Abarth-tuned 178bhp engine and extra performance kit are in the mix as Fiat readies a fixed-head version of the 124 Spider
Jim Holder
24 August 2016

A Fiat 124 Coupé is understood to be under development and could be revealed as soon as next year.

The fixed-head car would likely be a higher-performance spin-off from the Fiat 124 Spider, as the firm looks to capitalise on the sales and marketing success of that car in bringing in new customers to the brand and emphasising Fiat’s wider sporty credentials.

However, it would not make use of the retractable hard-top used by its sister car, the Mazda MX-5 RF, and would instead be designed as a coupé. The decision to separate it from the MX-5 is believed to have been made in order to create greater space between the two models in the minds of potential buyers and to allow Fiat to push its performance credentials to a greater extent.

A hint as to how the Fiat 124 Coupé could look was given by the Fiat Abarth 124 Rally concept unveiled at this year’s Geneva show, although some sources are suggesting that the rear of the car could be heavily restyled, changing the lines down to the boot. One Italian source has suggested the boot could be accessed through a bootlid with an integrated rear window in the style of the BMW Z3 Coupé. However, this has been disputed by other insiders, who suggest that such a solution would be too expensive to re-engineer and the standard boot opening will remain.

The powertrain is also said to be undecided, with some markets believed to be happy to take the 138bhp 1.4-litre unit that powers the sole Spider offering in the UK, while others are pushing company bosses in Turin to adopt either the US-market’s 158bhp version of the engine or to focus solely on the Abarth Spider’s 178bhp variant. With a fixed-head format being selected to enhance the car’s sporty credentials, the combination of the Abarth’s engine and performance kit, including a limited-slip differential, makes a compelling case for its adoption.

Pricing will hinge largely on which powertrain is selected, but if the range begins with the 138bhp 1.4, it is expected to be around 10% more than the soft-top, suggesting a starting price of £25,000.

Fiat has a long history of launching hard-roofed spinoffs of successful convertibles, such as the Fiat Dino, Fiat 850 and the original 124. However, the work was often done by coachbuilders as opposed to the factory. This time, despite the low sales potential, the halo value of a focused sports coupé to Fiat is believed to have persuaded the factory to undertake the project, with production of the reworked body being undertaken at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant.

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Comments
11

24 August 2016
With the 124 soft-top launching in September and the Coupe ready for next summer, Fiat's timing could not be better! And why were these models launched nearly two-years after the virtually identical Mazda MX5? If nothing else, this will limit the effective lifespan of the car - not many will opt for the more expensive Fiat models now, let alone when a replacement MX5 arrives. That said, I like the idea of a proper coupe from Fiat rather than the Mazda targa top, so maybe there is some hope...

24 August 2016
hoping for something pretty, with a flat roof, like the original 124 Sport.

24 August 2016
I hope the length of bonnet is distorted, it look like you'd need binoculars rather than parking sensors. Afterall it only has to house a 4 cylinder engine

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

24 August 2016
xxxx wrote:

I hope the length of bonnet is distorted, it look like you'd need binoculars rather than parking sensors. Afterall it only has to house a 4 cylinder engine

Long bonnet is nonsense in current cars - While engines become more compact the bonnet length increases. It was probably Mercedes that started the trend, first with the SLR, then the SLS, the AMG GT and recently confirmed by the 6-metre Maybach coupe (Viewed in profile, the C & new E class bonnets look very long too)
Improvement in packaging and weight saving - eg. Audi A2 & the original A class - is nolonger a priority.

24 August 2016
I hope that the Mazda hard top is adopted with minor modifications. Otherwise, let the design pass through Mazda QC department. This, and manufacturing in Hiroshima guarantees reliable operation.

24 August 2016
sabre wrote:

I hope that the Mazda hard top is adopted with minor modifications. Otherwise, let the design pass through Mazda QC department. This, and manufacturing in Hiroshima guarantees reliable operation.

The article says it will not make use of the retractable hardtop and it will be a fixed coupe.

It looks fantastic, would be good with 4C/Giulietta engine in.

24 August 2016
Fiat owns Maserati and should call the Mazda Fiat cooperation sports car brand Mazerati, or Hirorino, or Mazchionne. Apart for the aforementioned nonesense, the cooperation is good for Fiat in order to prevent the brand to be called Fiat Mazda Company, abbreviated to Fiasco

24 August 2016
The Fiat soft top doesn't look any where as near as good as the Mazda MX-5, so I'd rather see an MX-5 hard top, not the retractable roof version that doesn't look right, roof up or down. But nice of Fiat to do it. I hope it is a success. I hope more manufacturers realise there is a market for small sporty cars, not for wind-in-the-hair motoring, but because they can be great to drive.

24 August 2016
Side profile looks like an elongated front Toyota GT86

25 August 2016
Forgive me but I frankly don't believe it. I expect that either tomorrow or Friday either a spokesman from SCA or Marchionne himself will flatly deny that there is a 124 Coupe in the works at all, let alone one with a higher performance engine.

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