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badly translated by google
from "auto motor und sport (Germany)



Test Mazda MX-5 Skyactiv-G 160 against Abarth 124 Spider

Unequal brothers in the duel

Photo: Hans-Dieter Seufert 26 Pictures The Mazda MX-5 and the Abarth 124 Spider come from the same factory, are based on the same platform and are equal in many points. Nevertheless, they differ where it is important: when driving.

24.06.2017 Roman Domes 5 Comments Powered by
The list of cars with Italian-Japanese origin reads quite briefly - and that was so far so well. Just think of such total losses as the 1983 Nissan and Alfa Romeo assembled and splendidly failed Arna. Mazda and Fiat show that a few decades later:
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Comparison test Mazda MX-5 Skyactiv-G 160 against Abarth 124 Spider Sports car 05/2017 You will receive the complete article (including PDF, 6 pages)

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This is the hot MX-5 competitor 1:18 Min.

With the 124 Spider revive the Italians the myth of 1966 again. For the Revival, Fiat has chosen the latest edition of the best-selling roadster of all time: Mazda's MX-5, Generation ND. That is, by the way, a really successful car, but you know that by now. There are many similarities: the same wheelbase, the same roof, the same misshapen antenna - and that's it.
Photo: Hans-Dieter Seufert
Ways to Happiness: The MX-5 injects you with its whimsical anti-straight-forward handling, the Abarth brabbelt it to you without a break in the ear.


Already in the Fiat 124 Spider is a turbocharged engine, there with 140 hp. That is not enough, of course, to get the most powerful MX-5 with its 160-horsepower suction engine dangerous. Fiats house tuner Abarth has the right opponent: a 170 hp enhanced model. We already know the engine in a similar form from the other Abarth models such as the Punto and the 500 with all its special versions. For the 124, the 16-valve was adapted to drive the rear wheels. But is that enough to give the Mazda one?
Let's look at the other differences, away from the drive and the body extended by 14 centimeters. Driving dynamically relevant, for example, would be the brakes from the Brembo specialist, who bite on the front axle with four pistons in 280 millimeters. On the basic chassis concept, nothing has changed: Both use a double cross-beam construction at the front and a five-bar independent suspension at the rear. Difference: Abarth uses harder springs and shock absorbers from Bilstein plus thicker stabilizers on both axles.
MX-5 and 124 Spider - More than just a different body

Abarth also uses an FSD system. This means: "Frequency Selective Damping". This is intended to adapt the shock absorbers and their rebound to the requirements. Say: If you drive quickly and sportily, the shock absorbers should automatically harden. This is realized with an additional valve within the hydraulics of the damper, which creates a parallel oil flow and thus regulates the hardness. This works quite well - with a disadvantage, but more about that later.
Both Mazda and Abarth are sorted manually by six gears. With one difference, the control box comes from the NC generation of the MX-5. To the delight of all the openers, the roof mechanism is the same: unlock, push backwards, snap into place. This does not take five seconds, so it works at every traffic light. Let's take a quick look into the interior: In the Abarth, the speedometer in red, a bit softtouch here, a bit Alcantara da - otherwise everything as in the Mazda. Overall, around 70 percent of the installed parts are the same.
Photo: Hans-Dieter Seufert
With a few scorpions it is not done: Abarth packs a 170 hp turbocharged engine into the chassis, modifies the body, the chassis, the brakes and the exhaust.


While the Mazda gets its finish in Japan, the Abarth team cares their car in Italy - partly also in manual work, perhaps declares the self-conscious price of 40,000 euros. Either way, press the start button on the clutch. The starter is twitching. And then the small 1.4-liter in the 124 growls, as if it were a very large. Grrrrrr. Already the sound alone is enough: You grins, without starting at all. It always bubbles out of the tailpipes like air bubbles from hot springs. Abarth claims there is an exhaust flap installed. Yes? Where?
As you roam the first few miles, listen to the bawl, and take the curious looks of yourself, you notice that the Abarth has grown quite well. The long bonnet, the far overhanging stern. All this feels no longer so small, so playful as with the MX-5, but a bit more mature, a bit more mature and a bit more serious. And a bit heavier: 59 kilos are all in all. Because the 250 Nm (plus 50 to the Mazda) do really well. Because apart from the "Hello here I am" - the cheeky Abarth pushes you despite wall-power performance quite firmly in the sports seat. Above 2,500 tours the motor clamps the fist and presses the force on the cardan shaft.
The engine is allowed to play in Abarth

In the deepest regions of its speed cradle, the 1.4er picks up a few tenths of the pressure build-up. But this is negligible even in urban traffic. At the very top, about five and a half thousand, the single-camshaft loses a little bit of pleasure. Thanks to the consistently high torque at medium speeds, an earlier uplift does not occur negatively.
Consequence: you have to use the ratchet less often than in the more powerful MX-5. Although the alleyway in the Abarth not quite as perfect, high-and especially downshifting nevertheless works excellent; Thanks to the close together pedals also with tilted foot and intermediate gas, always underpinned by the cracking of the exhaust.
Photo: Hans-Dieter Seufert
Source of the joy in the Italian: The 1.4 Turbo brabbelt and pushes neatly.


