But then there’s the Aurelio Lampredi factor. It’s Lampredi’s 22-year-long legend as chief engineer at Fiat that the 2017 124 Spider Abarth must contend with. Lampredi, who drew up Ferrari racing engines in the early 1950s and joined Fiat in 1955, designed the Fiat Twincam four-cylinder engine that powered all the original 124 Sport Spiders from the first 1967 model until the last one left production in 1985 as the Pininfarina Spider.
Now it has a competitor in the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider, which reappears after an absence of 50 years. That’s because Mazda decided to sell the basic MX-5 chassis and other components to Fiat. Moreover, the 124 is built in a Mazda plant in Hiroshima, Japan.
Performance enthusiasts in search of a sportier, more responsive driving experience will appreciate the Abarth’s sport suspension with Bilstein shocks, mechanical limited slip differential, Sport Mode selector and sport-tuned, chrome quad-tip exhaust. Brembo brakes and Recaro seats are optionally available.
All versions of the drop-top come with a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo four-banger, which produces 160 HP and 184 lb-ft (249 Nm) of torque on the Classica and Lusso and 164 HP and 184 lb-ft (249 Nm) on the Abarth, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic.