124 vs 500 Abarth - Fiat 124 Spider Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-11-2017, 05:27 AM Thread Starter
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Arrow 124 vs 500 Abarth

Today I checked the 124 at a dealership again. Unfortunately, it would definitely be a tight fit for me.
I seem to recall some folks going from a 500 Abarth to a 124. I realize they're different vehicles, with different driving experiences, but how far apart are they in fun factor?


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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-11-2017, 06:11 AM
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In terms of fun, they are pretty close. I think the 124 is more fun because it has a far better suspension, plus it's rear wheel drive. However, in terms of sound (when stock) the 500 is better. The 500 is also a lot more practical, which means you can have the fun more often. If you need to pick up a lot of stuff at the store, or take a third person, the 500 can do it, and the 124 can't.

Regarding performance, stock vs stock, they are pretty close in a straight line, and although the 500 Abarth handles really well for what is really a souped up economy car chassis with 67/33 weight distribution, the 124 simply has higher limits in the corners. However I would rate them both very closely in the fun category. I really love both, and can't choose between the two. Maybe that's why I own both

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-11-2017, 10:37 AM
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Both are so much fun and I can't say I have more fun in my 124 than I did my 500. Both are going to put a smile on your face.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-11-2017, 11:31 AM
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I don't yet own a 124. However I do own an Abarth C plus an Audi TT roadster. I can tell you the C is a great deal of fun plus you get the added feature of the folding top, more room, less investment (until the mod bug bites that is). Generally the best deal in a hot hatch or C you can get at the moment. All that said any true roadster is going to be MORE smiles/mile if in fact you enjoy that type of car. I have owned at least one roadster all my adult life including MGs, TRs, Jags, Miatas, Audi's and there is no replacement in the 4 seater category. But, at 68 I'm finding that getting in/out and being comfortable during the drive MAY be more of enjoyment factor than the fun one.....
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 10:07 AM
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In terms of fun, they are pretty close. I think the 124 is more fun because it has a far better suspension, plus it's rear wheel drive. However, in terms of sound (when stock) the 500 is better. The 500 is also a lot more practical, which means you can have the fun more often. If you need to pick up a lot of stuff at the store, or take a third person, the 500 can do it, and the 124 can't.

Regarding performance, stock vs stock, they are pretty close in a straight line, and although the 500 Abarth handles really well for what is really a souped up economy car chassis with 67/33 weight distribution, the 124 simply has higher limits in the corners. However I would rate them both very closely in the fun category. I really love both, and can't choose between the two. Maybe that's why I own both

Greg
100% agree with Greg here. I love both cars. Sometimes I feel like I can drive my Abarth 500 faster simply because I am more comfortable with it. The Spider is a better car and has much better handling but will require more skill (read RWD here) to go fast. This being said, there is nothing like drifting a light, fairly low horsepower car into a turn and experiencing the neutral handling that the Spider has. Pure fun.

So yes, different tools, different jobs. Both fun.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 08:20 PM
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I had a chance to drive the Abarth 500 at the Bondurant school and enjoyed it a lot. If I wanted a hot hatch, this would be my choice. The 124 is way beyond it on the track, and has much more potential. And it's so pretty. . .
So it's an apples to oranges comparison.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by PDX.124 View Post
Today I checked the 124 at a dealership again. Unfortunately, it would definitely be a tight fit for me.
I seem to recall some folks going from a 500 Abarth to a 124. I realize they're different vehicles, with different driving experiences, but how far apart are they in fun factor?

Tight fit for height or width?? I'm 6' 5", and although at first it felt like a squeeze I got used to it on about my second ride. I now move the seat FORWARD when driving other cars!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Tight fit for height or width?? I'm 6' 5", and although at first it felt like a squeeze I got used to it on about my second ride. I now move the seat FORWARD when driving other cars!
Width.


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 08:06 AM
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The 500 Abarth is a remarkable little gokart considering its roots as a cheap economy car. Versatile, lots of fun, easy to live with. The C-model was even more enjoyable as it gives you a sort of 3/4 convertible feel, especially since the top can be moved at moderate speeds without stopping.

As Greg said, despite the FWD and weight distribution, the 500C Abarth is a joy on backroads and does a good job communicating with the driver. You can quickly find and exploit its steering and handling limits without much drama. It's very easy to control both understeer and oversteer with a bit of throttle. At higher speeds, the short wheelbase and tall stature made for some vulnerability to strong crosswinds or uneven highway surfaces, but nothing major.

Ultimately, I missed having RWD and a true convertible top. The 124 also won me over with better apparent build quality and interior materials. (I also fell in love with the Classica's low-tech, no-touchscreen, basic interior)

Interestingly, I feel like the 500s are better set up on delivery. My 124's steering and alignment was a bit vague from the factory. Really sharpened up with a good alignment and caster angle adjust (thankfully, that's part of the Mazda chassis)

Have you tried multiple trim levels? The 124's seats seem remarkably different among each trim despite being the same basic structure. Since the cars themselves are practically identical (LSD excepted), it's pretty cheap and easy to firm up a Lusso or Classica if you find they are a better fit.
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Last edited by jconli1; 06-17-2017 at 08:09 AM.
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