Fiat’s 124 Spider has returned as a 2017 model and while it’s based on Mazda’s MX-5 Miata there are plenty of key differences that sets them apart.
Though the 124 Spider was developed by Mazda for Fiat, not a single exterior panel is shared between the two models. Where the Miata is all about the curves Fiat is all about those creases and angles while incorporating some design cues from the original spider, like those dual hood blisters or the fared in headlights that are scooped out of the front fenders.
124 Spider’s Interior looks almost identical to the Miata except for a few minute details: Fiat steering wheel badge, seat covers, soft-touch material on the dash and different fonts and colors for the instrument cluster.
While the Spider and Miata share a 90.9-inch wheelbase, the Spider is 5.5 inches longer giving it a total length of 159.6 inches. Enough to change its proportions; longer and flatter rear and a more upright grille a bit farther from the windshield.
The rest of the dimensional differences are negligible; 124’s fenders is 0.2 inch wider and the roof is 0.1 inch lower.
Mazda uses a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four for the Miata but Fiat turned to a turbocharged, 1.4-liter engine, the same one used in the Fiat 500 Abarth and the difference shows in its power and torque output.
• Fiat: 160 horsepower at 5,500 rpm
• Mazda: 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm
• Fiat: 184 pound-feet at 2,500 rpm
• Mazda: 148 pound-feet at 4,600 rpm
Power to Weight
• Fiat: 15.2:1
• Mazda: 15.0:1
CarAndDriver noted that “the Fiat’s five additional horsepower gather full force 500 rpm sooner than in the Mazda, while its extra 36 lb-ft of torque hit full stride at just 2500 rpm—versus 4600 rpm in the Miata.”
Will you wait for Fiat’s 124 Spider when it goes on sale in summer 2016, in classical or luxury trim, or go with Mazda’s Miata?