What Makes Fiat’s 124 Spider More Than A Badge-Engineered Mazda MX-5?

Fiat never hid the fact that the new 124 was made in collaboration with Mazda, but just how much of the small Italian roadster is actually Japanese?

FCA officials shed some insight talking to Top Gear about the vehicle’s character and what makes it unique and different form the MX-5.

The main difference lies in the engine bay, where Fiat’s own 1.4-itre turbocharged four-cylinder has replaced the Nippon-grade 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre naturally aspirated mills. An expensive decision, as the engines are assembled in Italy and then shipped all the way to Japan to be fitted to the car.

“We wanted the extra torque and driveability of a turbo”, said Domenico Bagnasco, the 124’s validation manager. The extra torque of the 124 requires slightly longer gears, forcing Fiat to modify Mazda’s original mechanism. The suspension was revised as well, according to product manager Piergiorgio Di Miscio.

“We have retuned the dampers, got new springs and a slightly stiffer anti roll bar. We wanted a car with a more classic Fiat feel – an Italian flair – but not be so uncomfortable that you can’t pick up a beautiful blonde and take her to the beach.”

Fiat has gone for a different steering feel, too, but it wasn’t that difficult to implement. “That’s the great thing about electric power steering”, Bagnasco explained. “With a different fuse and some new algorithms, we have achieved a more progressive weighting of the steering. I did not like the rate the steering weight increases in the Mazda. Too light. It’s not Italian.”

Bottom line: different styling, new engine, re-calibrated steering… Pity the cabin is all but identical to the MX-5, with imperceptible changes like door handles with a chrome finish, soft-touch leather door tops and a thicker steering wheel giving the game away.


Remember That 3D-Printed Aventador Replica? Well, It Actually Runs!

The Lambo replica is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 5.7-liter Corvette V8 and its bodywork was created by just three cheap 3D printers.

Five Years After Its Recall, A Defective Key Is Still Present In Camaro’s Parts Catalog

The key in question was first recalled by General Motors in June 2014, yet an employee discovered it was still available as a replacement.

2020 BMW X6 M Cabrio Answers A Question No One Asked In The First Place

Good thing BMW has no plans whatsoever of building such a thing, because…. well, it just doesn’t make sense.

1,200 HP Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Makes The Trackhawk Seem Puny

It may be seven years old, but this wildly modified Grand Cherokee is one of the craziest Jeeps out there.

Olympic Athlete Runs In A Bubble Filled With Hyundai Nexo’s Exhaust Flow

The Nexo’s exhaust emits water and 99.9 per cent filtered oxygen – or else the runner would suffocate.

Lunaz Breathes New Life Into Classics With Electric Power And Modern Gear

After a full restoration process, the old mechanical parts are ditched in favor of all-electric powertrains and tech like Wi-Fi .

Totally Burnt Out Ferrari 458 Spider Is Unrecognizable, Yet Up For Sale

Nothing in this pile reminds us of a 458, as it’s been completely destroyed, but someone has decided to put it up for auction.

Goddammit! Delivery Guy Tries To Slice Half A Second Off, Instantly Regrets It

The truck driver apparently pushed the gas pedal instead of the brake.

Driven: 2019 Toyota 86 GT Remains A Compelling Driver’s Car

The Toyota 86 GT with the Dynamic Performance Package is a hoot to drive, despite showing its age in certain areas.

Mazda Continues Testing RX-8 Prototypes At The ‘Ring, Fuels Rotary Return Rumors

Could Mazda bring back the RX nameplate that was killed off in 2012, probably with some kind of electrification? We sure hope so.