I hate the new Fiat 124. Journalists seem to be under the delusion that because it is based on a Mazda MX-5 then everyone should love it. No. No. No. I have nothing against the MX-5. In its own right its a lovely car, but a Fiat 124 it is not. Here are my reasons for why I hate this sorry excuse for a Fiat.
1)It is not a Fiat! If I wanted a Mazda MX-5, then I will have a Mazda MX-5. However, I do not want a Mazda MX-5, I want a relatively inexpensive Italian open-top sportscar. You know like Fiat used to make? X1/9, Barchetta, the original 124? Remember those things Fiat? Make them again. I want a thoroughbred Italian sportscar, faults and all, not a Japanese car in an Armani suit.
2)It looks terrible Maybe, just maybe, if the design department had done a better job, I MAY have overlooked the fact its based on a Japanese car. Even as I write this, I am already doubting this. This car is so clearly designed for the American market. Fiat, really? Are we going to the Americans for design advice now? Shall we go to the German’s to see how they add character to a car? This car is so badly designed, they did not even do anything to the interior. It is precisely identical to the Mazda. Even the infotainment is a Mazda unit! Does Fiat really think that by sticking a Fiat badge on the steering wheel and putting leather on the seats will make us believe this is an Italian sports car? I bet the gear knob has been screwed on properly too. Sacrilege.
3)Engines In isolation, the engine is fine, but I want more! 200bhp at least! A nice noisy exhaust, full of snorts and rasps. I want that engine to sound like it came from a 1980s rally car, tuned slightly so that it will start on a cold morning, but fill you with fear if you dare push it on a wet road. That is the Italian way.
4) The Abarth version is just Marketing. There shed a bit of weight, up the power ever so slightly, add a limited-slip differential and a fancy exhaust. I thought the Abarth badge was a scorpion, not a squirrel. Less packing a sting, more aggressive acorn nibbling. Not impressed.
5)IT IS NOT A FIAT Go to your room Fiat, and don’t come out till you fully commit yourself to making a proper sportscar.
Image courtesy of www.fiat.com