I've driven a manual Club a few times in the past week or so, also a Lusso manual and an Abarth auto, and I had many of the same observations. I'd add:I drove both an automatic 124 Classica (the only 124 available in my state at the time) and a manual Miata Club. I'm holding out for a manual Lusso which might not arrive anytime soon. My impressions:
- the Fiat is noticeably quieter inside, especially on the highway.
- the clutch and shifter in the Miata are fantastic. Of course I haven't driven a manual 124 to compare.
- there is slightly more headroom in the Miata due to its lightly padded top.
- the Fiat has a much better ride than the Miata Club. I drove the Miata through some road construction at about 30mph and it was bouncing all over.
- the view down the hood in the Fiat gives you the impression you're driving a larger car than the Miata, where you only see the tops of the fenders.