Fiat 124 Spider review – The MX-5’s classier cousin? - Design
The drop-top Italian posses a distinctly calmer persona than the Mazda that it shares its underpinnings with
Fiat has let its exterior designers go to town on the 124 Spider, completely quashing any trace of Mazda’s own handiwork – in contrast to the interior. The result is reasonably successful though, thanks to retro touches recalling the original Fiat 124 Sport Spider.
The Spider’s nose features a split grille with a flattened hexagonal motif, with the LED headlights faired into the bodywork just like the original. A prominent character line runs down the side, towards the back of the car where the boot kicks upwards into a prominent spoiler. Crowning it all are twin bulges in the bonnet, which on the original car hid dual overhead cams, but are now just a pleasantly reminiscent styling touch.
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Opting for the heated-up Abarth model adds an even more retro look, with a classic matte black bonnet – just like the Abarth rally cars of the 1970s – plus a more aggressive treatment for the front and rear bumpers.
If there’s any criticism to be given, it’s that the proportions of the 124 Spider seem a little bit off. It almost seems that Fiat’s stretched its own bodywork over the top of the MX-5's, without removing the Mazda body first. It’s bigger than the Mazda, but the identical wheelbase means it doesn’t sit quite as well on the road as the Japanese car.