2017 FIAT 124 SPIDER FIRST LOOK
2017 FIAT 124 SPIDER FIRST LOOK BY AUTO CRITIC STEVE HAMMES
Fiat’s lineup just got a whole lot sunnier. The return of the 124 Spider for the 2017 model year occurs nearly 50 years after the introduction of the legendary original.
Turning to the roadster gurus at Mazda this time around, Fiat has crafted their own vision of the legendary Miata replete with iconic Italian style and the brand’s turbocharged MultiAir 1.4-liter engine. For enhanced driving dynamics, the 124 Spider features a double-wishbone front suspension and rear multi-link suspension with stabilizer bars, balanced weight distribution and tuned electric-power steering.
The lineup consists of 3 models; Classica, Lusso and Abarth with a starting MSRP of $25,990 including destination. Producing 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, this is the first application of Fiat’s MultiAir Turbo in a rear wheel drive vehicle. A standard 6-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic transmission is offered across the board. For optimal fuel economy and performance, 91 octane or higher is preferred. Gas mileage is rated at 29mpg in combined driving with the auto and 30mpg with the manual.
The open-air driving experience gets an assist from a spring which supports the driver’s action when raising the top from the fully open position, eliminating the need for a power assist system, thus saving weight. The 124 Spider’s seat structure also makes it simple to operate the soft top while seated. The seat provides a consistent level of support from the thighs, rear, hips and side of the ribcage, while bolsters are less snug at the shoulder level – allowing the driver’s upper body freedom of motion.
Performance enthusiasts in search of a sportier, more responsive driving experience will appreciate the Abarth’s sport suspension with Bilstein shocks, mechanical limited slip differential, Sport Mode selector and sport-tuned, chrome quad-tip exhaust. Brembo brakes and Recaro seats are optionally available.
And for good measure, horsepower gets a nominal bump to 164. An Italian designed roadster via Japan, the 124 Spider adds another fun-to-drive vehicle to bolster Fiat’s U.S. return.