I am getting pretty tired of journalists saying that it's a Miata/MX5. That's just not accurate. If anything the Miata/MX5 is a Fiat 124, here is why.
It's relatively well known that the original Miata's styling was based on the 60's Lotus Elan. However mechanically those two cars couldn't be much more different. The Elan had a backbone chassis and a fiberglass body, the Miata is an all steel unit-body car. The Elan also occupied a totally different spot in the market. They were priced like a Corvette, and not too far below an XKE, nowhere near what you would call an entry level sports car.
It's very clear that in mechanical terms the Miata was very closely based on the original 124. In 1966 the 124 was a low priced sports car with a twin cam 4 cylinder, double wishbone front suspension, a 5 speed transmission and 4 wheel disk brakes. The only other cars to have those features in the 60's were much more expensive. The original Miata's specs are very similar. Mazda added 4 valves per cylinder and updated the rear suspension, but those were to be expected by 1989.
The Miata also took the exact spot in the market that Fiat had abandon in 1985 when the last 124 Spiders were built. (they were called Pininfarina Spiders by then).
So as I see it, the original Miata was an updated Japanese 124. What about this latest model? It was co-designed by Fiat and Mazda. The Mazda version was released first, but that doesn't make the Fiat a Mazda, any more than the Mazda would be a Fiat had they released the new 124 first.
Once people start driving these things I think they will find that the Fiat has a different feel to it and will be the sportier of the two, and will likely be more fun. The new 124 is the successor of the original 124 and not just a dressed up Miata.
Oh, one more thing. For decades it was always pronounced "one twenty four", not " one, two, four". I am not sure if that's a way Fiat is trying to differentiate it from the older cars, or if I just hearing this because journalists don't know any better.