True racing buffs adore the 2017 Abarth 124 Spider Italian roadster

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 3, 2016

Abarth is introducing the latest tuned version of the Fiat 124 spider – the all-new 2017 Abarth 124 spider. This new roadster from Fiat’s performance brand features an undeniable Italian design and styling as well as top performance DNA and technical excellence.

Moreover, the new Abarth 124 spider boasts levels of technology and safety that roadster drivers would surely love. Staying true to Abarth’s performance genes, the new Abarth 124 spider features a superb mechanical layout.

For instance, the new Abarth 124 spider is provided with a long bonnet that highlights the significance of its 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine as well as its imposing nature.

Moreover, the new Abarth 124 spider features shorter overhangs to underscore its agility as well as a cabin that is now more proximate to the rear axle, thereby allowing the driver to have a better feel of the road.

Abarth’s strategy to make the 124 spider light entailed getting rid of all possible weight gram by gram. For instance, Abarth developed an active bonnet system to meet stiff passenger collision standards without marring the weight coefficient or balance of the 124 spider.

This active bonnet system employs sensors on the cross-member and two pyrotechnic loads in the engine compartment to detect potential danger. Once danger is detected, the system immediately deploys -- in a few milliseconds -- to secure a safety hole and minimize the collision against the bonnet.

Complementing the potency of the engine lurking inside the Abarth 124 spider is a suspension scheme that includes a high double-wishbone layout in front and a five-link set up in the rear. Moreover, the vehicle employs a dual pinion electric power assist system to render steering easier and more responsive.

Additionally, the 124 spider comes specified with the “Abarth by Bilstein” dampers and stiffened anti-roll bars for enhanced handling and improved driving comfort. Providing the stopping power, even in short distances, for the Abarth 124 spider is a Brembo braking system with aluminum front calipers.

Of course, the new Abarth 124 spider is laden with an array of innovative electronic devices and active safety features. However, drivers could disengage the electronic controls to pave way for a perfect mechanical balance and linear engine response.

In this setup, drivers would be able to feel like they are driving a real race car. Once finished, a 124 spider is tested and certified by an Officine Abarth technician, who then affixes a metal plate that shows the sequential number of each roadster, thereby certifying the exclusive nature of Abarth 124 spider.

Abarth will commence sales of the new 124 spider in September with a starting price of €40,000 in Europe.

Exterior Design

Interestingly, the new Abarth 124 spider features a passenger compartment-to-bonnet ratio that is similar to that of a racing car. It also pays homage to the classic 124 spider with the horizontal line that rises from the front and flows rearward to join with the rear line close to the rear light cluster.

Even at a glance, it is easy to ascertain that the design of the new Abarth 124 spider helps convey performance, both visually and realistically. In fact, the front bumper and its larger air intake, the rear bumper and its aerodynamic extractor as well as the rear spoiler and wind stop were all shaped in the wind tunnel to make sure that they help in improving air flow.

The aggressive front end of the roadster features original headlights and the front hexagonal grille. Additionally, the new Abarth 124 spider features bonnet humps hinting on the longitudinal position of the engine. The front end of the roadster also comes with exclusive and expressive LED headlights and rear lights.

It also dons rear light cluster inserts -- in matching body color -- forming a glowing ring-shaped surface. The new Abarth 124 spider features 17-inch alloy wheels, roll bars and windscreen surround finished in “Forgiato Grey.”

On the other hand, the rear end of the Abarth 124 spider is fitted with swallow-tail section rear wings and horizontal rear lights – both reflect certain elements of the classic 124 spider. Also, the rear features bumpers with upper surface projecting onto the boot lid, thereby giving the back of the Abarth 124 spider its characteristic V-shape.

Customers could choose from five available body colors derived from the classic 124 spider’s rich racing history: “Costa Brava 1972 Red” (special solid), "Isola d’Elba 1974 Blue” (metallic), "Portogallo 1974 Grey" (metallic), “San Marino 1972 Black” and "Turini 1975 White" (special solid).

Interior Design

Inside, the Abarth DNA remains very apparent, even with the prime focus on achieving ideal ergonomics. Thus, the Abarth 124 spider is fitted with supportive and comfortable leather seats that allow for a driving position as far back and as low as possible.

Moreover, the cabin features controls that are in complete harmony with the vehicle’s sporty set-up. Drivers would surely be treated to a sporty driving experience inside an Abarth 124 spider.

Among the exciting features they may appreciate include its small-diameter steering wheel, the short gear lever, the start button on the dashboard and the position of the aluminum pedal board. Likewise, the roadster’s instrument panel features a centrally positioned large rev counter with red background.

The new 124 spider particularly received special treatment from Abarth technicians at Officine Abarth in Mirafiori, Italy. Here, Abarth installed a Racing Anti-glare kit and a matt black treatment for bonnet and boot lid.

Abarth also provided the 124 spider with the Racing Alcantara Kit, which does not only enhance the overall quality of the interior, but also provides the roadster with an appropriate sporting feel thanks to its dark finishing and grip.

