Whether or not you were impressed by Fiat’s redesign of Mazda’s new MX-5 Miata, also known as the Fiat 124 Spider, your ears might perk up when they hear that Abarth is already working on a mightier version.
Not even a full week after the Italian automaker revealed its new roadster at the LA Auto Show, rumors of a hotter version by its in-house tuning division, Abarth, have already surfaced. With the sale date of the Fiat 124 still about a year off, there’s still plenty of time for these rumors to be proven or disproven, but the initial word about a more hardcore variant is very good news indeed.
Accompanying this rendering by Omniauto.it are some performance specifications dug up by Piston Heads. The publication reports that the Abarth iteration will pack the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as the normal 124, but will be tuned from its current 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque to a healthier 200+ horses.
The standard Fiat 124 Spider already makes 5 more ponies and 36 more lb-ft of twist than Mazda’s MX-5, but that’s not enough for Abarth. In addition to the extra power, the tuning house will give the sports car a more aggressive body, including an optional black hood, stiffer suspension, larger brakes, and other handling tweaks. The target is to bring to life the inspiration of the Abarth 124 Stradale homologation car from the 1970’s. Like its ancestor, the Abarth 124 will be offered with a hard-top, too.
With only about 2,200 pounds to lug around, a 200-plus hp sports car will be a de facto enthusiasts dream … that is until Mazda gets around to building its rumored Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata.
In addition to the road-going Abarth version, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to race the Abarth 124 in the World Rally Championship (WRC) starting in 2017. The model is set to compete in a new sports car category. The last time Fiat was committed to that racing series was in the late 70s/early 80s when it won the WRC three times with its 131 Abarth.