Spied: Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

Fiat is working on a high-performance version of its upcoming 124 Spider.

Our spy photographers have nabbed the first ever photos of Fiat's upcoming 124 Spider hot rod. The Fiat 124 Spider Abarth should be ready for a market debut sometime next year.

The 124 Abarth will be based on the regular 124 Spider, which itself is largely based on the latest Mazda MX-5 Miata. The biggest variation between the twin roadsters will be in the powertrain department.

The standard 124 Spider will receive its motivation from Fiat's 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder. The top-spec Abarth model, however, could be in line for the same 1750 turbo four used in the Alfa Romeo 4C. The 124 was originally intended to be an Alfa model, but was switched at the eleventh hour to the Fiat brand. As such, it's believed that the roadster was developed with the 4C's powerplant in mind.

That small four-cylinder squeezes out 237 horsepower in the 4C, but it will likely be de-tuned for the 124 Abarth. The mill should still be plenty potent enough with at least 200 horsepower on tap.

It remains unknown how Fiat plans to visually differentiate the standard 124 from the Abarth, but a quad-exhaust setup rather than a dual-outlet kit will obviously be part of the car's styling.

Mazda has already indicated that there are no plans for a higher-performing version of the MX-5, so the 124 Abarth could be the ultimate expression of the two-seater. With a similar curb weight to the MX-5 but with 30 percent more power, the 124 Abarth could be capable of ripping off 0-60 runs in under 5 seconds.

The standard Fiat 124 Spider is expected to be unveiled later this year with an early 2016 market launch. The 124 Abarth should arrive shortly thereafter.

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