Abarth 124 Spider Road Test

motoring north west, motoring road tests, latest renaults, motoring accessories, motoring products, top gear road tests, Renault road tests, volvo road tests, Citroen road tests, StartMonkey, alcosense breathalyser, motoring jobs in the north west, car accessories, car products, winter tyres, Dacia logan road test, dacia duster road test, Renault zoe , Renault Twizy road test, Rocketcentre blackburn, Goodyear tyres, classic car restoration, classic car restorers in the north west, car specification sheets, latest traffic news, latest north west traffic news, warner street practice accrington, web cats design studio, north west website design, camping holidays, chorley nissan, bowker bmw, lexus bolton, hybrid cars, range rover road tests, kia cee'd road test, carlos italian restaurant colne, accounting companies in lancashire, accounting companys lancashire, portrait studios accrington, video products, ford cars, vauxhall cars, Toyota cars, ducati bikes lancashire, motoring news, jaguar f type, latest 4x4, SUV,wicked weasel bikinis, motoring jobs north west, used cars, used bikes,  second hand cars for sale north west, thundersprint 2014, thundersprint 2015, msp motors, ducati bikes, llexeter bikes, llexeter scooters,

motoring north west, motoring road tests, latest renaults, motoring accessories, motoring products, top gear road tests, Renault road tests, volvo road tests, Citroen road tests, StartMonkey, alcosense breathalyser, motoring jobs in the north west, car accessories, car products, winter tyres, Dacia logan road test, dacia duster road test, Renault zoe , Renault Twizy road test, Rocketcentre blackburn, Goodyear tyres, classic car restoration, classic car restorers in the north west, car specification sheets, latest traffic news, latest north west traffic news, warner street practice accrington, web cats design studio, north west website design, camping holidays, chorley nissan, bowker bmw, lexus bolton, hybrid cars, range rover road tests, kia cee'd road test, carlos italian restaurant colne, accounting companies in lancashire, accounting companys lancashire, portrait studios accrington, video products, ford cars, vauxhall cars, Toyota cars, ducati bikes lancashire, motoring news, jaguar f type, latest 4x4, SUV,wicked weasel bikinis, motoring jobs north west, used cars, used bikes,  second hand cars for sale north west, thundersprint 2014, thundersprint 2015, msp motors, ducati bikes, llexeter bikes, llexeter scooters,Jap2Jap North west car club,subaru wrx,fiat spider 124.fiat tipo,suzuki baleno,


motoring north west, motoring road tests, latest renaults, motoring accessories, motoring products, top gear road tests, Renault road tests, volvo road tests, Citroen road tests, StartMonkey, alcosense breathalyser, motoring jobs in the north west, car accessories, car products, winter tyres, Dacia logan road test, dacia duster road test, Renault zoe , Renault Twizy road test, Rocketcentre blackburn, Goodyear tyres, classic car restoration, classic car restorers in the north west, car specification sheets, latest traffic news, latest north west traffic news, warner street practice accrington, web cats design studio, north west website design, camping holidays, chorley nissan, bowker bmw, lexus bolton, hybrid cars, range rover road tests, kia cee'd road test, carlos italian restaurant colne, accounting companies in lancashire, accounting companys lancashire, portrait studios accrington, video products, ford cars, vauxhall cars, Toyota cars, ducati bikes lancashire, motoring news, jaguar f type, latest 4x4, SUV,wicked weasel bikinis, motoring jobs north west, used cars, used bikes,  second hand cars for sale north west, thundersprint 2014, thundersprint 2015, msp motors, ducati bikes, llexeter bikes, llexeter scooters,

Share on Google Bookmarks Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Share via e-mail Print

Padiham Windows Ltd

Albion Wipers & Rags

Copyright © Motoring North West 2016, Copyright | Privacy Policy|Terms & Conditions

Check out the very latest news from the road in our News & Views sections, from AIM and our own motoring team.

