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Geneva show: Fiat confirms 124 Spider

Platformer: The Mazda MX-5-based FCA roadster was originally thought to be an Alfa Romeo, but a change in plans has forced it to adopt Fiat badge.

Imminent MX-5-based Fiat roadster will revive 124 Spider nameplate

Fiat logo6 Mar 2015

FIAT Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed Fiat's eagerly awaited Mazda MX-5-based sportscar will resurrect the 124 Spider name after a 30 year hiatus.

The Italian car-giant has previously announced that it will launch an all new roadster that shares its vital underpinnings with Japanese manufacturer Mazda and its MX-5, but until a press conference at the Geneva motor show last week its name was unknown.

When questioned by British publication AutoExpress about the 124 Spider name, the Fiat boss hesitated before other FCA executives stepped in and confirmed the model, to which Marchionne added, “there you go – a world class premiere right in this room”.

In 2012 the company confirmed that the fourth-generation MX-5 (pictured) would form the basis for a new European convertible, which at the time was expected to be badged as an Alfa Romeo, however it is now known the Mazda-based car will be a Fiat.

In addition to the Fiat model, FCA is developing a separate Alfa Romeo sportscar based on an unrelated platform.

For its MX-5, Mazda will offer two engines with a choice of 1.5-litre or 2.0-litre SkyActiv naturally aspirated four-cylinders, but it is expected that power for the new Fiat roadster will be sourced from within FCA powertrain ranks.

The 1.4-litre T-Jet turbocharged four-cylinder found in the fizzy Abarth 595 and feisty 179kW 1.7-litre that powers the Alfa Romeo 4C and Giulietta QV are two possibilities.

While the chassis of both vehicles will share a majority of design features, aesthetics are expected to differ greatly, and the 124 Spider is likely to carry both Fiat range-aligning aesthetics and a nostalgic nod to the 1960s original.

The last Fiat to sport the 124 Spider badge was only available in Europe and the United States from the mid 60s to mid 80s and fulfilled the simple front-engine, rear-wheel drive roadster recipe – a formula Fiat is expected to return to for the new 124 Spider.

Little else is known about the new European roadster, but with the Mazda MX-5 launching later in the year, Fiat's 124 Spider could be revealed some time in 2016, although a 'concept' could precede it.

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