Powertrain

Powering the new Abarth 124 spider (EMEA region) is a four-cylinder 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine that provides 170 HP of max output and 250 Nm of peak torque, allowing the roadsters to sprint from nil to 100 km/h in just 6.8 seconds onto a top speed of 230 km/h. For a more pronounced yet beautiful engine sound, the roadster is fitted with a Record Monza exhaust as standard.

This Record Monza exhaust is also installed in the Officine Abarth. This engine could be paired either with a six speed manual transmission with a short-throw, direct lever for quick and precise shifting or the automatic Sequenziale Sportivo gearbox that could utilize all the engine torque for a more genuine racing sensation.

The Sequenziale Sportivo gearbox features a lever or paddles behind the steering wheel for very quick shifting. This gearbox features a “Sport” mode that helps boost the roadster’s performance. To achieve a performance typical of an Abarth vehicle, the new Abarth 124 spider was developed with input from the Abarth Racing Team.

Interestingly, the rear-wheel drive Abarth 124 spider features a sports mechanical Limited-Slip Differential as standard, thereby allowing the vehicle to gain the needed drive and traction when the situation calls for it. As a result, the new Abarth 124 spider is able to provide exceptional dynamism.

Guaranteeing the dynamic performance of this new roadster is the fact that it features a lightweight design as well as perfect weigh distribution. To ensure that the Abarth 124 spider remains as agile as intended while providing excelling driving feel, Abarth clustered much of the weight between the axles.

It also mounted the engine behind the front axle. In fact, the roadster boasts of a perfect 50/50 weight distribution in running order. With an overall weight of 1,060 kilograms, the Abarth 124 spider achieves a weight-to-power ratio of 6.2 kg/HP, thereby topping every vehicle in its category. To save weight, Abarth used sophisticated mechanicals as well as special materials.

Press Release

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

The new Abarth 124 Spider aims at sweeping a new generation off their feet with its performance and technical DNA. It combines the authentic roadster experience packed with thrills, technology, safety and a touch of unmistakable Italian design. The car will be available in September 2016 with prices starting from € 40,000 for all Europe.

Performance DNA

The new Abarth 124 Spider combines the great sensorial experiences of excitement and driving fun that only a spider can give. Developed with input from the Abarth Racing Team, the car exemplifies at best the distinctive Abarth values: performance, craftsmanship and technical excellence. It is the car that will bring back the smile on the driver's face.

Rear-Wheel drive architecture with Mechanical Limited-Slip Differential

124 Spider is designed for thrills and performance and has all the qualities needed to satisfy even the most difficult-to-please drivers. For exceptional dynamism, the Abarth 124 Spider is equipped with a sports mechanical Limited-Slip differential as standard to secure drive and traction in the most critical situations and provide incomparable dynamic behavior.

Perfect weigh distribution and lightweight design

Abarth 124 Spider creates a new benchmark in the sporty roadster segment and this is confirmed in numbers. Much of the weight is concentrated between the axles and the engine is installed behind the front axle to guarantee agility and superior driving feel. Sophisticated mechanicals and the use of special materials have contained the weight to just 1,060 kilograms, which results in a weight-to-power ratio of 6.2 kg/HP, the best in its category, and perfect 50/50 weight distribution in running order, which translates in great agility and performance. Taking on board the lessons learned through the Abarth racing series, the weight obsession pushed Abarth to eliminate gram by gram all possible weight: For instance, an active bonnet system was developed in order to comply with the strict passenger collision standards without damaging the weight coefficient or balance of the car. By using sensors on the cross-member and two pyrotechnic loads in the engine compartment, the system recognises danger and deploys in a few milliseconds to guarantee a safety gap and attenuate the collision against the bonnet.

Supercar mechanics and suspensions scheme

The suspension of the 124 Spider has a high double-wishbone layout in front and a five-link set up in the rear, specifically tuned for greater braking and cornering stability. Steering ensures a great driving feeling with the use of a dual pinion electric power assist system.

The Abarth dynamic vehicle set-up ensures customers can get the most out of the rear-wheel drivetrain, always aiming for the true driving pleasure. Also the "Abarth by Bilstein" dampers, together with stiffened anti-roll bars, provide ultimate handling and driving comfort.

The Brembo braking system, with aluminum front callipers, guarantees very short braking distances and excellent resistance to brake fade, making the pedal always feel pleasant and safe.

Powerful engine and sporty gearboxes for an extraordinary driving experience

The Abarth 124 Spider offered in the EMEA region is equipped with a powerful, reliable four-cylinder 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo engine. It delivers 170 HP (about 124 HP per litre) and 250 Nm of torque. It has a top speed of 230 km/h and goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8-seconds. Furthermore, the sound of engine really matters in an Abarth car, so the Record Monza exhaust come equipped as standard, generating a beautiful growling sound.

