By Patrick James on 2018-09-08 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Fiat 124 Spider 1.4
MultiAir Lusso Plus
IT could be described as a golden oldie, but 50 years after the last Fiat 124 Spider graced the roads, its 21st century successor is anything but an oldie.
Reborn to be wild is how Fiat like to describe this stunning looking roadster.
A two seater sports car is clearly taking on the world favourite Mazda MX-5 as an affordable sporty two seater with bags of appeal, certainly in the UK where we love our convertibles.
It should be no surprise because the car is based on the Japanese car's underpinnings Bigger but just as engaging a drive and has that touch of Italian style. For the purists, it is also rear wheel drive
Slightly longer than the Mazda, it features a simple fabric drop top, a high quality interior, a superbly efficient engine and jaw dropping looks.
Slightly bigger, it is slightly more expensive for the base model, but features good levels of kit including electric windows and mirrors, climate control and traction and stability control. The tested range topper hear adds radar assistance and rear camera and it is packed with other safety kit.
The stylingis inspired by some details of its 1966 predecessor with the low centre of gravity and the stretched, sculpted bonnet.
The whole car, with its sensuous curves and LED rear lights, twin exhausts and slight lip on the bonnet to enhance the sporty appearance. In addition it features16-inch alloy wheels, electrically adjustable body coloured door mirrors and body coloured windscreen frame.
The interior too, is a mini-masterpiece feeling comfortable and sporty at the save time.
Theleather seats are supplemented by steering wheel controls, central touchscreen which controls major functions like navigation, audio, connectivity and neat and logical dials and controls on this range topper.
There is leather stitching throughout and nice brushed metal trim finishes to doors and controls and steering wheel and black roll bar covers.
The fabric roof can be lowered with one hand in just a couple of seconds and slots into a compartment behind the seats, putting it back up again is equally speedy.
It looks and feels like a sports car and Fiat's own 1.4-litre turbocharged engine ensures it drives like one with pace and flexibility. Yes, there may be quicker hot hatches, but the 140bhp has bags of grunt and plenty of torque at low revs means you are not forever changing down.
It can hit 60mph in just over seven seconds, all achieved with the help of short throw, super slick six-speed gearbox which is a delight to use.
Red line it and there is a delightful rasp from the twin exhaust pipes. Economy is not bad either, with a claimed 42ish mpg and emissions of 148g/km.
Handling is also excellent with the rear wheel drive allowing you to really push it through corners and sweeping bends. But the suspension, adouble wishbone and multilink architecture,is not so stiff that it becomes uncomfortable for day to day use.
It is equally at home pottering around town as it is being pushed through the gears. Despite being low to the ground it is a pretty comfortable motorway cruiser as well.
The 124 Spider does have a serviceable boot, thanks to the folding roof having its own compartment and is capable of accommodating two small overnight bags.
Fiat 124 Spider 1.4 MultiAir Lusso Plus
Mechanical: 140bhp, 1,368cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 134mph
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 44.1
Insurance Group: 26
C02 emissions: 148g/km
Bik rating: 30%
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles
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