Abarth 124 Spider or Mazda MX-5?

Having already compared the Fiat 124 Spider and 1.5 litre Mazda MX-5 on performance, specification and price, it's now time to examine the more powerful Abarth 124 Spider and 2.0 litre Mazda MX-5.

Beneath distinctive skins, both roadsters share a common rear-wheel drive structure. However, don't think that they're basically the same car, because their engines are very different.

Abarth 124 Spider (2017) Front SideAbarth 124 Spider (2017) Interior

Mazda MX-5 Sport Recaro (2016) SeatsMazda MX-5 Sport Recaro (2016) Front Side

In fact, as the official figures below show, the turbocharged Abarth easily beats the normally-aspirated Mazda on pace and efficiency. Curiously, only the 124 Spider can be ordered with an automatic transmission.

Model Abarth 124 Spider Mazda MX-5
Engine 1,368 cc, turbocharged, four cylinders 1,998 cc, normally-aspirated, four cylinders
Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed automatic 6-speed manual
Power 167 bhp
(125 kW / 170 PS)
157 bhp
(118 kW / 160 PS)
Torque 250 Nm (184 lb/ft) 200 Nm (147 lb/ft)
0-62 mph 6.8 secs 6.9 secs 7.3 secs
Top speed 144 mph (232 km/h) 142 mph (228 km/h) 133 mph (214 km/h)
Combined cycle 44.1 mpg (6.4 l/100km) 42.8 mpg (6.6 l/100km) 40.9 mpg (6.9 l/100km)
CO2 148 g/km 153 g/km 161 g/km

The MX-5 has a huge advantage when matters turn to price, though. Actually, there's a strong case for arguing that these two models aren't really direct competitors, as the cheapest Abarth costs £5,300 more than the most expensive Mazda.

Unfortunately the 124 Spider doesn't have a longer equipment list to compensate.

Yes, 17” alloy wheels, a limited-slip differential and Bilstein dampers come as standard, plus the interior features Bluetooth, a DAB radio, a Bose audio system and cruise control. All of those items are fitted to the MX-5 Sport Recaro too, but it also boasts several other trinkets including satellite navigation.

MX-5 2.0i SE-L £20,495
MX-5 2.0i SE-L Nav £21,095
MX-5 2.0i Sport £23,095
MX-5 2.0i Sport Nav £23,695
MX-5 2.0i Sport Recaro £24,295
124 Spider Manual £29,565
124 Spider Automatic £31,605

So deciding between these two nominal rivals is first and foremost a question of budget. If that's not a factor, then a 124 Spider is for anybody who thinks that the MX-5 won't be quick enough for them. Conversely, the Mazda clearly wins on value for money.

Related posts:
Fiat 124 Spider or Mazda MX-5?
Abarth 124 Spider unveiled
Mazda MX-5 Sport Recaro limited edition

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