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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello everyone,

It's Heath here, out in perpetually sunny California. I've got one of the best first world problems ever - which roadster do I need to buy. I've been lurking in the shadows pouring through MX-5 and Fiat forums trying to soak up as much information as possible. I'm leaning heavy towards the Fiat 124 Abarth over the Miata Club, but haven't been able to pull that trigger yet.

I'd love to hear why you decided on getting the Fiat over the Miata.

Thanks!
Heath
 

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Hi Heath,

There are so many reasons, it's almost hard to know where to start.

1. History. The original Fiat 124 was the first sports car in the lower to mid price range with double overhead cam, double wishbone suspension, four wheel disk brakes, and a five speed transmission. It's really the car that established the mold for all sports cars moving forward and the new 124 continues that tradition. Fiats also have a tremendous racing history. Fiat-Lancia has won the WRC 13 times, and with the new spider they may be headed for a comeback in rally racing. Mazda is the imitator here.

2. I know this is subjective, but I think the Fiat is better looking.

3. Bigger trunk

4. Stronger manual transmission. The automatics are the same, both cars use a unit made by Aisin.

5. Factory turbocharger. Not only does it have a turbocharger, but the whole engine is built to take a lot of power and abuse. It has a forged crank, forged pistons, and multiair. It's relatively easy to get a lot of power out of this engine.

6. The Abarth sounds better.

7. Better quality materials in the interior. Everything you touch inside the Fiat is made from comfy "soft-touch" materials. The MX-5 interior seem cheap by comparison.

8. Slightly bigger trunk

9. Thicker windshield for less wind noise.

Perhaps others will add more reasons. Of course I know some of those things are matters of opinion, and I am a long time Fiat fan, so my opinions are going to favor the Italian cars.

Greg
 

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Everything Greg said.

Since its introduction in 1989, the Miata's styling (including the current model), never lit my Christmas tree. Subjective I know.

I've always loved the sexy European roadsters from the 60's and 70's, such as the Triumph TR4 and the MGB. When I first saw the 124 online last June I was taken by its old school roadster styling. Simply beautiful. I knew then that it would be my next car.
 

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Everything Greg so well detailed out, plus:

1. Can't get miata optioned out like abarth. I want luxury package and performance bits(lsd, bigger wheels, sport button etc)
2. Can't get real red on miata. Not a fan of soul rental car red.
3. Turbo motor more power upside with less work if the desire strikes.
4. Longer warranty on fiat

Good luck with your decision. All choices are great fun

Mark
 

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Greg said it well - but I'll add some personal color...

The manual transmission in the Abarth/Fiat isn't just stronger, the ND Miata's manual gearbox is a known failure point. Many have broken a gear and needed replacement. I know on one persobally that needed a new box, and have heard/read about many others.

The ability to get way, way more power with just a piggyback ecu for less than 700 bucks is enticing, if power is your thing. Advantage Fiat.

The Abarth, in stock form, seems to be a flatter handling car, with less available rotation than the Miata Club. It's still a neutral handling car, but it seems less prone to tail-out antics at low speeds, at least in my experience. Now, for me, that means the Abarth inspires more confidence on a back road. But for others, it might be less fun.

Greg said bigger trunk twice for a reason. :) It mattered to me. More likely to work for a daily, and for trips with the wife. It's not a ton more space, but in a car with this little storage, every bit counts.

Either way, you'll be getting one of the most entertaining cars on the road. And the fan club of the "other side" has welcomed me so far, as has this one - so you won't be missing out on the "scene" either way... In fact, you'll get double the camaraderie!
 

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The only thing better at Mazda is their marketing. it has been 20 years since I have had a convertible. When I first saw the Spider, it was love at first sight. The last time I got this excited about a new car was when Datsun introduced their 240Z. My brother bought one then and he sold his Austin Healey. I guess at the end of the day, we are lucky Fiat didn't market well or Most of us would be paying a premium over sticker price. Buy the Spider!
 

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One more thing. The SPORT button. Don't underestimate how useful this may be in the future. This enables a tuned car to run two entirely separate tunes at once. So if you want a rip roaring race car tune, but don't want to drive the car in that mode everyday, no problem, switch it off and run your every day tune.

As an example, our most popular combo with this engine in the other chassis where we offer this is: A reproduction of Fiat's 190hp 695 tune in NON sport mode, and our Phase 2 230+hp tune in sport mode. This gives people the comfort of knowing they are running factory parameters most of the time and the car still has enough power to beat most competitors. When they really want to move, they hit that Sport button and add at least another 40hp!

The Sport button is the reason I am getting an Abarth and replaceing my beloved 124.

Greg
 

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Hello everyone,

It's Heath here, out in perpetually sunny California. I've got one of the best first world problems ever - which roadster do I need to buy. I've been lurking in the shadows pouring through MX-5 and Fiat forums trying to soak up as much information as possible. I'm leaning heavy towards the Fiat 124 Abarth over the Miata Club, but haven't been able to pull that trigger yet.

I'd love to hear why you decided on getting the Fiat over the Miata.

Thanks!
Heath
I don't have to go any further, beside what other member have posted. But with a name like SPIDERMAN124 hey, you're already sold out to an 124 spider Abarth. Congratulation.
 

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Well I want a hobby car, so I made a list of wants and needs, then did research and test drives. No need to dive deep into that list but here are the top categories.

