It’s so hard to keep a secret in the digital age. Here, Fiat goes and tries to take some pictures of its 2017 Fiat 124 Spyder for advertising and publicity purposes and someone goes and takes pictures of the picture taking, then posts the photos online for all to see.
And now, thanks to Automobile magazine, we get to share them with you. The 2017 Fiat 124 Spyder is a tasty little crumpet. Based on the fourth-generation Mazda Miata, it will have its own engine and transmission. It will also have its own distinctive sheetmetal fore and aft.
Let’s start at the front, which has larger, more-rounded headlights, a longer hood, and a wide-mouth Fiat grille aperture. From the side, that front end evokes memories of the original Datsun 240Z, and that is high praise indeed. Moving rearward, the windshield surround is brushed chrome instead of the black paint used on the Miata version.
At the rear, there is just a hint of Jaguar F-Type, thanks to a bulkier trunk lid than the Mazda version and large rectangular taillights integrated into the corners. The cockpit is pretty much standard issue Miata — although the Fiat UConnect touchscreen and software is likely to be substituted for the Mazda bits.
The big news is under the hood, where the Fiat 1.4-liter turbo four will likely reside. That’s the same engine used in FCA cars like the Dodge Dart, Fiat 500 Abarth, 500L, and 500X. It should churn out between 160 and 180 horsepower — a significant increase over the standard Miata mill. Look for a six-speed manual transmission to be standard. The dual clutch automatic used in the Dart and Fiat 500L will probably be available as an option.
Industry insiders suggest an Abarth edition of the 124 Spider will use a version of the Alfa Romeo 4C’s 1.8 liter turbo four engine with 240 horsepower — about 100 more than is available from the stock Miata engine. The Abarth option, if there is one, could be just what Miata fans have been praying for since Mazda’s lithe little roadster first appeared 26 years ago.
Expect the new Fiat 124 to make its debut at the LA Auto Show in November and to go on sale next year as a 2017 model.