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Two things happened when the Fiat 124 Spider launched in Los Angeles last year. First it was nicknamed "Fiata" thanks to its chassis largely being shared with the Mazda Miata. And second, motoring enthusiasts around the world started mentally counting the days until the debut of a more potent Abarth variant. 46 days later, the 2017 Abarth 124 Spider is here.
The 124's four-cylinder 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo powertrain gets a slight retune and now delivers 170 horsepower, 10 more than the standard 124 Spider thanks to a freer flowing Record Monza sport exhaust. Torque is unchanged, still stated at 184 pound-feet. The promise of extra top-end power is nice, but knowing that the exhaust note will be as nice as the Abarth 500's has me grinning already.
The engine is mated to either a short-throw 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed Sequenziale Sportivo gearbox -- that's di marketing italiano for an automatic transmission with paddle shifters. From there a mechanical limited slip differential helps maintain tractions while putting power to the rear wheels.
Abarth's engineers were also able to get the 124's curb weight back to a Miata-like 2,336 pounds, down from the Fiat model's 2,400 stated poundage, thanks to careful material selection for many components.
The Abarth 124 Spider has a top speed of 143 mph and goes from 0 to 62 mph in 6.8-seconds. Helping bring the roadster to a stop is a Brembo braking system. The double-wishbone Mazda ND platform underpinning the 124 is fitted with "Abarth by Bilstein" upgraded dampers and stiffened sway bars.
Matte black treatments for the hood and trunk lid reduce glare. The interior is done up with black Alcantara trim and the pedals are aluminum. Each car is tested and certified by an Abarth technician at Officine Abarth facility in Mirafiori, Italy. This technician applies a metal plate with a unique sequential number to the rear bulkhead of each car.
The roadster rolls on 17-inch Forgiato Grey alloy wheels and the body features wind tunnel-shaped upgrades that also give it a more aerodynamic look.
The 2017 Abarth 124 Spider will be available in five colors when it arrives on European streets in September -- Turini 1975 White, Costa Brava 1972 Red, Isola d'Elba 1974 Blue, Portogallo 1974 Grey and San Marino 1972 Black -- each a tribute to Abarth's history in rallying. Pricing starts at €40,000 for all Europe. North American pricing and availability haven't been announced, but the price converts to $43,330, £30,810 or AU$59,675. I'd be surprised if getting a more potent (and more expensive) 124 variant into U.S. dealerships isn't already on the roadmap.