Fiat 124 Spider 1.4

MultiAir Turbo Lusso

Plus

Fiat 124 Spider, front
Fiat 124 Spider, side
Fiat 124 Spider, side
Fiat 124 Spider, side
Fiat 124 Spider, rear
Fiat 124 Spider, rear
Fiat 124 Spider, rear
Fiat 124 Spider, rear
Fiat 124 Spider, rear
Fiat 124 Spider, rear
Fiat 124 Spider, interior
Fiat 124 Spider, interior
Fiat 124 Spider, front
Fiat 124 Spider, side

SOMETHING is definitely up with the climate. Every time I have tried out a two-seater convertible in the past, Mother Nature has thrown thunder storms, lightning strikes, gale force winds, biblical downpours and even snow in my direction.

But not this time.

Open-top two seaters that deliver excellent driver engagement and fabulous handling capabilities are few and far between, which seems a little crazy as we as a nation love the wind-in-the-hair driving experience.

One name immediately springs to mind - that of the Mazda MX-5. But there is another very accomplished car vying for sales and it offers the same appeal and fun-factor as its Japanese rival.

It's from Fiat and called the 124 Spider which is name that that has been revived by the Italian marque.

Ther 124 Spider looks amazing from any angle thanks to its sleek streamlined body, beautiful curves, rippled bonnet, LED headlights with daytime running lights, chrome twin tail pipes, silver roll bars and smart alloys.

The interior is simplistic in its layout with a cosy cockpit that has enough space for two adults so long as they don't pack too much luggage. That's because space is minimal within the 124 Spider. There's no glovebox or door pockets, but there is a storage box behind the front seats.

There's also a small compartment beneath the armrest and two cup holders that are quite precariously perched and would be suitable for cold drinks only. The boot is compact in its size with a 140-litre capacity, but that's perfectly adequate for a couple of soft holdalls or overnight bags.

There's plenty of top-notch on-board technology to explore such as a seven-inch colour touchscreen with full smartphone connectivity, a great BOSE sound system, Bluetooth with Wi-Fi connectivity, heated leather seats, a navigation system with 3D maps, a rear parking camera and a leather steering wheel with audio controls.

The roof is lowered or raised manually but this is a very simple one-handed process that can be carried out from the driver's seat and takes a matter of seconds to lock into place.

Our rear-wheel drive 124 Spider cost £25,605 which included the option of metallic paint priced at £550.

It was powered by a 1.4-litre 140bhp petrol engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and could complete the 0-62mph sprint in 7.5 seconds and maxed out at 134mph.

According to official figures the car can deliver combined fuel economy of 44.1mpg with carbon emissions of 148g/km.

But it's the manner in which the 124 Spider handles that really impresses. Just like the MX-5, it's a pure driver's car and delivers on all counts.

It's a vehicle that can be thrown into corners with a degree of confidence and there is a constant supply of power on tap which helps make very light work of overtaking.

The punchy engine delivers rapid acceleration through the manual gears and the suspension helps to iron out some bumps and dips along the way.

However, if comfort is high on your wish-list, think again. That's because your seat is just inches above the Tarmac so you will experience a number of bone-rattling jolts on your journey which is mainly due to the poor state of our roads rather than the car.

The 124 Spider's steering offers ample feedback and with the top down and the sun shining, it's the perfect car for a drive in the countryside - preferably on some quiet lanes. You can expect quite a noisy trip with a fair amount of road surface and engine noise filtering through into the cabin even with the roof raised, but it's all part and parcel of owning a sporty, open-top, two-seater that boasts a lot more positives than negatives.

FAST FACTS

Fiat 124 Spider 1.4 MultiAir Turbo Lusso Plus

Price:£25,055

Mechanical: 140bhp, 1,368cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving rear 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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