Is the Fiat 124 Spider better than the Mazda MX-5?
[SOUND] The idea of an Italian sports car is an appealing one, style, charm, speed, clichés beyond all else.
For a while, trying to find an affordable new one has been hard because there hasn't really been one.
The Alpha 4C came close but was one too expensive and too Not very good.
So the news that Fiat's 124 was making a return was most welcome.
An Italian thoroughbred just for us, except.
It isn't an Italian thoroughbred.
Bits of it are Italian.
The engine, for example, is from an Alpha Romeo hatch back, and the styling is Fiat's.
But underneath It's pretty much a Mazda MX-5.
It lean be builds along side the Japanese car, where?
No, in Japan.
So I'm feeling a little less cliche and all lovie dubbie about Italian sports cars in Italian countryside and a little bit more confused.
Let's think about other famous Japanese Italian crossovers shall we.
Yeah, there are many, but the Fiat [UNKNOWN] seems like a good match up.
Let's look at Fiat.
It makes small Small cheap cars with a terrible reputation for falling to bits and great looks.
[UNKNOWN] conversely makes great cars that don't disintegrate in your hands and until recently, didn't create the most exciting motors to look at.
RX8 and MX5 excepted, of course.
This one [UNKNOWN] has gotten off to the best start
That said, I'm not a huge fan of the looks.
I know Fiat has done that whole, let's make the new car retro like the old car as they did with the Fiat 500.
But I kinda hope it grows on me.
Speaking of the original car, the 124 Sport Spider which began production in the mid 60s shared much
With a 124 saloon, though it sat on a shorter platform.
It was designed by Pininfarina, and look at it.
It's so pretty.
Production lasted until the mid 80s after Pininfarina took it over and called it the Pininfarina Europa Spider.
Because it succeeded it, the Barchetta may have looked good, but it was front wheel drive.
a 90's Fiat.
Take from that what you will.
There's a lot of love for the original 124, especially in Italy, and Fiat hopes that some of that will carry over into the new one Now once you get your head around the fact that no, this isn't a thoroughbred Italian sports car.
And that actually having it based around one of the best sports cars money can buy is a good thing.
Well then you can start to And look at it properly.
Its looks, for example, are challenging.
You can see where it took its inspiration from, sure, but somewhere along the line, these designers went to a circus and decided that clown shoe chic was en vogue.
The interior, mercifully, is more MX-5 than multiple trapeze, which means that's it a bit tight, but works nicely.
And because the roof mechanism is the same as the Mazda, you can raise and lower it with ease.
[SOUND] Did I mention [UNKNOWN] 124 is a bit bigger than the MX-5.
That said, clown shoes are always quite big.
Now on the power front, under there is a 1.4 liter turbocharged petrol [UNKNOWN] and it gives you a whole 138 horses to play with.
Now that's less than you get from the two liter [UNKNOWN] and just a little bit more, barely, than you get in the 1.5 liter [UNKNOWN].
However, on the torque front.
You get 177 pounds foot, which is way more then you'll get from a car from Japan.
If your hovering below 2000 RPM it really, really struggles.
This way's only a little bit over 1000 kilos you'd expect it to kind of carry it and be fine but really it doesn't.
When you're moving it feels fantastic because you don't have to rev it as hard.
You don't have to push it, you just ride it [UNKNOWN] you talk your way but with modern turbo charged engines a lot of them they don't have that Kinda turbo likes them but this, well, clearly it does.
Mercifully, the gearbox is brilliant because it's made by Master.
You got a lovely, notchy gear shift, the clutch is great, it's short, it's sharp, and it's direct.
Now, handling wise, you can play with it.
You can really have some fun with it.
You can push it quite hard.
It takes quite a bit of effort to make the rear even contemplate stepping out.
It has loads and loads of grip.
Now, on the steering front, [UNKNOWN] of course, fiddles with it, over the Mazda.
It's a lot more relaxed.
It's not quite as direct, I think, as you get in an MX5.
Now whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, it makes for a much more relaxed drive.
You still get fantastic feedback through it, but it's just not quite as sharp.
It's a little smoother, think as is the suspension.
The most, you turn in and it does lean quite a bit but with this it's all about the comforts or at least that's what Fiat says.
They want this to be a sports car you can use day to day which I thought a Mazda MX5 was to be honest.
Since it weighs a little over 1,000 kilos, the 124 will hit 62 from rest in 7.5 seconds.
And it'll top 135 miles an hour, if you commit it.
So it's based on one of the best sports cars on the market.
It has less power, but more torque.
And it looks like Shoe.
But, this is all about being a fun Italian sports car, one that appeals to both heart and head.
I know I said I wasn't gonna come over all cliche and what have you, but it finally made sense to me.
This is, even though it's not, an Italian.
Its engine, you don't need to work it quite as hard.
It doesn't really like to scream.
It doesn't sound that good.
But when you're driving around town, when you're showing yourself and your new Fiat 124 off, that doesn't matter.
The 124 feels happiest really Going around roads like this, not super hard core.
You know you can drive it eight-tenths and it feels great.
You can drive it at ten-tenths and it'll look after you.
It'll reward you even, it'll make you feel fantastic.
But really, you want eight-tenths, a lovely road.
And someone pleasant next to you to share the experience with.
I would probably go for the Mazda, I prefer its looks, I like the rowdiness of the 2 litre engine.
It more suited to idiots, such as myself.
Whereas I can see buyers, maybe a little older, Maybe he wants something that they think looks good that makes a pleasantish noise and is quite peppy to travel the country in.
A fair place, this is based on one of the best thoughts cars money can buy and it Showing through.
To start with, I was confused about [UNKNOWN].
Could it really be a proper Italian sports car if it was partly Japanese.
After all it is build there and a lot of the under the skin bits are from the Mazda.
However, having spent some time with it, the way it looks, controversial that may be, the way it goes and the way it feels.
It may be part Japanese, but in reality, it's as Italian as they come.