Abarth 124 Spider review – design

Flawed but boisterous; fun and with plenty of character, its problem is a lack of finesse and its dreary engine

Evo rating
Price
from £29,565
  • Lots of fun, accessible performance, engaging character
  • Quite expensive, steering lacks feedback

Design

Office consensus suggests Fiat hasn’t got the shape of its 124 quite right. Rather than looking classical and Italian, it looks a little wide, slabby and American, with uncomfortably long overhangs both front and rear and a tail section that’s rather bland.

The tail is the Abarth 124’s least successful aspect too (not least because it houses an excessive quartet of exhaust pipes), but elsewhere we think it’s a big improvement on the Fiat. The car’s proportions look better with larger, more arch-filling wheels and tyres, the matt black bonnet and boot lid are a neat nod to the rally-prepared Fiat 124 Abarths of yore, and a smattering of bright red details – door mirrors, front splitter, towing eye cover – draw the attention away from the less successful aspects of the design.

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Its best angle? Directly head-on, where it’s both unique and aggressive. But overall, we’re less convinced by the Abarth’s shape than the shorter, curvier MX-5 on which it’s based.

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