After teasing Americans from a distance at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month, a production version of a meaner Fiat 124 Spider has been unveiled by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in advance of its New York premiere.
The 2017 Fiat 124 SpiderÂ Elaborazione Abarth is a mouthful to pronounce, but the Old World name should help add some metaphysical distance between this massaged roadster and its Mazda MX-5 Miata underpinnings.
At Geneva, the word was that the Abarth version of the Spider would benefit from a 10 horsepower boost, but that’s sadly not the case on this side of the Atlantic â€” or Pacific, since it’ll be built in Japan. Both Spiders will share the same turbocharged MultiAir 1.4-liter four-cylinder, mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, the latter outfitted with paddle shifters in the Abarth.
A sport mode allows wannabe racers to prime theÂ Elaborazione Abarth for better performance if the feeling hits them. One press of the button re-writes the feedback a driver can expect from the vehicle’s engine, (automatic) transmission, steering and suspension.
Powertrains aside, theÂ Fiat 124 SpiderÂ Elaborazione takes full advantage of the Abarth goodies bag to differentiate itself from its boulevard-bound sibling. Brembo brakes, Recaro seats, Bilstein front and rear shocks and a mechanical limited-slip differential ensure the vehicle stays plantedÂ â€” and the driver, too.
The exterior clearly intends to telegraph the spiritual difference between the Abarth and lesser Spiders. Matte black paint coats the hood, lower fascia and rockers, while gunmetal grey 17-inch aluminum wheels and a quad chrome-tipped exhaust suggests this Italian is a fighter, not a lover.
The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth and its stock siblings are expected to filter into grateful dealerships this summer, andÂ not a moment too soon.
[Image: FCA US LLC]