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Hopes For A Fiat 124 Spider Power Bump For 2019 Fade

We have been closely watching for clues that Fiat will follow Mazda's Miata example and bump up the power of the 124 Spider. Here's why we are losing hope.

Mazda has announced a nice little power bump for the 2019 MX-5 Miata. Power will increase to 181 hp from 155 starting this fall. We Fiat 124 Spider fans have been holding out hope that the Spider will see improvements as well.

However, hope is fading. We do know that there are changes coming. Fiat's spokesperson acknowledged that something will change. However, when we were offered the chance to learn all the details on the condition that we keep them secret until the car is formally introduced, we politely declined. It's more fun to speculate and try to uncover our own clues. Sadly, we have a clue now that seems to tell the story.

When an engine changes power it is almost impossible for the fuel economy numbers not to change a bit. Mazda's did when it updated the engine for 2019. Thanks to advancements in technology the changes are not always bad. Fuel economy and power do often both rise at the same time. However, keeping all of the Combined, City, and Highway numbers identical almost never happens.

That is why we were dismayed to see that the numbers for both transmission versions of the Fiat 124 Spider have exactly the same fuel economy numbers for 2019 as they did in 2018. Zero changes. We surmise that this means the engine options remain the same.

There is still much to look forward to for the new year as we outlined in a prior story. However, if you were hoping for the 124 Spider to pass 200 hp in 2019 you will likely be disappointed.


DeanMcManis (not verified)    July 16, 2018 - 8:34PM

John, your logic is good on tying the announced 2019 fuel economy numbers of the Fiat 124 Spyder with potential power gains. But the upcoming 2019 MX-5 actually breaks the rules, showing a 26HP gain, but ALSO showing a 1 MPH combined EPA mileage gain. I will agree however that this is uncommon, and further that the Fiat 124 Spyder does not share the same drivetrain as the MX-5. Also importantly when Fiat came out with the Abarth version of the 124 Spyder there were no HP gains at all, just color and trim changes. It has been a disappointment that despite the turbocharged engine, the heavier 124 Spyder offered poorer performance overall than the MX-5, and that was before this improved MX-5 has come out, so if they do not improve the 124 Spyder's performance now, it will follow further behind the MX-5, and it's other competition. I hope that we are wrong, and that Fiat has a great HP surprise up their sleeve for 2019, but historically Fiat has dropped the ball in this regard, whereas Mazda has come through with pleasant surprises, and done a better job at keeping fans faithful through progressive innovation.