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In-depth reviews

Abarth 124 Spider (2016-2019) – interior and tech

Near-identical to the MX-5, Abarth’s red stitching and decor suit the racy Italian vibe

Evo rating
  • Lots of fun, accessible performance, engaging character
  • Quite expensive, steering lacks feedback

While Abarth has spent its money altering the MX-5’s styling and gracing the engine bay with a new power unit, it’s made only a token effort giving a latin feel to the Japanese car’s cabin.

That’s not automatically a bad thing, as the MX-5’s interior is generally well-designed. There is a shortage of cubby holes – in place of a glovebox you get a lockable bin between the seat backs, there are no door pockets and the centre console cubby is a bit pokey – but it has a sporty feel and uses materials of decent quality.

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From this base, Abarth changes are largely cosmetic. Door panels are no longer body-coloured, dashboard panels have a smattering of Alcantara trim (as does the scorpion-badged centre cubby/arm rest), and the standard Mazda three-spoke steering wheel gets detail changes, with a slightly thicker rim and the obligatory Abarth shield. Instruments are different too, the central rev counter highlighted in red. The gearlever is also a little shorter than the one found in the Mazda.

It’s hard to shake the feeling you’re not really in an Abarth product though. For all its failings, the Fiat 500-based Abarths feel genuinely unique inside, from their comically oversized metal pedals to their large bewinged bucket seats and cool-to-the-touch aluminium gearshift lever. The Abarth 124 feels very much like a Mazda with a few stylised scorpions dotted about.

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