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Fiat 124 Coupe under development: report

Tin-topped tease: The Abarth 124 Rally is the closest relation to a rumoured 124 Coupe yet released by the Italian car-maker.

Rumoured 124 Coupe unlikely to join Australian Fiat range alongside Spider

Fiat logo25 Aug 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

FIAT is reportedly developing a hard-topped version of the 124 Spider two-seater sportscar that could offer a more driver-focused alternative to the convertible.

British publication Autocar says it was given an inside line to the Italian car-maker’s design department, and is reporting that a fixed-roof version of the Mazda MX-5-based car could surface as early as next year.

Fiat has nothing official to add at this stage and all details surrounding the potential for a coupe are speculative, but some rumours suggest the coupe version would allow the company to focus on a sharper, performance-focused 124.

Whether the model will show up on Australian shores is dependent on initial confirmation of the Coupe, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia has not yet been given any information regarding a second 124 variant, according to FCA corporate communications director Lucy McLellan.

If the coupe is chalked for production, it is unclear if the fixed-top will be offered Down Under but GoAuto understands the business case is not strong enough at this stage.

If local sporty coupe fans regarded a 124 Coupe in the same light as the Mini Coupe for example, then sales would likely struggle, however, if the hard-top was priced to compete with Toyota’s 86 and the Subaru BRZ then it could be a very different story.

Fiat’s high-performance sister brand Abarth revealed a Rally version of the 124 at the Geneva motor show in March this year, featuring a hard-top, which was the closest thing to a production coupe yet released.

Its roof appears to be more of a bolt-on afterthought rather than the permanently integrated roof panel that is being reported.

Another possibility is a version of Mazda’s retractable hard-top as worn by the MX-5 RF, but it is likely the Italian brand would prefer to distance itself from the Japanese models in a bid to maintain its own identity and target consumer.

Other reports speculate that the roof would be a more complete redesign from the A-pillar to the trailing edge of the boot for a more Jaguar F-type Coupe aesthetic, but the cost of developing such an approach may be prohibitive.

Powertrain possibilities range anywhere from the Fiat 124 entry-level 1.4-litre MultiAir with 119kW, the tuned-up versions under the Abarth 124 bonnet, up to a 224kW 1.8-litre engine that powers the 124 Rally.

Historically, a 124 Coupe fits into the Italian brand’s heritage, with the first 124 Sport Coupe introduced in 1967 a year after the arrival of the original Fiat 124 Sport Spider.

The modern Abarth 124 Spider arrives in Australia later this year.

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