Editorials

Edited & Supported By Web Cats Design Studio, Presented & Editorials By Mark Stone

Lifestyle hints For The Road

Check out the latest gadgets to assist you on the roads and adventures, including the latest lifestyle tips.

Classic Car Shows

Come and join our Mark at the Classic Car Shows around the North West.


Read More & Dates ……

Join our Mark, as the old saying goes a change is as good as a rest and from April our Mark will be joining the team at Drystone FM with his new show Back Seat Driver.

Cats

At Home

Sitting

Service

A FREE one-stop-shop for hotel accommodation and travel bookings for businesses and individuals worldwide.

We also secure conference venues to suit any event.

Views & News

CARLO’S WAY


When I tested Fiat’s long awaited new 124 Spider I had but one slight concern and that was the exhaust didn't crackle enough when the car was opened up. I was however told by Fiat’s powers that be that my requirement for more noise from the rear would be answered in a month or so. And so it has, Fiat’s delightful 124 Spider having gone through basic training and fast tracked to special forces. It's also popped out wearing the famous Abarth scorpion badge that until now has only made a reappearance on the quick and super trendy 500’s.


But why bother with a new badge even though the Abarth range is ostensibly starting to become a stand alone brand. Well, its like this! Quite a few years ago or back in 1908 to be precise a young Austrian lad called Karl Abarth was born in Vienna under the astrological star sign of Scorpio so hence the badge. Soon as he was able, young Karl hopped it over to Italy where it turn out he wasn’t half bad at engineering, preparing racing motorbikes and racing them for other people then for himself eventually becoming five-times European champion. One quick accident later and Karl gave up two wheels for three an raced his self-built combination from Vienna to Ostend and beat the Orient Express.


Shift on a bit and after WWII had been dispensed with Carlo as he was now since it sounded more Italian had a chat with his old mates the Porsche family then Tazio Nuvolari which all lead to Carlo setting up Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia better known as Cisitalia and eventually Abarth & C with its headquarters in Turin. Manufacturing manifolds and performance parts for Porsche, Fiat, Lancia and Simca along with various racing based cars, 1971 saw Fiat buy and promptly kill off the Abarth name although it did appear on certain commercial vehicles and the then ‘boy racer’ special the Autobianchi A112 Abarth.


In many ways though it was the infamous Fiat 500 Abarth, best known for running with their engine covers jacked open to keep them cool and the red and yellow 124 Abarth rally cars that for while at least kept Carlo’s surname and reputation alive, long enough it seems for a long overdue come back.


Jump to the present day and Fiat have revived the Abarth name and the famous ‘race car’ looks and added them to their performance range of cars, the brand teetering on ‘stand alone’ status. First as already mentioned, the quick 500’s and now their 124 Spider, the end result being a two-seater that whilst it might not be the fastest thing on four wheels, seriously looks the business. And whilst there’s varying degrees of ‘Abarthness’ opt for the one with all the toys and trimmings and you’ll have a sportscar that really does stand out from the crowd.


The basic Abarth recipe is to take a 124 Spider and add the following. Halogen headlights and LED rear lights, a matte black bonnet and boot lid, deep black grille and intakes, piano black 17” alloys and 205/45 performance tyres along with a red splitter, racing style towing eye, red wing mirrors and red Brembo brake calipers, Bilstein sports suspension and a four tailpipe Monza exhaust system and there you have it, a 124 Abarth Spider.


But it doesn't stop there, throw in some black leather with red stitching, heated sports seats, alcantara trim embossed with the Scorpion logo, aluminium pedals, red dials, a thicker leather steering wheel with a red leather ‘straight ahead’ insert at the 12 o’clock position, Abarth mats, the all important numbered plaque and a few other bits and pieces and you’ve hit Abarth overload and what a visual pleasure it is.


OK, so you don’t have to go quite as extreme as having every piece of trim enhancement fitted but it'd be being rude to Carlo if you didn't. But the one thing the Austro-Italian engineer would have been proud of is to be found under the bonnet, the fact Fiat has taken their little 1.4 MultiAir and extracted far more out of it, something that was always an Abarth trademark.

