Fiat 124 Spider Abarth
The 2018 Fiat
124 Spider pays homage to the original 124 Spider, introduced 50
years ago and revived for 2017, with classic Italian styling and
Italian roadster experience is a combination of technology and
safety, with driving excitement and iconic design. The current 124
Spider reinterprets design cues from the original, one of Fiat’s
most beautiful cars, with a low-slung profile, classically beautiful
body sides, balanced proportions and sporty cabin-to-hood ratio.
are available –– the bare-bones Classica ($24,995), the
more-comprehensively equipped Lusso ($27,495) and, for performance
enthusiasts, the aggressive Abarth ($28,195) –– the
most-affordable turbo-powered convertible in America.
come standard with a MultiAir Turbo 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine
with twin intercoolers and an air intake; the engine’s first
application in a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, producing best-in-class
160 horsepower in the Classica and Lusso, and 164 hp in the Abarth.
A six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic
sends power to the rear wheels.
packages for the Lusso and Abarth have been updated for 2018,
allowing customers more flexibility. One package – the Technology
and SiriusXM Group ($1,295) – is available for the base Classica.
Comfort and Convenience, Navigation and Sound, and Visibility Groups
are available for Lusso and Abarth.
Red Top Edition is available for the Lusso, and red Brembo
four-wheel disc performance brakes are available for the hot Abarth.
exterior colors are available for 2018 – Puro Bianco Perla
(Tri-Coat White Pearl, $595), Grigio Chiaro (Silver Metallic) and
Blu Scuro (Dark Blue Metallic). Up to eight exterior colors are
available, depending on the model chosen.
My 124 Spider
Abarth was Grigio Chiaro with red-stitched Nero Black leather and
microfiber sport seats, fitted with the sox-speed AISIN automatic
transmission, riding on 17-inch Gun Metallic aluminum wheels with
three-season performance tires.
brakes ($1,495) peeked through the five V-shaped spokes. Gun Metal
exterior accents (rearview mirrors, headlight and DRL housings)
added sportiness, along with unique aggressive-looking front and
rear fascia. Wide rectangular LED taillights were easy to see.
punctuated the trunk lid and the middle of the creased hood, with
smaller representations in red on the wheel hub covers. Abarth is an
Italian racing- and road-car manufacturer founded by Carlo Abarth.
The shield shows a black stylized scorpion on a yellow and red
background. A hand-painted Heritage Racing Stripe is available for
performance-tuned suspension (specifically tuned for greater
stability during braking and turning), limited-slip differential,
and a driving mode selector with Sport and Normal modes were
standard. A sport-tuned exhaust with four dark-chrome tips added the
world-renowned Abarth sound.
automatic transmission added $1,350, and included a leather-wrapped
shift knob and steering wheel paddle shifters. The AISIN provided
smooth full-throttle launches and quick upshifts and downshifts,
delivering a more-direct feel in response to acceleration.
Group ($995) included adaptive LED headlights (maintains a wide
field of vision by adjusting the headlight position according to
steering angle and vehicle speed); automatic headlight leveling
(keeps beams focused on the road by adjusting the headlight position
according to vehicle angle); LED daytime running lamps; and
Getting in was
a challenge, as the sill was tall and wide and the roof (in the up
position, of course – it is December) was low. The interior of the
124 Spider is small – it is a roadster – and the seats are
narrow with bolstering that could be uncomfortable for larger
passengers. A small armrest with a covered cubby and a storage spot
for a phone divides the seats, and a glovebox cubby is large enough
for a small or medium-size purse and a few other things between the
holders could be positioned on the front sides of the center console
(near the knees) or the back of the console (behind the elbows, in
front of the glovebox – not very convenient). Speakers integrated
into the headrests were a little tinny.
BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM)
audio system was AM/FM/Bluetooth with Pandora, Aha, and Stitcher
apps, a seven-inch display, and four speakers. Bluetooth was capable
of displaying incoming text and email messages. The system did not,
however, include Android Auto or Apple CarPlay capability. The
system was nav-capable, although my 124 Spider didn’t have nav.
Two USB ports meant that passenger and driver could each charge a
seats were set low, an appropriate driving position for a roadster,
and had recline and fore-and-aft adjustments. As room for
adjustments was limited, one could choose to recline or move fully
aft for long legs, not both at once. Room for the passenger was
slightly claustrophobic, with a low, thick windshield frame and a
wide transmission tunnel intruding on the passenger-side floor
through the front was good and the rearview mirror was above average
for a roadster, thanks to the low, sloping rear deck. Due to the
wide rear supports of the cloth roof, rear three-quarter visibility
was severely limited. A Comfort and Convenience Group ($1,495)
brought Blind Spot and Cross-Path Detection to cover that area.
also had ParkSense Rear Park Assist, heated exterior mirrors,
auto-dimming rearview mirror, universal garage door opener, and a
security alarm. A standard ParkView Rear Backup Camera also helped
when backing from a parking space.
Bumps and dips
were felt, as expected in a roadster, with smaller imperfections
well absorbed. Irregular road surfaces or seams caused a slight
rocking effect due to the short wheelbase.
expected in a cloth-top convertible, some road and wind noise were
noticeable, depending on road conditions. My Abarth had an acoustic
headliner to help absorb some of that noise. The manual top was
exceptionally easy to use by releasing a handle at the front edge
control knobs were simple and easy to reach. Infotainment knobs were
also close, clearly marked and easy to use. The sport instrument
cluster had a large tachometer in the center, flanked by the
speedometer and gas and temperature gauges.
trunk was small, as expected, but low to the ground for an easy
liftover. I managed to stuff lots of groceries and cat supplies in,
although luggage for a long road trip would not be possible or
Enhanced Accident Response System will cut off fuel to the engine,
flash hazard lights as long as the battery has power or the ignition
key is turned off, turn on the interior lights (the same as the
hazard lights), and unlock the doors.
124 Spider Abarth was fun to drive, and could manage zero to 60 mph
in 6.6 seconds. Once up to highway speed, overtaking was quick and
nimble, even darty at highway speeds, with minimal body roll in
turns. Braking was firm and straight.
My Abarth was
EPA rated for 25 mpg city/36 highway, and I managed 32.4 mpg driving
mostly on the highway.
With $5,335 in
options and $995 in destination charges, my 124 Spider Abarth
delivered for $34,525.