The spider is available with a six-speed manual or the automatic Sequenziale Sportivo gearbox. The first is characterised by quick and accurate shifting with a short-throw, direct lever.

The Sequenziale Sportivo gearboxis the result of careful tuning to exploit all the engine torque and conveys genuine racing sensations. Using the lever orthe paddles behind the steering wheel, shifting is extremely fast and the performance of the car is boosted even further by setting "Sport" mode on the driving mode selector.

Throttle-steer driving style

The Abarth 124 Spider comes with state-of-the-art electronic devices and active safety featuresbut to ensure the Abarth provides a proper race car feeling when driving on track, the new 124 Spider lets the driver disengage the electronic controls to experience the perfect mechanical balance and linear engine response, the trademarks of a genuine rear-wheel drive sportscar.

Officine Abarth: high technology, hand-crafted care

Officine Abarth, based in Mirafiori, is where the 124 Spider emphasise the typical Italian art of driving.

The 124 receives a special treatment from Abarth technicians, who truly love cars. The Abarth people bring their values to an already great product, by fitting the Racing Anti-glare kit, a matt black treatment for bonnet and boot lid, the Racing Alcantara® Kit that contributes to elevate the overall interior quality, ensuring at the same time a proper sporting feel due to its dark finishing and grip.

The standard-fit Record Monza exhaust is also installed in Officine Abarth, to ensure outstanding engine performance and an unmistakable sound.

Each car is tested and certified by an Abarth technician who applies a metal plate showing the sequential number of each car to certify the exclusiveness of Abarth 124 Spider. A unique number for a unique client.

Design true to the Abarth DNA

The design of the Abarth 124 Spider reflects the superb mechanical layout of the car, a key element to achieve the perfect proportions for a sport car: A long bonnet to underline the importance of the engine and the powerful attitude of the car, reduced overhangs to emphasize its agile attitude, a cabin close to the rear axle to let the driver feel the road.

The passenger compartment-to-bonnet ratio is comparable to that of a racing car. A horizontal line rises from the front and stretches rearward to join with the rear line near the rear light cluster: this is an unmistakable reference to the classic 124 Spider.

The design is all about performance: both the front bumper, with its larger air intake, and the rear bumper's aerodynamic extractor were both shaped in the wind tunnel, as were the rear spoiler and wind stop which both contribute to improving air flow. The 17-inch alloy wheels, the windscreen surround and the roll bars are finished in "Forgiato Grey", a colour selected to underline the bold, technical inclination of the car.

The original headlights together with the front hexagonal grille contribute to reasserting the car's bold personality. The bonnet humps suggest the longitudinal position of the engine: this is a direct reference to the original 124 Spider. The exclusive LED headlights and rear lights add expressiveness to the car, both during the day and at night. An important detail are the rear light cluster inserts in matching body colour which form a luminous ring-shaped surface.

The rear end of Abarth 124 Spider is characterised by two elements: the swallow-tail section rear wings and the horizontal rear lights which pick up particular features of its classic predecessor. The shape of the rear bumpers with the upper surface jutting into the boot lid conveys a characteristic V-shape to the back of the car.

Five body colours are available: special solid "Turini 1975 White " and "Costa Brava 1972 Red, metallic "Isola d'Elba 1974 Blue", "Portogallo 1974 Grey" and "San Marino 1972 Black". The nomenclature is a clear tribute to its prestigious success in rallying.

Interior design

The Abarth DNA is also confirmed inside with an overall focus aimed at guaranteeing ideal ergonomics. The leather seats are supportive and very comfortable at the same time, and allow for a positive driving position as far back and as low as possible to better perceive any lateral movement of the car. Also, the controls are perfectly in tune with the car's sporty set-up: the position of the aluminium pedal board, the small-diameter steering wheel, the short gear lever and the start button on the dashboard all contribute to conveying a sporty driving experience. The instrument panel includes a large rev counter with red background arranged in central position.

Active and passive safety

The new Abarth 124 Spider is equipped with a host of state-of-the-art active and passive safety devices. In addition to the ABS, standard equipment includes the EBD, for adjusting front and rear brake force distribution so as to optimise braking distances and control in all load conditions of the car,

and ESC for increased control in all driving conditions. It is useful in critical situations, e.g. on corners and mixed surfaces in presence of snow, ice and gravel. The ESC applies selective braking and acts on the accelerator to bring the car back on line if a difference between the driver's action and trajectory is detected. The ERM is an extension of the ESC system and exploits the sensors to calculate whether the car is approaching a potentially dangerous condition at risk of rolling over. It corrects the risk by applying the brakes separately and modulating the accelerator position as needed. It can be fully disengaged for track driving to allow the driver exploit the Abarth 124 Spider's outstanding balance and dynamic abilities to the full.

The three-point seat belts employ Constant-Force Retractors (CFR) to control the degree of force applied by the belt and then gradually release it in controlled manner.

The LED adaptive headlights are available to guarantee driving pleasure even in poor visibility conditions. They can be equipped with rain sensor and dusk sensor on demand.

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