Caraganza review 2019 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth: Get it while you can


2019 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth
It’s been said that all good things must come to an end.  That’s especially true it seems when it comes to such things as TV shows (especially if you like them), foods (if it’s fried or cooked rare it will stop your heart), and cars.  Cars like the BMW Z8, the Chevy SS, Nova and the Coupe De Ville, which I miss. Others, like anything from AMC, not so much.

We can now add another to the list, at least I think so. And if so I will miss it.

There are reports in Italy that FCA will scrap it’s 124 Spider after 2020. It’s already off of dealers lists in Italy, however we in America have it for now at least.

I first drove the Fiat 124 Spider in 2017 (the year it was reintroduced after a 50-year absence), and again in 2018.  Fiat sent me a 2019 version, an Abarth for a recent week, it’s like an annual gift, an early (or late) birthday present perhaps. I didn’t mind a bit.

I categorize the Spider in a class I call (affectionally) “No reason to exist.” That’s because cars like the Fiat 124 Spider serve no practical purpose beyond getting you (and one lucky passenger) from point A to point B (the Abarth doing so very loudly). You won’t be carrying a bunch of groceries home nor kids to soccer practice (unless you’re a single parent with one child), and you won’t be taking long leisurely road trips, at least not comfortably.  Wherever you do go, however, you will do so with a smile on your face.

The 2019 Fiat 124 Spider again has three trim levels: Classica, Lusso and Abarth.

The base Classica has such standard features like LED taillights, AC, full power accessories, cruise control, push button starter, Bluetooth, a leather wrapped steering wheel, and shift knob, and a 3-inch display, all set atop 16-inch wheels.

2019 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso

The Lusso adds leather upholstery, heated seats, and keyless entry, a rearview camera a 7-inch touchscreen and an HD radio, along with automatic headlights, climate control, and automatic wipers on top of 17-inch wheels.

The top of the line Abarth adds some special exterior and interior trim pieces, quad exhaust tips connected to a slightly more open exhaust system that increases the horsepower to 164. The trim options include a flat black hood and trunk lid, and there are microfiber inserts for the seats.  In addition, there is a limited-slip rear differential, a sport-tuned suspension, and adjustable driving modes. Brembo brakes and full leather or leather/simulated suede upholstery are optional.

Among the options you can purchase separately are the keyless door locks, a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors for the Lusso and Abarth.  Other options include LED adaptive headlights, LED running lights, a navigation system, and a satellite radio with a nine-speaker Bose audio system.

For 2019 the backup camera and FIAT Connect 7.0 with 7-inch touchscreen display are now standard across the 124 Spider lineup; the reconfigured Technology Group now features Sirius XM Radio and Remote Proximity Entry, and the Veleno Appearance Group on Abarth models that features a red lower fascia lip, mirror caps and tow hook and updated Abarth-branded floor mats and badging. There is also a record Monza Exhaust on Abarth models which gives it a little more growl.

The Spider is still powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged I-4 that produces 160 horsepower (164 for the Abarth) and 184 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, a six-speed automatic optional.

My Abarth for the week had the six-speed manual which only enhanced the fun.  Since I had mine during the month in November, a rare time of year when top-down driving in Florida can be done without worrying about frying to death, I was able to flip down the top (which can be done so easily manually unlike most other convertibles). Needless to say, I enjoyed my week with the Abarth, that growling, snorting little beast that makes you want to take the long way to wherever you are going.  But I knew that I had to hold onto those memories because who knows if they will be available beyond 2020.

So, should you want something that will do little more than take you from point A to point B and leave you with a ringing in the ears and a smile on your face, you better hurry, it seems the Fiat 124 Spider is a dying breed, and may soon be nothing more than a pleasant memory.

The 2019 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth
MSRP: $29,290
MSRP (as tested): $35,165
Engine: 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, 164 hp @5500 rpm, 184 lb-ft torque @2500 rpm (sport mode)
Transmission:  6-speed automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 26 city, 35 highway, 30 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 31 mpg
Base Curb Weight: 2476

Exterior Dimensions (In)
Wheelbase: 90.9
Length, Overall: 159.6
Width, Max w/o mirrors: 68.5
Height, Overall: 48.5
Track Width, Front: 58.9
Track Width, Rear: 59.1

Interior Dimensions (In)
Seating Capacity — Front 2
Head Room 37.4
Legroom 43.1
Shoulder Room 52.1
Hip Room 52.0
Cargo Area Dimensions
Trunk Volume: 4.9

Basic: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion: 12 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance: 4 Years/Unlimited Miles

Greg Engle