Italian cars are always sexy rich temptations. In the past they have often come with a hangover of spotty quality and quirks that make owners shake their heads or lose the love.
The 2019 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth comes by way of the Mazda plant in Japan, based on the Miata. Thus it brings all the spirit, style and soul of Italy with the Consumer Reports approving nods that Mazda can offer up.
In our test drive, our three key takeaways include the fact that you get your cake and can eat it too when it comes to this style and its quality. This is a car you can drive every day and never worry about its spicy flavor leaking on the driveway.
Balanced performance too is a key takeaway. With 164 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque from its 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and a rap crackling exhaust system, the Abarth sings and spits with an exctiting character that makes it fun.
Along with an upgraded suspension of Bilstien shocks, a limited slip differential and its optional Brembo brakes, it was a step up from the standard 124 in ways that really make this more than an appearance package.
Value too made our list of highlights. Priced at $38,210 with a full stack of options like Recaro seats, multiple packages and its heritage paint, the 124 Slider Abarth brings an uncommon in its class offering that few others can match. Most two seat roadsters are more expensive.
The only other choice in this range is the Mazda Miata that while also a good choice, is much different in character.