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The current Fiat 124 Spider is the first turbo charged car I've owned. Previously, I've owned a variety of European sports cars, over 40 years. Prior to this spider I had a Mazda MX 5 which I bought new in 2014. I'd also owned examples of the two previous models.

From announcement of the Fiat/Mazda joint venture I'd followed developments with a keen I interest. Before the spider came to this country, motoring journalists had been critical. Some said a turbo was contrary to the ethos of the original European rag top, two-seater sportscar. Some were particularly concerned by the cars turbo lag.

Remembering journalists comments, this turbo-lag was something I was interested in assessing for myself during a test drive. Sure enough it was there. I deliberately sought it out in a variety of driving manoeuvres. That test drive was the last time I experienced the cars turbo-lag. As I'd expected, the test drive proved to me that the turbo-lag was easily avoided. Down shifting or, simultaneously dipping the throttle and clutch so a minimum of circa 2500rpm prevents turbo lag. Such practices also enhances my driver involvement.

Wouldn't know what to do in a car with an auto gearbox. I've never owned one.
 

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The only time I notice any lag is going around corners in 3rd. I imagine if I'd downshift to 2nd, it wouldn't be noticable.
 

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Wouldn't know what to do in a car with an auto gearbox. I've never owned one.
Push the throttle until it downshifts (kickdown), or use the paddles.

The lag is simply not an issue when you are driving in a 'spirited' manner, but it's occasionally a pain when you are just day to day driving around town and get caught in the wrong gear. Mostly though, I don't even think about it. Every car has its own characteristics to get used to when you first start driving it, after which you forget about them. This is the case with the lag in the 124 - learn it, adjust accordingly, forget about it.

Many UK / European drivers will be used to driving turbo diesels and won't even notice the lag in the 124.
 

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My '16 BMW 2 series has more turbo lag then the 124 Spider, the 124 its a real treat to drive. The auto is well suited for the power curve of the turbo motor.

Paul
 

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How I would describe turbo lag is... When you let the revs drop really low, say below 2000rpm. Then you want to accelerate. With turbo lag the acceleration isn't smooth or linear. Initially its slow to accelerate upto 3500rpm (i think) but then the car really goes into hyper drive.

I mostly notice this driving around multi-story carparks where after turning a tight corner, the car doesnt want to accelerate up a ramp to the next floor.

Interestingly I drive a lot of turbo-diesel vans at work and have never noticed their turbo lag. Maybe they have smaller turbos than come on earlier with less boost?
 

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How I would describe turbo lag is... When you let the revs drop really low, say below 2000rpm. Then you want to accelerate. With turbo lag the acceleration isn't smooth or linear. Initially its slow to accelerate upto 3500rpm (i think) but then the car really goes into hyper drive.
I mostly notice this driving around multi-story carparks where after turning a tight corner, the car doesnt want to accelerate up a ramp to the next floor.
Interestingly I drive a lot of turbo-diesel vans at work and have never noticed their turbo lag. Maybe they have smaller turbos than come on earlier with less boost?
What you are describing is not lag, but lack of low end torque. Diesels are famously strong in low end torque. Lag is the delay in spooling the turbo back to speed after it slows down. The turbo slows down as soon as you release the throttle because it doesn't have exhaust flow to keep it going. Lag is the time it takes between the moment you mash the throttle and the engine begins to pull hard. We agree that at 2000 RPM, it might take as long as 10 seconds because there is no torque there, but how about at 3000 RPM, is the power return nearly instantaneous?
Once again, I barely feel any lag in this engine, but it sure is awfully hollow below 2500 RPM.

EDIT: what Greg says above, in a lot fewer words! :)
 

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Seriously? The 124 is pretty laggy. When you are running a small 1.4 that relies heavily on its turbo, it’s always going to be a bit doughy off-boost. I don’t mind the lag though. The car embraces its turbo-ness rather then trying to hide it and it’s part of its character (wait for it....whooosh). Driving around it is part of the fun. But compared to other modern turbocharged cars I’ve owned and driven, it is pretty laggy.
 

