Based on the Mazda MX-5 and set to become a rival for that car, the 124 Spider will be produced with both Fiat and Abarth badges. The new sports cars are both due in 2016.
While it was initially thought that the Fiat and Abarth versions of the 124 would be similar in terms of styling and power output, it is now known that the two will be substantially different. Rather than the Abarth getting the usual performance makeover of more aggressive front and rear ends, the sports car will actually get different sheet metal to the donor car for a completely different look.
Previous artist’s impressions of the 124 Spider are also understood to have been very wide of the mark. There will be no 500 references in the 124 Spider; instead it will be unashamedly a modern version of the 124 Spider with associated styling cues, in the same way the new 500 is a modern version of the original. This first image certainly supports that theory.
Sources have also shed light on the engines the pair will use. Mazda engines will not feature in the car, meaning the 1.4-litre Multiair turbo from the Fiat range will be adapted for a longitudinal, rear-wheel drive application.
That engine is capable of achieving power outputs of between 118bhp-187bhp, meaning there's enough scope to make the Abarth version more powerful than the standard car without changing its engine. The standard Fiat 124 Spider is expected to come with around 138bhp.
The original 124 Spider - what Fiat's new roadster must live up to
The original Fiat 124 Sport Spider remained in production for a remarkable 19 years.
Designed by Pininfarina and related to the rear-wheel-drive Fiat 124 family, it was launched in 1966, survived the introduction of new emissions and safety regulations in 1974 and was sold as a Fiat until 1982, when the brand pulled out of the United States.
Between 1983 and 1985, it was sold as a Pininfarina, which was a fair reflection of the fact that the Italian design house founded by Sergio Pininfarina had built the car since its launch. Production ended in 1985 after an estimated 200,000 had been built. About three-quarters of them were sold in the US.