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With Alfa out, Mazda’s 2016 MX-5 Miata could morph into a different Italian sports car

Alfa Romeo may be out of the picture, but parent company Fiat apparently still has plans for an Italian version of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

The new Miata was originally supposed to underpin a new Alfa Spider, and then reportedly a standalone Abarth model, but now it appears the new roadster will have a Fiat badge.

It could turn out to be the second coming of the 124 Spider, according to Auto Express, which spoke with a confidential source about the plans.

The switch from Alfa to Fiat was reportedly brought on by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, who mandated that all Alfas must remain 100 percent Italian. Fiats, on the other hand…

Like the MX-5 itself, the Fiat sports car will emphasize light weight and nimble handling over outright power. It’s expected to weigh just over 2,200 pounds, and use Fiat’s 1.4-liter Multiair four-cylinder engine.

Base models probably won’t get too much power, but an Abarth performance version could see at least 200 horsepower.

The styling will also reportedly be somewhat retro, and so will the name.

The company recently filed trademark applications for “Fiat 124” and “Fiat 124 Spider” in the U.S., indicating it wants to bring back memories of that classic 1960s small sports car.

That would fit the brand’s U.S. image perfectly. The only Fiats currently sold in the States are versions of the super-retro 500, after all.

According to the report, Mazda and Fiat won’t pull a Toyobaru and launch both versions at the same time. The Fiat won’t appear until at least 12 months after the 2016 Miata goes on sale.

That means the reincarnated Fiat 124 Spider could arrive as early as next year. Unless Marchionne changes his mind again.