The Abarth is the standard pace in 7.1 seconds off, two tenths faster than the MX-5. Up to 180 km / h the lead grows to almost one second. And while the Mazda at 218 km / h the air runs, the Abarth packs again 14 km / h on it. Much rather than on the search for high speeds, you go on the hunt for narrow country roads with as many curves as possible. The Abarth, with its willing front axle, does not show any nakedness. In comparison, he kicks in less after the first steering pulse, braces himself into his feathers and does not fidget immediately with the first impetuous steering movement with the stern.
BBR tunes Mazda MX-5
Miata with 245 hp
In addition, the turbomotor can be actively involved in the driving experience. You use its power, for example, to correct the slight under-steering, which occasionally occurs in the course of the curve. The power of the engine is enough to give the differential-locked rear axle a stupid - just like a good buddy with his elbow: Hey, a bit of fun must be!
The Brembo brake also plays well. The pedal is softened only under extreme conditions - for example, after more than six full brakes. Everything paletti, then? Yes and no. The 124 has two comfort zones: the winding route and the city, both of which he mastered with flying colors. At high speeds, however, the Abarth is trembling - possibly an unwanted side effect of the FSD system, which tightens the dampers from 140 too much. The Mazda MX-5 is missing these special dampers, and thus also the jagged in the entablature. The little Rabauke has other advantages, such as the 9,000 Euro cheaper price.
Different, but not worse

In normal life, the MX-5 is more reserved, revealing its talents only when the driver rides on it. This gives him a tad more serenity, but in the end as much as a ride in the 124th. In other words: In the Abarth you are jubilant about the car, in the Mazda you cheer with the car.
Photo: Hans-Dieter Seufert
So small, so fine: tiny, well-cut cockpit with superb ergonomics for people no larger than 1.85 meters.


You throw it into the curve quite unorthodox with a jagged one-stroke impulse, let the stern push out to the outside, catch it, trudel along the ideal line, bring the oh so desolate straights so fast it goes behind you and throws the shift stick only then into the Next alley when the engine is almost hammering into the limiter.
Without question: The more powerful car is clearly the Mazda, even if it is a bit slower in acceleration, elasticity and also on the small course in Hockenheim. That the two end in the end two points: luck for the Abarth! Two tiny tenths in the sprint and on the round bring him the two decisive counters and conquer him with the winner. He would not have been able to afford a draw at his prize.
Conclusion


Yes, the Mazda MX-5 - he always excites me, with his lively suction engine, his famose handling, his ease at every moment. I was skeptical about the Abarth: So a badge engineering product from Japan with an Italian sticker? That can be cheerful. It became! The 124 is an independent car despite the many equations. This does not change the cockpit, which has basically been taken over. The Spider is different. And: He's driving well. It sounds different. And: He sounds good. That's what matters! Not whether any switches or door handles differ. Only downside: the hefty price.


http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/vergleichstest/mazda-mx-5-skyactiv-g-160-im-test-gegen-abarth-124-spider-12016292.html
 

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I'm fluent in German so I retranslated the last paragraph. Would do more, but I'm leaving town tomorrow. Not a fan of translation software...

Ja, der Mazda MX-5 – er begeistert mich immer wieder, mit seinem quirligen Saugmotor, seinem famosen Handling, seiner Leichtigkeit in jedem Moment. Dem Abarth stand ich skeptisch gegenüber: So ein Badge-Engineering-Produkt aus Japan mit italienischem Sticker? Das kann ja heiter werden. Wurde es! Der 124 ist trotz der vielen Gleichteile ein eigenständiges Auto. Daran ändert auch das im Grunde eins zu eins übernommene Cockpit nichts. Der Spider fährt sich anders. Und: Er fährt gut. Er klingt anders. Und: Er klingt gut. Darauf kommt es an! Nicht, ob sich irgendwelche Schalterchen oder Türgriffe unterscheiden. Einziger Nachteil: der heftige Preis.

Yes, the Mazka MX-5 -- it surprises me over and over with its lively, naturally aspirated engine, its famous handling, and its ease (in every moment). I'm skeptical about the Abarth: Such a brand driven product from Japan with an Italian logo? That could be brilliant. And it is! Despite the many similarities, the 124 is its own car. It doesn't matter that it acquired its cockpit. The spider drives differently And: It drives well. It sounds different. And: It sounds good. That's what matters! Not whether any switches or door handles are different. The only disadvantage: the big price.
 

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That's exactly what seems to be lost on a lot of folks that I hear call the 124 a Miata: the 124 IS its own car.
 

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Good Article (I think)

Before considering the A124 I read a whole lot of articles comparing the Mazda to the Spider and TBH I was getting quite skeptical and frustrated that almost universally all suggested the Mazda as the better car. And the reasoning was always quite vague - normally along the lines of nit picking the Spider. I test drove the Mazda soon after the Spider and while the similarities were obvious the "thing" that really differentiated the cars for me was this - tootling around in the Mazda you may as well have been driving a Mazda 2 judging from the involvement required. While tootling around in the Spider - it was case of the Spider just egging you on, whispering to you "spank me, spank me....." Which I believe this article is sorta saying

However its incorrect about the Abarth suspension - its not FSD (that is by Koni)
 

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Man that was a tough read. What's the German equivalent of Chinglish?
 

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To be honest, most of the reviews I've read where they genuinely review the cars head to head bitch about the turbo lag in-town driving, prefering the na engine in the Mazda. Once out on the open road though, the lag is less of an issue and the suspension set up in the Fiat is preferable to the Mazda (less lean and bouncing off the stops).

The other thing I see a lot of in European reviews is bitching that the Abarth is too expensive, whereas US pricing versus the Mazda is pretty competitive. Fiat is obviously much more confident in its brand name in Europe than the US where it's still struggling to reestablish itself and shake off 40 year old stereotypes.
 

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Interesting that somehow the Abarth (standard with Brembos here) and the MX5 2.0 GT have wound up about the same price here in Aus. You could argue the Abarth is better bang for your buck here.
 
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