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I have done 13,000km on mine and i have had no turbo lag issues for me to notice.
Not sure if it has to do with different Abarth Spider models? Here in Ozz we only have one version and that is the 170hp 125 kw version. The only issue i am experiencing is minor and that is a brake squeel every so often. Other than that? Nothing wrong with mine. ?��
 

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I think the reviews of the car with that complaint are from writers who don't know how to drive! At low rpm, like when parking, or moving around a parking lot certainly it is soggy. So was my 1.8 Miata! But who is driving around at 2500 rpm???
best regards
Pete
 

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I think that the real problem is that the diverter valve dumps it's guts every time you lift off the throttle between shifts.

The GFB DV+ easily solves that problem and enhances driveability tremendously.

If Fiat installed a better diverter valve on this car, I believe that the "lag" complaints would disappear from the reviews.
 

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I think that the real problem is that the diverter valve dumps it's guts every time you lift off the throttle between shifts. The GFB DV+ easily solves that problem and enhances driveability tremendously. If Fiat installed a better diverter valve on this car, I believe that the "lag" complaints would disappear from the reviews.
The GFB is certainly a BIG improvement over the stock DV, well worth the investment, a "one and done" kind of mod. On my Fusion Sport, I did a video of the custom axle-back exhaust I had made for it, car was still running the stock DV, and you could actually hear it bleeding boost when I was revving it up. Problem solved with putting a GFB piece on the Sport, so I'm assuming I'll get the same results with the Abarth.

Another thing that could help with this "turbo lag" is adding a GoPedal. It makes the throttle MUCH more responsive, had no idea of the "slack" in the stock drive-by-wire setup until after I installed one on the Abarth. The settings actually work, in that I had to dial mine down from Sport / +3 to +2, and for city driving, to +1. At +3, I kept banging my head on the headrests because it was so responsive, lol!
 

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I’ve never complained about the turbo lag, but it is definitely a bit laggy compared to most contemporary turbos I’ve driven. You have to accept that it’s part of the character of the car because it does feel a bit “old school turbo” to me. Some reviewers don’t accept it and think it’s a fault. I don’t agree it’s a fault, but saying that the 1.4 Multiair is “virtually devoid of turbo lag” makes me wonder if you are driving the same car as me.
 

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I think that the real problem is that the diverter valve dumps it's guts every time you lift off the throttle between shifts.

The GFB DV+ easily solves that problem and enhances driveability tremendously.

If Fiat installed a better diverter valve on this car, I believe that the "lag" complaints would disappear from the reviews.
I totally with Steve here... anyone who haven't tried a GFB DV+ on this car can't understand how much it change drivability and most of the turbo lag.
 
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I have always felt that automotive journalists largely over state the turbo lag issue. It's just not that big of a deal.

Greg
Not in the Fiat. In normal driving, it's just a characteristic of the car you adjust to. In spirited driving, you're in the power band so its no problem.

Terrified myself a few times borrowing my mom's Peugeot 3008 Turbo Diesel though - waiting for that thing to spool up as you pulled in to traffic was - err - interesting.
 

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It seems to be a matter of semantics. If you are operating an engine - any engine - below the rpm at which it begins to develop useful torque, there will be a "lag" while the engine struggles to use its inadequate torque to slowly build rpm to the point where the torque becomes more perceptible in accelerating the vehicle. The solution is not to complain about "lag" but to use the gearbox for its intended purpose: to keep the engine operating in its useful power band. I have to agree with pikeman that the only thing lagging is the operator's selection of the optimum gear for the current driving conditions.
 

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This car is absolutely dead and does nothing below 3,000 revs.

The turbo surge can be fun, and it is. But I see myself getting an ND2 in a few years for the better response. I’ll have to drive it first because it does have less torque.
 

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Also, everyone mentions lag because this is a really old turbo engine.

Many nowadays are twin scroll turbos that spool at 1,800 revs for peak torque (see BMWs)
 

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People confusing lag and boost threshold. Flooring at <2000 rpm isn't lag, it's that the turbo isn't providing any boost due to design/ECU etc
Now, flooring at 4000rpm and that little delay before power IS lag.

Alot if hot hatches now have full boost and torque from as low as 1500rpm, which is a low threshold.

In the 124 I find the threshold a bit annoying at times being quite high, lag wise it's not bad at all!
 
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