Fiat 124 Spider (16-) preview

  • Retro-inspired Italian sports car
  • Proven MX-5 underpinnings
  • Launch edition should have high resale value

The Fiat 124 Spider revives the original 1960s roadster name, but this time it’s based on the Mazda MX-5. It’s other rivals are a little harder to pin down as there aren’t too many two-seater sports cars, but buyers may also consider the Audi TT Convertible, the Fiat 500C and the MINI Convertible.

Last time Fiat sold a lightweight roadster in the UK it was the Barchetta – on sale between 1995 and 2006, this was a front-wheel drive, left-hand drive only model. This time around, however, the 124 Spider will be right-hand drive with power sent to the rear-wheels.

The Barchetta was undeniably beautiful, and Fiat hopes to attract at least as many fans with the 124 Spider’s retro looks, harking back to the original 1960s classic with its round, high-set headlights sitting beside the broad grille.

With a nod towards the ethos of lightweight performance, the roof will be manually operated by hand, however the multilayer hood and acoustic front windscreen will try and prevent the 2016 Spider from feeling as compromised as the ’60s original on long journeys.

Just one engine

With its long bonnet and low-set cabin, the 124 Spider will be powered by one engine only: Fiat’s 1.4-litre, turbocharged petrol, producing 138bhp and 240Nm of torque. Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, the 124 Spider will accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds and head towards a top speed of 134mph.

Range of trims available with a Limited Edition model from launch

Equipment levels are yet to be confirmed but check back on the Parkers website when the 124 Spider will be launched in the third quarter of 2016.

The entry-level model will be priced below £20,000, with standard equipment set to include:

• Four airbags

• Air-conditioning

• Cruise control

• 16-inch alloys

• USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity

• Keyless start

A seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 17-inch alloys, sat-nav, full LED headlights, leather upholstery, front fog lamps, climate control, and a BOSE sound system with integrated speakers in the headrests will also be available across the range.

Limited Anniversary Edition model

An Anniversary Edition will join the range to celebrate 50 years since the original Fiat 124 Spider was launched back in 1966. Priced at £23,295, the limited-run model will come with its own unique specification including the seven-inch touchscreen and sat-nav, nine-speaker BOSE audio system, 17-inch alloy wheels and a silver finish on the wing mirror casings, windscreen frame and roll-over bars. The number of examples available for the UK market will be of course, 124, and each will come with their own numbered plaque along with a badge on the front grille.

Watch out for the full Parkers Fiat 124 Spider review coming soon.