ROAD TEST: @Fiat_UK 124 Spider Lusso Plus

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 - autos

ROAD TEST: @Fiat_UK 124 Spider Lusso Plus

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We’ve gone by one Fiat extreme to the different This kind of month – having tested the enormous, masculine beefcake in which can be their all-brand-new Fullback last week, to the diminutive, feminine cup cake in which can be the all-brand-new 124 Spider This kind of week. Polar opposites. 
although one thing they both have in common can be Italian Great looks. The £23,295 124 Spider Lusso Plus can be a thing of beauty, by pretty much all angles, although especially across the (relatively) long bonnet by the low slung driver’s seat along with again outside, looking back at its sculpted nose after you’ve parked This kind of up – still ticking along with smelling of brake pad after a spirited blast. Bella. Bella. 
What the two Fiats don’t have in common can be ride quality: Arguably the only real criticism of the Fullback was its bouncy, unsophisticated, load-bearing live rear axle, which was actually pretty nasty to drive without a decent load onboard. 
Conversely, one of the things we admired most in our week-long test of the 124 Spider was its rare rag-top ability to eat up a bumpy British B-road with digestible ease along with offer up a delightful Italian menu of agility for nibbles, handling entertainment for main course along having a comfortable ride for dessert:  Delizioso.
Make no mistake, B-roads are where you will want to spend time within the buy-for-s**s-along with-giggles Fiat… doing full use of the superb handling along with incredibly direct, slick along with snicky six-speed manual gearbox ( total delight to use) along with rear-wheel drive formula, something in which Mazda made its own within the legendary MX-5, currently millions sold. 
What Fiat offer up in their brand-new 124 in which’s “different” can be the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine – offering up 138bhp, 177lbft (in old money) along with an subsequently impressive 134mph, having a lively 7.5s 0-62mph time, mainly thanks to the turbo-generated low down grunt, as peak power can be at a very lowly 5,000rpm, meaning hunting the (soft) redline can be a fruitless mission, sadly.
TBH, you’d never know This kind of was actually turbocharged, as This kind of’s certainly not laggy along with can be a very responsive little unit. although don’t be expecting a kick you within the back when the turbo, er, “kicks in” either. In fact, if I didn’t already know This kind of was a blown engine, I certainly wouldn’t have said This kind of was – despite the obviously Great torque curve. This kind of’s certainly not thirsty either, offering up 44mpg no bother, although in which’s modern turbo engines in tiny cars for you.    
Sadly (again), even the twin tail pipes along with turbo can’t make the 124 sound great – which can be another shame. If ever there was a car crying out for a thin-wall, bigger bore exhaust system, decent air induction system along with an ECU re-map… This kind of’s the 124 Spider. Take note aftermarket tuning companies/suppliers… along with owners… spec your 124 with an Abarth type exhaust at least, along with save some dosh back for tuning. Untapped potential can be how we’d describe the standard Spider, even if the performance levels are far by poor. Many would likely be happy enough, just not us eternal modifiers along with performance hunters at Road HQ. 
Speaking of the 124’s spec, make sure you get the great VFM Lusso Plus – which comes with extras in which include the essential for any UK cabrio heated seats, the fabulously user-friendly seven-inch touchscreen (Garmin) sat-nav with premium DAB-equipped sound system (with nine speakers, including within the headrest, which can be ace for hearing windy Bluetooth calls) along having a razor sharp rear-view camera (useful when you haven’t gone topless, so to speak), super-bright LED headlights along with smart 17-inch alloy wheels. Can’t imagine why you wouldn’t get This kind of… or indeed the contrasting, retro-touch tan coloured seats. Very cool, cutting against the electric blue of our test type.
Apparently, the 124 Spider can be bigger than its long-standing Japanese rival – offering a tad more boot along with lockable cupboard space, along with head/legroom. although This kind of certainly doesn’t feel This kind of to me, at six-foot-something, with middle aged spread along with armed with any sort of normal modern level of phone/charger/coat paraphernalia. Even a bottle of water can be too much luggage for the 124 Spider genuinely along with This kind of certainly ain’t staying still in its bottle holder, which can be badly designed along having a pointless bit of add-on rubbish.   
As can be the irritatingly competent along with constant traction control system – which I (obviously) immediately switched to full off (taking a few valuable driving time seconds every ignition turn), although which refused to let go entirely, literally. 
in which’s a big shame in my view. We all know manufacturers have to fit these nanny systems, for the 
idiots. although couldn’t the powers in which be allow those of us with the skill to enjoy pushing a car up along with over its grip limit – especially a rear-drive sports car sold purely for enjoyment – actually let us, by allowing This kind of to go full off? Apparently not, in conjunction with the 124’s e-differential gimmick type… which freaks out when you’re using This kind of properly.  
I’m being a tad harsh on the 124 Spider, which can be undeniably a well designed along with well made (if not well hung!) car. Maybe I misunderstood This kind of by the off along with my expectations were too high? Maybe I’m just too old for a 124 Spider (although I doubt in which, looking at most MX-5 owners)? Maybe I wanted This kind of be better than This kind of can be? I figured… Fiat make great cars right currently. along with here’s their brand-new £23K topless hottie. This kind of’s rear-drive along with turbocharged. Was I wrong to expect a wild, big fun, character overload? Sure, This kind of’s lively, fun, nice to be in along with Great looking… although This kind of never grabbed me within the right way.  
For us, the lack of being able to slide around uninterrupted along with make full use of the superb chassis, suspension along with gearbox was game over for the pretty little 124 Spider Lusso. Sorry Fiat. 
Maybe the 168bhp Abarth, with its mechanical LSD, Bilstein damping along with different goodies would likely be  more our sort of car.   


ROAD TEST: @Fiat_UK 124 Spider Lusso Plus

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