The 124 Spider is both the newest model in Fiat's lineup and the revival of a 50 year old nameplate.
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.
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.
Every exterior panel is unique to the 124. The model feature a profile that is evocative of the original 1966 124 Spider.
The deeply creased hood works with the angry headlamps to create an aggressive front fascia.
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.
The cabin is the area that retains the most surface Mazda DNA. However, the Fiat has unique doors panels, color schemes and materials.
The 124's seats are also unique to the Fiat and are quite comfortable and supportive despite their retro styling.
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.
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.
The 124 features more angular shoulders than the Miata, which is more curvaceous.
Fiat tells me that the 124 Spider slightly heavier than the Miata, but within 100 pounds when similarly equipped.
Consequently, the Fiat's suspension gets a retune to compensate for the additional weight and to achieve the driving characteristics that Fiat wanted.
The Fiat is powered by a 1.4-liter Multiair turbocharged engine that outputs 160 horsepower and an impressive 184 pound-feet of torque.
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.
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.