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Abarth 124 Spider Review

Abarth 124 Spider
Abarth 124 Spider
Abarth 124 Spider
Abarth 124 Spider
Abarth 124 Spider
Abarth 124 Spider
Abarth 124 Spider
Abarth 124 Spider
Abarth 124 Spider
Abarth 124 Spider
Abarth 124 Spider

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Abarth 124 Spider

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2016
      Body type
      Convertible
      Fuel type
      Petrol
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Mazda MX-5’s less popular twin

Best bits

  • Muscular styling with an Italian twist
  • Benefits from Mazda heritage and reputation for durability
  • This Abarth version is one of the best takes on the MX-5 recipe

Not so great

  • MX-5 offers more heritage 
  • Inconsistent power delivery from the turbocharged engine
  • Interior could be differentiated better from the MX-5

Read by

Abarth 124 Spider front

Overall verdict

Abarth 124 Spider Interior

On the inside

Abarth 124 Spider driving

Driving

Abarth 124 Spider driving

How much does it cost to run

Abarth 124 Spider side picture

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Abarth 124 is the best MX-5 that isn’t actually an MX-5. There’s plenty of power, lots of touches that let you know you’re driving something special and a drive that offers a lot. Well worth considering over the more familiar MX-5."

Abarth 124 Spider front

If you’re thinking that you’ve seen the Abarth 124 Spider somewhere else before … you’re right. It’s better known as the Mazda MX-5 and Fiat sells it too - albeit in a less powerful form.


It has its own style, but the Abarth 124 Spider shares much in common with the Mazda MX-5 and is built in the same factory in Japan. It was also built alongside the Fiat 124 Spider, which has now been discontinued in nearly all markets.


This roadster takes inspiration from the pretty Italian sports cars of the 1960s and in a world of same-again crossover designs, the Abarth 124 Spider is, figuratively and literally, a breath of fresh air. This is part of a dying breed: small and affordable sports cars are few and far between, so we must cherish every opportunity we get to try a new one.


The Abarth 124 Spider is far more than a copy-and-paste Mazda MX-5. The softer, arguably more elegant, styling is matched by a marginally softer driving experience, along with a subtly different interior. Clever use of materials and Italian brio makes the cabin appear slightly bespoke, even though a great deal of it is lifted from the MX-5.


Under the bonnet there’s a 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol engine delivering 170PS. That might not seem like a lot, but thanks to the car’s low weight and the fitment of a turbocharger, the 124 Spider offers plenty of real-world poke.


If you want something a little easier to live with day-to-day, you can also buy a Fiat version, which uses the same 1.4 turbo engine but with power dialled-down to 140PS. It isn’t quite so exhilarating to drive, but is much easier to live with. Though, that said, it is a very rare machine.


The fire-breathing Abarth 124 Spider offers nine-tenths of the precision and focus of the MX-5, but with a softer and more comfortable ride. You’ll also find that it benefits from a satisfyingly short-throw gearbox, although an automatic transmission is available if you want to be even more laid-back.


Don’t expect it to be practical, but you get a touch more boot space than in the MX-5 and there’s enough capacity for a long weekend somewhere interesting.


The Abarth 124 Spider is a rare car indeed and used prices are surprisingly affordable. It’s possible to pick up an Abarth 124 Spider for less than an entry-level Ford Fiesta.


With Mazda reliability and heritage from building the MX-5 for more than 30 years, combined with decent performance and Italian charm, the Abarth 124 Spider offers something unusual and ultimately something really special.


Ready to get your top quality Abarth 124 Spider?

  • All cars come with a warranty
  • Selected dealers only
  • All quality checked

Abarth 124 Spider

1.4 T MultiAir 2dr

  • 2018
  • 21,403 miles
  • Vospers Abarth Exeter
  • Devon, EX28FN
Price:£17,250
PCP: £296.81/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 37 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £296.81, Customer Deposit: £2,587.00, Total Deposit: £2,587.50, Optional Final Payment: £7,213.75, Total Charge For Credit: £3,236.41, Total Amount Payable: £20,486.41, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 4.83%, Excess Mileage Charge: 9ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Abarth 124 Spider

1.4 T MultiAir 2dr Auto

  • 2018
  • 7,445 miles
  • Vospers Abarth Exeter
  • Devon, EX28FN
Price:£18,400
PCP: £301.19/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 37 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £301.19, Customer Deposit: £2,760.00, Total Deposit: £2,760.00, Optional Final Payment: £8,340.00, Total Charge For Credit: £3,542.84, Total Amount Payable: £21,942.84, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 4.82%, Excess Mileage Charge: 9.7ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the Abarth 124 Spider right for you?

There’s a saying that everybody should own a two-seater sports car at some point in their life. But, whether it’s before the pitter-patter of tiny feet or the need for something more practical, not everyone achieves it. But, if you can afford a weekend toy before you need a family SUV, owning a topless sports car is a rewarding and enriching experience.


And this, the Abarth 124 Spider is one of the best you can get. It’s based on the brilliant Mazda MX-5, sharing an interior and platform with its Japanese sibling, but Fiat has done enough to create a sports car that’s dripping in Italian flair.


Ultimately it’s a decision for you - do you have room in your life for a two-seat sports car with limited practicality? However, the combination of affordable prices and low running costs means there should be nothing stopping you. Get caught in this Spider’s web and you’ll be rewarded with a journey to work that’s more of an adventure than it is a commute.

What’s the best Abarth 124 Spider model/engine to choose?

The Abarth 124 Spider is powered by the same 1.4-litre turbocharged MultiAir engine that’s in the Fiat 124 Spider, but while the Fiat offers a healthy 140PS, the Abarth delivers a much sportier 170PS.


Out of the three versions of this Mazda MX-5-based sportscar that’s available (MX-5, Fiat 124 Spider and this), it’s the Abarth 124 Spider that’s actually the best. Just don’t tell Mazda. While that might upset the MX-5 purists, you can’t overlook what the Abarth 124 Spider has to offer: the  Record Monza exhaust delivers a rich and evocative soundtrack for your aural pleasure.


Not that we’d rule out the Fiat 124 Spider. It’s less hardcore than the Abarth 124 Spider and has a more soft-focus take on the Mazda MX-5. Both the Fiat and Abarth are rarer than the better-known Mazda MX-5.


What other cars are similar to the Abarth 124 Spider?

No points for guessing the most obvious candidate here. Yep, the clearest rival to the Abarth Spider 124 is... the MX-5 built alongside it at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant in Japan. 


Outside of this, there’s the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ, which both follow a similar recipe, although these Japanese tearaways offer strictly tin-top thrills. If neither of those are for you, it may be worth considering the more expensive Porsche 718 Boxster or Alpine A110.

Learn more

Abarth 124 Spider Interior

On the inside

Abarth 124 Spider driving

Driving

Abarth 124 Spider driving

How much does it cost to run

Abarth 124 Spider side picture

Prices, versions and specification