FUN
Fun to own, fun to drive, fun to work on. As far as driving, I wanted something engaging, a car I could push and not end up in jail. A car I could get to know the limits in the real world. No reason to go down this path either, enough has been said about both cars. Both are great in this respect. Having owned a couple Triumphs in high school, then an X1/9 then the first gen GTI, I believe they formed what I consider fun now. Small, light, quick, good handling. A friend of mine pointed out to me that my old GTI had the same 0-60 time as a Prius! Sobering indeed!!! But also telling, in that here was a car that seemed super-fast and handled great and was a blast to own. In fact it was so fast VW almost didn’t release it, deeming it too fast for the public. Also what sent me in this direction was a test drive of a C7 up some mountain roads, yes it was FAST but nowhere could I go for it, mostly just an exercise in feathering the gas pedal and letting the car do its’ thing.

DESIGN
As others have pointed out “to each their own”. For me any design that pulls from classic cars to base its’ design language upon, drive the emotional connection, and builds that foundation, will age MUCH better. While the Mazda (IMO) has lost that connection in design while it’s’ heart and soul are still very much classic. The fact Mazda can and will change it up again and the fact the ND has very little from an ID perspective in common with the older generations it will not age well. The Fiat on the other hand has created its’ own design box. Fiat is very limited in what it can do without trashing all that went into this design. As such, it will age very well. Since I plan on keeping the car for a long time this was VERY important to me. Similar strategies have been utilized by Mini, Porsche 911, etc.

I feel the Abarth is very masculine, has presence, and a soul the Mazda can’t match. The Tin Man if you will, Fiat gave it the heart.

Another chance to use the C7 as an example. I have never been a Corvette fan honestly, but I admit I was taken by the C7. But as great a design as it is, it will look like yesterday’s news when they bring out the next gen. mid-engine.

TUNING

Support and options are the keys here. The great thing about Miata is all the available tuning, tweaking, and customization options. The Fiat can leverage most of this as well. The Fiat engine (which did concern me at first until I researched) already has many options and more coming since it is the same engine used in the 500. So between the two, so many options. But having options is not enough when there is so much crap out there. With research and this forum though two vendors/developers stand out as outstanding options; Goodwin Racing and Eurocompulsion. Between these two, as far as performance mods go, you pretty much have your bases covered. Both have passion, vision, and seem very upfront and easy to deal with. Both are active on the forum which to me provides that connection to us, the users / customers. So many businesses lose sight of this once the reality of making money and staying in business suck the passion out. Bottom line, in the end the Fiat with the turbo has more accessible tuning options to make it truly outstanding. Plus for me, living in Colorado the turbo is a good thing in general.

AUTOCROSS
Same reasons as “fun”, just a REALLY fun car to push around the cones. Plus I would love to get my daughter into it when she is old enough, and this car is a great option for that. It will make her a better and safer driver.
 

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Good comments here Heath, particularly the Sport mode discussion and the stiffer, more controllable road handling of the Abarth. The motor trend review points that out when he times the Lusso, (not even the sportier Abarth model) against the Clubman. The Miata is all over the track, making the driver think he went faster, but when he looks at the times, he did the course quicker in the better handling Fiat.
 

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Interior cabin noise level. Every review I have read of the Miata complains about the interior noise level when cruising. Almost to the point of being uncomfortable after several hours. The 124 is completely livable. I am able to carry on a conversation with my wife...top up or down without issue. I have spent 8 hours behind the wheel and felt quite fine afterwards...as I understand....something you would not want to do in the Miata.
 

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I have to say that one of the other reasons to love this car is that cost of entry is reasonable. You have plentiful options for upgrades with so many after-market sources. Passion with a capital "P" is your throttle! Go for it. Look at what a heavy duty P/U costs today, Double the cost. Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks everyone, for the wealth of enthusiastic responses! Any regrets for buying the Spider? Any weird reliability issues?
 

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Hi Heath,

There are so many reasons, it's almost hard to know where to start.

1. History. The original Fiat 124 was the first sports car in the lower to mid price range with double overhead cam, double wishbone suspension, four wheel disk brakes, and a five speed transmission. It's really the car that established the mold for all sports cars moving forward and the new 124 continues that tradition. Fiats also have a tremendous racing history. Fiat-Lancia has won the WRC 13 times, and with the new spider they may be headed for a comeback in rally racing. Mazda is the imitator here.

2. I know this is subjective, but I think the Fiat is better looking.

3. Bigger trunk

4. Stronger manual transmission. The automatics are the same, both cars use a unit made by Aisin.

5. Factory turbocharger. Not only does it have a turbocharger, but the whole engine is built to take a lot of power and abuse. It has a forged crank, forged pistons, and multiair. It's relatively easy to get a lot of power out of this engine.

6. The Abarth sounds better.

7. Better quality materials in the interior. Everything you touch inside the Fiat is made from comfy "soft-touch" materials. The MX-5 interior seem cheap by comparison.

8. Slightly bigger trunk

9. Thicker windshield for less wind noise.

Perhaps others will add more reasons. Of course I know some of those things are matters of opinion, and I am a long time Fiat fan, so my opinions are going to favor the Italian cars.

Greg
Greg,

You forgot:

10. Much bigger trunk. :D
 

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In fairness, Hwy84, I believe Mazda has corrected the transmission problem with the later 2016 and current models.
You're right, as long as he's buying new.

Also (unrelated): I hate that we can't edit posts on this forum. I'm the worst typist ever, especially on my phone, and I am constantly disappointed by the errors I see in my previous posts.

K. Back on topic. Buy a 124 Abarth. Miatas are great too... But BOOST is good.
 

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I actually listed that twice by accident. I'm not sure if that was forgetfulness or a Freudian slip. A little bit more room does matter when you have so little to start with.

Greg
It's a good feature, IMO. Changes the car from a weekend toy into something useful two people can go somewhere together in.
 
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