A rally version of the Fiat 124 Spider Abarth has upstaged the reveal of the production version at the Geneva motor show.
Sporting quad LED driving lights, white alloys, sticky Michelin rubber and a 224kW 1.8-litre turbocharged engine with sequential six-speed transmission, the 124 Rally Abarth celebrates 40 years since the previous model’s last race – the 1976 Monte Carlo Rally.
It is more than a concept, too, having been engineered to FIA R-GT category homologation rules, in which a Lotus Exige R-GT competes among others. Being an MX-5 at its core, the 124 Rally Abarth is therefore the most hardcore version of the Fiat and Mazda roadster twins we’ve yet seen.
The production 124 Spider Abarth gets a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 127kW and 250Nm, extinguishing strong rumours the hot Abarth version would score the 4C’s 1.7-litre turbo – complete with around 177kW/350Nm.
The Abarth version boasts outputs only 23kW and 10Nm higher than the regular 124 Spider. It weighs 1060kg and claims a 6.8-second 0-100km/h, making it 27kg heavier and a half-second faster than a 2.0-litre MX-5.
Abarth claims 50:50 weight distribution and includes a mechanical limited-slip differential as standard equipment – as per any manual MX-5.
Bilstein dampers, stiffer anti-roll bars and Brembo brakes amp up the dynamic aggression with the 124 Spider, though standard 17-inch alloy wheels remain and likewise choice of six-speed manual or automatic.
An exhaust system dubbed Record Monza is claimed to generate “a beautiful growling sound” because according to the Fiat “the sound of engine really matters in an Abarth car”.
Meanwhile a sportier steering wheel, red-faced central tachometer, ribbed sports leather seats and Alcantara inserts across the dashboard, armrest and handbrake and gearshift surrounds distance the Abarth version from its 124 Spider and MX-5 cousins inside.
In Australia we may only get the 124 Abarth Spider. Fiat Australia has previously told MOTOR it is assessing whether to bring the standard version or just the Abarth. Read more here.