High performance feature in the Abarth 124 Spiders allocated for New Zealand

Posted by on 11 June 2016


High performance and top specifications feature in the Abarth 124 Spiders allocated for New Zealand, and you’d better be quick if you want one, reports DAVE MOORE.

With New Zealand’s early adopters usually going for “all the fruit” when it comes to new cars, Fiat Chrysler New Zealand has confirmed that the loaded Abarth 124 Spider, effectively the top performance iteration of the new roadster will be the sole version of the sports car to be made available in New Zealand.

The Abarth 124 Spider was unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show and it can be reported that Abarth’s engineers and stylists have refettled the car from its more humble Fiat 124 Spider origins into more of a high performance sports car.

A logical heir to the roadster that drove Fiat to its first European Rally Championship win in the 1970s, the new Spider is intended as a fun, drivers’ car which is intended to become as much an icon of driving pleasure as its predecessor.

Being a typical Abarth, the new 124 spider is designed for thrills and performance and has all the qualities needed to satisfy even the most difficult-to-please drivers: rear-wheel drive, sophisticated suspension and a four-cylinder 1.4 MultiAir Turbo engine with 125kW under the onnet and a sixspeed manual or six-speed automatic “Sequenziale Sportivo" gearbox with paddle shift.

The car’s top-speed - where it is safe and socially acceptable of course, like a local racetrack - is 230kmh, while the zero to 100kmh is quoted as 6.8 seconds. It’s all accompanied by a typically hackle-raising Italian sound track produced by what Abarth calls its the “Record Monza” exhaust system.

The suspension of the 124 spider has a high double-wishbone layout in front and a five-link set up in the rear, specifically tuned with emphasis on braking and cornering. The car’s steering has been contrived to ensure a good level of communication and road feel by the use of a dual pinion electric power assist system.

The Abarth dynamic vehicle set-up ensures customers can get the most out of the rear-wheel drivetrain, always aiming for driving satisfaction. The "Abarth by Bilstein" dampers, conspire with stiffened anti-roll bars, to provide crisp handling without compromising driving comfort.

The Brembo braking system, with aluminium front callipers, produces very short braking distances and good resistance to fade.
The Abarth 124 spider comes with modern electronic chassis and drive assistance as well as the latest active safety features. Abarth has ensured that the Abarth provides a proper race car balance and feel when driving on track, by allowing 124 Spider to disengage the electronic controls in order to experience the car’s natural mechanical balance and linear engine responses. 

The Abarth 124 spider is also equipped with a sports mechanical Limited-Slip differential as standard to secure drive and traction in the most critical situations and provide incomparable dynamic behaviour. 

The car’s light weight – it weighs just over a metric tonne - as well as a 50/50 weight balance, which is near perfect for a traditional rear drive chassis offers superb handling according to those at last weekend’s industry drive preview. High levels of road holding have also been noted and it all augurs well for a driving experience that is involving, communicative and exciting.

All Abarth 124 Spiders will be tested, signed-off and certified by specific Abarth technicians will apply a numbered metal plate to each of ‘their’ cars. This will not only recognise the skill and tradition of Abarth workmanship but will also be nod to the exclusivity of the owner’s new Italian
roadster. This will also have advantages at resale time, as every singe car will be historically catalogued so that future owners will be able to learn its history. 

Abarth’s influence is confirmed inside the car with a focus aimed at the ergonomic ideal. The leather seats are supportive and comfortable, allowing for a positive driving position as far back and as low as possible to enable the “seat of the driver’s pants” to better perceive any lateral
movement of the car.

The controls are perfectly in tune with the car's sporting set-up: the position of the aluminium pedal board, the small-diameter steering wheel, the short-throw gear lever and the start button on the dash conspire to convey the right driving experience. 

The new Abarth 124 Spider is equipped with state-of-the-art active and passive safety devices. In addition to the ABS, standard equipment includes the EBD and ESC for increased control in varying driving conditions. This is useful where mixed surfaces occur mid-corner - which is around practically every bend in New Zealand - as well as in low friction circumstances with snow, ice and gravel.

The new Abarth 124 spider has a three-gauge instrument panel featuring a large rev counter in the middle, a speedometer on the right and a data display on the left allowing the driver to monitor all key driving information at a glance.

Standard equipment includes manual climate control system, stereo with four speakers, MP3 player and USB port, cruise control, adjustable and electrically-folded door mirrors. Other features available on demand include the infotainment system with a knob on the central

Depending configuration, the system can feature a 7-inch colour display, satellite navigation system, a digital tuner, two USB ports, AUX input, Bluetooth connectivity and a reversing camera.

For superior sound quality, a Bose premium sound system can be specified.

Five body colours are available: special solid "Turini 1975 White " and "Costa Brava 1972 Red, metallic "Isola d'Elba 1974 Blue", "Portogallo 1974 Grey" and "San Marino 1972 Black". The nomenclature is a clear tribute to its prestigious success in rallying.

New Zealand pricing along with full details and local specifications will be announced when the Abarth 124 Spider arrives in New Zealand at the end of the year.

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