This is the ’17 Fiat 124 Spider, caught while out testing in Metro Detroit.
What was once a Mazda that was going to be an Alfa Romeo is now a Mazda that's going to be called a Fiat. The ’16 MX-5 Miata's platform will serve as the basis for the revival of the 124 Spider name, which was on a wildly popular Fiat roadster in the ’70s. It's also going to give U.S. Fiat dealers some flashy new product.
The 124 Spider will use the Miata's platform and factory, but the Fiat will be powered by the 1.4L turbo four seen in all of the 500 variants and the Dodge Dart. A six-speed manual is likely to be the standard transmission. Given that the engine is also mated to a six-speed automatic in the 500 Abarth and 500L, as well as a poorly received six-speed dual-clutch transmission, one of those is also likely to be offered in the 124 (hope it's the traditional torque converter option).
Not much is known about what the car will look like, given that it was originally announced in 2012 as an Alfa Romeo, but Fiat swears they're not slapping a new badge on a Miata body, so expect cues that bring it in line with the 500 family—or even something reminiscent of the old 124 Spider that was styled by Pininfarina.
Expect the 124 Spider to be shown later this year, possibly at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. Sales should begin in time for summer 2016.
Photo credit: SpiedBilde, Brian Williams