Abarth, the Italian company synonymous with hot Italian performance cars, drops its top at the 2016 Paris International Motor Show next week (1-16 October) with the Abarth 124 Spider, the open topped sports car that is set to arrive in New Zealand in time for summer with a unique blend of performance, style and ability.
The Americans call them roadsters, the British stuck to the term Two Seat Tourer, but to Italians, a two seat sports car with a soft drop top is always known as a Spider and the Abarth 124 Spider is the latest incarnation of generations of Italian open top cars that have raised pulses, thrilled the senses and provided fervent driving enjoyment.
Developed with the Abarth Racing team, the Abarth 124 Spider perfectly embodies the leading values of Abarth: performance, craftsmanship and engineering excellence. It is a car designed to put the smile back on the faces of those lucky enough to drive it.
For outstanding dynamic performance, Abarth 124 Spider fits a mechanical self-locking differential as standard equipment. This supercar-worthy equipment reasserts the sporty character of the new Abarth 124 Spider. Weights are concentrated between the axles and the engine is installed behind the front axle to guarantee optimal agility and superior driving feel. Sophisticated mechanics and special materials have been used to contain the weight to just 1060 kilograms, which results in a weight-to-power ratio of 6.2 kg/HP, the best in its category. Furthermore, the optimal weight distribution guarantees excellent feedback and agility.
The suspension of the Abarth 124 Spider features high double wishbone suspension on the front and a five-arm multi-link on the rear. The set-up is specifically calibrated to increase stability on corners and for compression braking. Steering feedback is optimised by adopting a specific sports calibration of the power steering system.
Under the bonnet is a powerful, ultra-reliable 1.4 litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine with MultiAir technology. It delivers 170 HP (that is about 124 HP per litre) and 250 Nm of torque: it has a top speed of 232 km/h and goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. What is more, since the engine sound is a fundamental element of all Abarth cars, standard equipment includes Record Monza exhaust with dual mode system capable of modifying the path of the exhaust gas according to engine rpm and guaranteeing linear torque delivery and generating a satisfying, deep roar.
The Spider is available with a six-speed manual or with an automatic Esseesse Sports Sequential gearbox.
The new Abarth 124 Spider is decked out with a host of state-of-the-art active and passive safety devices. In addition to ABS, standard equipment includes EBD, for adjusting front and rear axle brake force distribution to optimise braking distances and guarantee control in all load conditions of the car. Of course, also standard is ESC, for optimal control in all driving conditions, particularly the most critical, in presence of snow, ice or slippery roads.
The ESC applies selective braking and acts on the accelerator to take the car back on line if a difference between the driver's action on the steering wheel and line is detected. All these devices can be completely deactivated for driving on the race track allowing the driver to exploit the outstanding balancing and dynamic features of Abarth 124 Spider to the max and enjoy an unadulterated and direct driving feeling.
The seat belts fit Constant-Force Retractors (CFR) to control the degree of force applied by the belt and then gradually release it in controlled manner. On demand, the Visibility Plus pack includes full-LED self-levelling adaptive headlights with automatic orientation to guarantee the best driving comfort also in poor visibility conditions. These are combined with rain sensor, dusk sensor and parking sensors.
Visitors to the stand will be able to admire two examples of the roadster with the scorpion badge. The first is characterised by a contrasting Turini 1975 white pastel paintwork and matte black bonnet that recalls the classic Abarth 124 Rally, on which this solution was adopted to prevent glare in the driver's eyes. The second displays a Costa Brava 1972 red livery with matching bonnet: this is the first time that the new 124 Spider appears with a one-colour paint job. The Abarth DNA is confirmed on both models also on the inside with an overall focus aimed at guaranteeing perfect ergonomics. Leather seats are supporting and very comfortable at the same time to keep the driver in the ideal position as low and retracted as possible to be able to perceive all side movements of the car. Furthermore, the controls are perfectly in keeping with the sporty set-up of the car: the position of the pedal board, the vertical steering wheel and the short gear stick make for a fully enthralling driving experience. The dashboard features a large tachometer on red background arranged in central position facing the driver and keyless start.
Comfort is guaranteed by standard heated seats and the excellent soundproofing afforded by the noise deadening windscreen, rear window and double-layer top. The latter is designed to be opened and closed with one hand from the driver's seat in a few seconds. Once folded behind the seats it does not occupy space in the boot.
Both cars on show are equipped with the Visibility Plus pack and the Sound pack. The first features full LED automatic self-levelling headlights, LED daytime running lights, rain sensor, dust sensor, headlight washer and rear parking sensors. The second has a 7" touchscreen radio with Bose sound system. An integrated navigation system is also included.
Full details and specifications for the Abarth 124 Spider will be announced when the model arrives at the end of the year.