Fiat has taken the wraps off its new 124 Spider at the LA Auto Show. Even though it’s basically a Mazda Miata with the engine from an Abarth 500, we find that it’s an exciting time to be a fan of the Italian car brand.

The model will land in showrooms worldwide around the middle of 2016. About a year later, it will be joined by a performance-oriented model as well. While the regular 124 Spider is designed to be comfortable, the Abarth version will not only pack more power but should handle like it’s on fire.

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Rendering Looks Discreet

The 124 Abarth will act as the halo of the scorpion brand that will also give us a tweaked version of that 500X crossover with around 200 horsepower.

This rendering made by X-Tomi Design shows us what we could expect. He digitally installed multi-spoke alloy wheels and played with the body kit to put the venom back into the scorpion’s sting.

But predicting what engine will be used for this project is nearly impossible. For a long time, it looked like the Alfa Romeo 4C’s 1,750cc turbo would be adopted. However, we consider the existing 1.4L turbo as a much more likely candidate.

North American versions of the Fiat 124 Spider have a rating of 160 horsepower. Meanwhile, their European cousins only get 140 PS and are also down on torque. Abarth has shown it can push the 1.4L to 190 horsepower with recent tuning projects and we think that’s more than enough in a car that weighs about one ton.

Mazda have said a definite “no” to any turbocharged version of the MX-5 because it goes against the grain of the project. However, Japanese models are already available with tuning bits that Abarth might want: tower braces, underbody braces and especially Bilstein suspension that’s honed for the track.

Abarth wants to make hardcore cars for people who go to track days, not warmed-up Fiat like the discontinued Grande Punto Abarth. A clear indication of this is last year’s Abarth 696 Biposto. By doing so, the performance brand is distancing itself even further from Fiat, which now wants simple, cheap family cars for the average consumer. By: autoevolution