsters have usually needed better build integrity and reliability. Thankfully, Fiat has addressed both sides of this matter by introducing the 124 Spider, a classically influenced two-seat convertible that combines traditional droptop wonderfulness with traditional Japanese quality thanks to a partnership with Mazda.
What's New for 2017
Depending on your sense of perspective the 124 Spider is either an entirely new model or an end-to-end updating of Fiat's previous rear-wheel-drive Spider—which was introduced back in late 1966 and last sold here in 1985.
Choosing Your 124 Spider
The 124 Spider is the happy result of an engineering and production arrangement between Fiat and Mazda. At its core the 124 Spider is a Mazda MX-5 Miata wearing sheet metal heavily influenced by Fiat's classic 1960s Spider. The two use the same chassis design, suspension geometry and interior layout.
Even with the shared basis there are meaningful differences between the two. Instead of the Miata's naturally-aspirated motor, the 124 Spider features Fiat's own turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-4 MultiAir powerplant. The suspension has been retuned to Fiat's own preferences. And although the interior uses the same structure, the 124 Spider dresses it in more attractive materials.
Standard equipment for the 124 Spider includes features that would have absolutely amazed the engineers who worked on the original Spider, including pushbutton ignition and Bluetooth connectivity. They would have likely understood and appreciated the four-wheel disc brakes and the easy-to-use cloth convertible top, though. Fuel economy estimates are the same regardless of trim package: 26 city/35 highway estimates for the manual transmission, 25 city/36 highway for the automatic.
Option lists are extremely short: each trim level has one or two available technology packages, and the automatic transmission is available across the board for $1350.
The 124 Spider is available in three trim levels:
The old Spider was always more about la dolce vita than high-strung performance, and the new 124 Spider shares that charming character. In being more lighthearted and less of a purist sports car than its Miata fraternal twin (save, maybe, the racy Abarth) the 124 Spider is able to be more things to more people and can be more an individualistic expression. Find the version that most closely matches your personality, then find a romantic destination at the end of a winding two-lane road.