Abarth Gives The Fiat 124 Spider A Proper Sting In Its Tail

2016 Geneva Motor Show

If that's not enough for you, there's even a rally version.

The Fiat 124 Spider may have been received with glorious acclaim at last year's Los Angeles Auto Show, but we wouldn't be the first to say it probably needed a bit more power in order to properly differentiate itself from the Mazda MX-5 it shares so much with. It seemed the engineers at Abarth also shared that sentiment, which is probably why they've just pulled the wraps off the firm's first rear-wheel drive model since the Abarth 131 homologation road car from the late 1970s: the Abarth 124 Spider.

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Abarth models traditionally have a sizable power increase over their Fiat donor counterparts, and the 124 Spider is no exception to that rule. Under the satin black bonnet is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder motor with a meaty 170 hp on tap, up from the 160 horses of the base model. That is, admittedly, a fairly slim power upgrade, but this is a pretty light car, so the extra grunt should at least be fairly noticeable when you're revving the nuts off it. Likewise, the firmer suspension setup and standard limited-slip differential should make the Abarth version the default choice for 124 buyers who'd prefer their cutesy little Italian roadster to be more precise and rewarding to drive.

For those wanting a bit more raw poke from their humble Italian barchettas, then the more extreme Rally version will be right up their alley. It ditches the 1.4-liter engine in favor of a 1.8-liter unit with a sizable 300 horsepower, and the four-way adjustable dampers are even stiffer than the setup on the already hardened Abarth Spider. It's also undergone a serious weight loss program in its conversion into Rally trim, though by how much is unknown at the moment. There's only one catch to this brilliant little piece of kit: It's not actually a road car. Instead, it's been built as a competition car to FIA R-GT specifications. Given the Abarth 124 Rally is based on a road car, we wouldn't be surprised if some mad man decides to convert one for street use...

Abarth was kind enough to throw together a little promo video for its newest creation. It's short and starts a bit too dramatic but it's worth losing 15 seconds of your life to a history lesson in order to see the Abarth 124 Spider in action.