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2017 Fiat 124 Spider: the Fiata is fi-awesome!

With peppy, turbocharged engine and generous helping of Italian style, we hit the road in the Mazda Miata-based Fiat 124 Spider roadster.

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antuan-roadshow-headshots-jpegs-1893-007.jpg

Antuan Goodwin

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider
1 of 42 Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The 124 Spider is both the newest model in Fiat's lineup and the revival of a 50 year old nameplate.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
2 of 42 Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The Spider is based on the same underpinnings and chassis as Mazda's MX-5 Miata, which has earned it the nickname "Fiata." However, it has been totally reimagined for a unique roadster experience.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The 124 is 5-inches longer from bumper to bumper than the Mazda with the same wheelbase. The additional overhang nets the Fiat a bit of extra trunk space.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

Every exterior panel is unique to the 124. The model feature a profile that is evocative of the original 1966 124 Spider.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The deeply creased hood works with the angry headlamps to create an aggressive front fascia.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The headlamps are larger than the Miata's and feature halo LED elements. Fiat says they give the 124 an "approachable" face, but I think they look more predatory.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The cabin is the area that retains the most surface Mazda DNA. However, the Fiat has unique doors panels, color schemes and materials.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The 124's seats are also unique to the Fiat and are quite comfortable and supportive despite their retro styling.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The windshield frame is an easy way to tell 124 Spiders apart. The entry Classicas have color matched hoops. The luxurious Lusso has a silver frame. The enthusiast friendly Abarth models feature dark trim.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
10 of 42 Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

Despite having unique seats, the 124 shares its Bose audio system with headrest speakers with the Mazda Miata. Like the Miata, the system feature unique audio signatures for top down and roof up listening.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The 124 features more angular shoulders than the Miata, which is more curvaceous.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

Fiat tells me that the 124 Spider slightly heavier than the Miata, but within 100 pounds when similarly equipped.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

Consequently, the Fiat's suspension gets a retune to compensate for the additional weight and to achieve the driving characteristics that Fiat wanted.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The Fiat is powered by a 1.4-liter Multiair turbocharged engine that outputs 160 horsepower and an impressive 184 pound-feet of torque.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider

With significantly more torque, the 124 Spider feels more responsive than the Miata in a straight line. However, the lighter more playful Mazda retains a slight handling edge.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
16 of 42 Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

Interestingly, the more torquey Fiat is just as affordable as the Mazda. In fact, it's just a hair less expensive for the top trim levels.

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider
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