On this episode of Ignition, presented by Tire Rack (http://www.tirerack.com), MOTOR TREND Senior Features Editor Jason Cammisa takes the Fiat 124 Spider (and an ND Miata) on some twisty roads to see how well it does and then races it against the Miata on a technical autocross course to see which is faster.
The Spider is built by Mazda right on the same production line as the MX-5 Miata—so the logical thing to call it is a “Fiata.” Though the two roadsters look nothing alike, they’re mechanically identical, with the exception of what’s under the hood and how the suspension is tuned. In place of the high-tech Mazda SkyActiv 2.0L is Fiat’s MultiAir 1.4L turbo, familiar from the 500 Abarth. It’s a much heavier iron-block engine, which could spell bad news for the sports car’s handling, and with an SOHC valvetrain and port injection, it’s relatively old-tech.
As you’ll see on this episode, the two cars offer very different driving experiences—leading Jason to wonder if either is actually better than the NC2 Miata that went out of production last year.