A hard top on your Abarth 124 Spider convertible is a privilege, or so it would seem thanks to the appearance of this special edition GT that will be making its debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show next week.
Aside from fixed roof, which isn’t foldable and contrary to the route Mazda has taken with their MX-5 RF, the standard version of which forms the basis of the Abarth 124 Spider to begin with, the differentiators this and the non-GT would be the unique Alpi Orientali Grey exterior finish and the edition-specific OZ Ultralight 17-inch alloys.
Keener observers will also note that the standard 124 Spider lacks the GT’s gun metal shade and matching front spoiler. However, owners can also specify these two items to be made of carbon fibre, likely for a fair few pennies. The matte black bonnet that is reminiscent of 1972 Fiat Abarth 124 Rally is also an option, no doubt one that’s far less expensive, to bring back some of the look of the modern 124 Spider in standard soft-top spec.
Onto that carbon roof which tips the scales at just 16 kilograms and, in addition to be much safer during a roll over, significantly improves the 124 GT’s structural rigidity once firmly fixed into place. It’s rare that an add-on fixed hard top alters a convertible’s torsional dynamic range, and we’ll have to thank the unyielding nature of carbon fibre for that.
Inside, the roof itself is lined in a dark velvety material and even includes an built-in defroster to clear up the rear screen. For the same reasons outlined above, this particular roof does a better job at surprising outside noises and vibrations from entering the cabin, and unlike steel or aluminium hard top is much more suited to deflecting outside heat away from the passenger cell.
We don’t yet know how complicated it is to fit, or even if it can be removed without the need special tools. However, Abarth assures that it merely takes a few steps. We remain curious of this as well as whether the soft top is still embedded behind 124 GT’s front seats or been omitted in the interest of weight.
Under the bonnet we find the same 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder MultiAir petrol engine as used in the standard 124 Spider. It’s been tuned up to produce slightly more power at 134kW, which roughly 9kW more than the standard soft top, which already gave it a vastly different character over the MX-5 it’s based on and its 2.0-litre naturally aspirated SkyActiv motor.
As before, this engine is mated either to a six-speed manual (as nature intended) or a six-speed automatic. Row through the ratios quickly enough and you might be able to match Abarth’s claim of a 6.8-second dash to 100km/h.