Delivering 170hp at 5,500rpm which ensures they sports exhaust is singing at its loudest and 250Nm of torque which ensures even with the hiked traction control turned on, this 124 will wag its backside, this 124 is an instant hit. Returning a respectable 36mpg even when driven with brio and gusto, you can expect 350 or even more miles per refill, the longitudinally mounted 4-cylinder Fiat derived turbo charged MultiAir engine sings. Dial in ‘Sport’ mode and things get better, the engine, throttle and steering more responsive, the four tailpipes even more sonorous.


If I had to belittle the 124 Abarth as tested and seen here its the fact it was supplied with the 6-speed automatic/paddle operated sequential transmission. Call me old fashioned but a car like the Abarth should to my mind be manual allowing the driver the fullest control and the option of being able to orchestrate gear usage. Ratio shifting aside, the 124 Abarth Spider is a sheer joy to drive albeit certain onlookers will decry the fact the car utilises certain Mazda MX5 components. The standard 124 Spider uses about 22% of the MX5’s build namely the floor pan, rear suspension turrets, gearbox casing, certain pieces of interior trim and the folding soft top.


But that’s where it ends, both 124 models lower, wider, slightly longer and in most respects better looking. And in Abarth guise the Mazda connection is even less so take note. There's nothing at all wrong with the MX5 but disavow yourself of the notion that the 124 Spider is nothing more than badge engineering.


Drop the roof, hit the start button, engage ‘Sport’ and just enjoy. The engine and exhausts perform a duet and whilst the stiffer suspension can cause a more edgy ride, its exactly what this 124 is all about. On smooth surfaces when combined with the seats, the Abarth is remarkably comfortable especially on long journeys, the steering is well weighted and provides all the feedback you're likely to need and responds instantly.


Even when pushed hard the car’s attitude is impressively neutral only a determined right foot and aggressive steering provoking the rear end into an easily caught, smile inducing slide. With the traction control turned off, you can make this little Abarth dance, the sounds, the feel, the feedback, the aural sensations all combining to make every journey a pleasure to a degree, even if there wasn't a long way round, you’ll go and find one.


The 124 Abarth Spider as tested will cost you 34,365 OTR whilst the basic version is all yours for a mere 29,620. Granted, in comparison to even the range topping standard Fiat 124 Spider, going Abarth adds a significant chunk of change but so what. You can select from black, blue or grey metallics and two pastel shades along with interior colour packs whilst the matte black bonnet and boot are also optional extras. But if you can afford the extra, do Carlo a favour and go the whole hog. You’ll more than likely be disappointed if you don't!


Before we draw this review to a close, if the 124 Abarth did just one thing it was attract positive attention. Over time I have the chance to drive some of the most desirable and fastest cars on the market but in comparison, none of them have come close to this 124. People actually crossed the road to take a closer look. Questions ranged from ‘what is it?’, ‘how much are they’, ‘where can I find out more information’, ‘please can I have a sit in it’, ‘I've never seen one of these before’ and most alarmingly, ‘I didn't know Fiat made a sportscar anymore’.


The response to the 124 Abarth was incredibly positive but it did highlight one thing. Why aren't Fiat making more of and advertising both the 124 Spiders. And whilst not every potential customer will drive away in the Abarth version, the more conventional 124 is still an exceptional two-seater. So come on Fiat, like the 124 Abarth, make a bit more noise about your new proper sportscar. Fiat has a cracking little car in both 124’s, so its about time they the most of them.


By; Mark Stone


Model 124 Abarth Spider
Price 34,365 as tested
Engine 1,368cc 4-cyl Turbo Multiair
Transmission 6-speed automatic / sequential
Performance 0-62 mph: 6.8 secs / 142mph
C02 150
Economy 36mpg as tested




The Abarth 124 Spider Road Test