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Fiat is turning the Miata into a Boxster-slaying enthusiast-focused roadster

Fiat is putting the final touches on the Mazda Miata-based 124 Spider, and a new report finds the Turin-based automaker’s next project is to develop a more powerful version of it.

While the regular 124 will be powered by a Fiat-sourced 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, the Abarth-massaged model will benefit from a turbocharged and direct-injected 1.7-liter four-banger lifted straight from the Alfa Romeo 4C parts bin. The mill will be tuned to make approximately 200 horsepower, and while that’s nearly 40 less than the 4C, it’s almost 50 more than the Miata on which it is based.

Whether the Abarth will be equipped with the 4C’s six-speed dual-clutch transmission or ship with a more enthusiast-focused six-speed manual gearbox is an open question, and ultimately, Fiat could choose to offer both options. Regardless, adding forced induction should allow the 124 to hit 60 mph from a stop in less than five seconds, a figure that will make it faster than a base model Porsche Boxster.

The extra power will be complemented by Abarth-designed suspension components that will make the ride stiffer, beefier brakes on all four corners, and a less intrusive traction control system.

Visually, the Abarth will stand out from the regular 124 thanks to a much more aggressive look characterized by deeper bumpers on both ends, a specific grille, four round exhaust tips, and an air diffuser integrated into a new rear bumper. Of course, model-specific emblems and alloy wheel designs will round out the exterior modifications.

Related: Alfa-powered 500X Abarth in the works?

The regular Fiat 124 Spider will most likely be presented to the public at the Los Angeles Motor Show that will open its doors in November, but the Abarth model will be kept under wraps until the start of next year’s Geneva Motor Show. If the rumor turns out to be true, look for it to land in showrooms in approximately a year as a 2017 model.