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Geneva show: Abarth gives 124 Spider some bite

About Abarth: A full race version of Fiat's 124 sportscar might herald the arrival of an even more potent version of a new Abarth model that was revealed alongside the 124 Rally.

Warmer Abarth 124 Spider revealed but not the expected firecracker


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2 Mar 2016

ABARTH has treated the Fiat 124 Spider lightweight sportscar to a tune up, with a range of driver-focused modifications and the retention of the existing 1.4-litre engine, but its is not the eagerly anticipated version that is tipped to get a transplant.

However, a second Geneva show reveal could point to the one everyone is waiting for – a savage 224kW racer version that gets a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, that is likely the same powertrain from the Alfa Romeo 4C.

The hi-po Abarth 124 Rally is strictly a competition offering at this stage, but the Italian car-maker has now demonstrated that 1800 into 124 does go, and a tamer version packing the 179kW punch of the 4C could be on the way to showrooms.

For the current road version, Abarth has wound open the standard 1.4-litre taps a fraction, releasing a modest 8kW, taking the 124 Spider power up to 127kW, while torque is unchanged at 250Nm.

With help from the Abarth Racing Team and the use of “special materials”, the 124 Spider has lost weight with a kerb weight of 1060kg and has a perfect 50:50 weight distribution, while stiffer anti-roll bars and Bilstein dampers sharpen the chassis.

Braking is handled by beefier Brembo callipers up front for a better pedal feel and more disc clamping force.

A louder Record Monza exhaust is fitted as standard, which is best appreciated when doing the zero to 100km/h dash, taking 6.8 seconds.

The Abarth is available with either a six-speed manual gearbox with short-throw selector or a Sequenziale Sportivo automatic, which has paddles shifters and a Sport mode to reduce shift times.

The model's matte black bonnet and boot is said to reduce glare, while other exterior modifications include a larger air-intake front bumper, redesigned rear bumper, spoiler and unique 17-inch alloy wheels.

A liberal scattering of the classic Abarth scorpion badge completes the look.

Inside the 124 gains Racing Alcantara interior upholstery kit.

In addition to the host of safety equipment fitted to the Fiat version, the Abarth's version of ESC allows drivers to entirely switch off traction and stability assistance, for a full tyre-shredding sideways experience when on the race track.

Five exterior colours that honour years of particular racing successes will be on offer: Turini 1975 White, Costa Brava 1972 Red, Isola d'Elba 1974 Blue, Portogallo 1974 Grey and San Marino 1972 Black.

Each Abarth gets a unique build number plaque, but the company has not confirmed if a limited number will be produced.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia has not yet confirmed either the standard Fiat 124 Spider or its hotter cousin for local sale but, as previously reported, if one were to come Down Under, the country's love of performance cars would favour the Abarth variant.

Meanwhile, Fiat also revealed its Tipo small hatch and wagon range at the Geneva show, adding to the already revealed sedan.

It is believed that FCA Australia is not looking to introduce the Tipo Down Under.

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