July 5, 2016  ·  design  ·  tech

Fiat 124 Spider

After 30-some years Fiat is bringing a roadster back to the U.S. market, and it's lovely. You can tell that there's a Miata platform underneath the 124's Italian skin, but it doesn't look like a Miata in any but the most superficial ways—it has a more aggressive hood, a longer total length, handsome squared-off corners and a Ferrari-esque gentle curve to its decklid. It even looks not terrible with the top up, and in the $25,000-ish segment "not terrible" is where the bar is set for such things.

Mechanically the formula is true to the simple, fun Italian roadsters of yore: a small but punchy engine (in this case a 1.4-litre turbo making 160 horse), rear-wheel drive and none of that high-performance dual-clutch gearbox business.

If there's a bone to pick here from a design standpoint it lies in the colour availability—you've got blacks, red, greys and whites, and the top and entry lines are only available with a grim black interior. the best colour option by far, a metallic mica blue with saddle leather, can only be had in a limited "Prima Edizione" run with a $35,000 price tag. An impractical investment, for sure, but for a delightfully impractical set of wheels.

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