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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth at New York

Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth

The Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth made its debut at the New York Auto Show this week. The new car channels the DNA of the European Abarth 124 as a performance package for the US Fiat 124 Spider.

Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth side

Long sweeping lines of the Fiat 124 are highlighted with an optional hand painted anti-glare blacked out hood and trunk, just like the iconic Fiat Abarth 124 Rally of the 1970. Gun Metal (metallic gray) trim is used on the windshield surround, lower sill and interior roll bars

Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth in NY

The Fiat 124 Spider was styled in Italy by a design team led by the former lead designer of Pininfarina. The Spider’s exterior body panels are made of high-strength steel, while the hood, trunk lid and front and rear bumper reinforcements are aluminum, as is the underbody crossmember, and the bulkhead panel.

Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth Emblem

Elaborazione Abarth translates loosely to "worked over" or "tuned" by Abarth.

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Tow Hook Plug

Detail look at the grille and and hand painted hood. The round plug on the grille hides the tow hook, which is a typical requirement on cars used on race tracks.

Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth Rear

Rear of the Elaborazione Abarth shows the unique rear diffuser, rear bumper and blacked out trunk lid.

Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth Interior

Shown were optional Recaro racing type seats in Nero (black) leather and Alcantara. Unique Nero leather/microfiber seats are standard, while leather seats in Nero or Nero/Rosso (black/red) are also available.

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Dashboard

Fiat Abarth 124 Spider

Aluminum-accented sport pedals, steering wheel trim and unique gear shift knob are part of the Abarth package.

Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth Tachometer

Red-faced tachometer keep track of the 1.4 L MultiAir Turbo's revs. The US car puts out 160 hp compared to the European Abarth 124's 170 hp, however, insider sources say the US car makes a very easy 160 hp, plus the difference in how the European car is measured means the difference in horsepower is not as great as it appears on paper.

Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth Dash

Rosso (red) stitching throughout, including on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, wrapped instrument cluster hood, lower instrument panel and parking brake.

Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth Wheel

17-inch Gun Metal aluminum wheels with optional Brembo monoblock aluminum calipers with four pistons.

Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth Front Suspension

Abarth tuned sport suspension includes mono-tube Bilstein front...

Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth Rear Suspension

... and rear shock absorbers. A mechanical limited slip differential features a low torque bias ratio for even more handling fun.

Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth Muffler

The rear muffler of the Elaborazione Abarth is specially tuned to produce a signature exhaust note.

 Look for the Fiat 124 Spider at Fiat Studios the beginning of Summer.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth Details!

The Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth is premiering tomorrow at the New York Auto Show. Below is the full press release and details on the car for your enjoyment. Make sure you follow the Fiat 500 USA Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages for images throughout the day tomorrow!

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth Offers Sportier, More Responsive Driving Experience for Performance Enthusiasts

  • 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth features sport suspension, mechanical limited slip differential, Sport Mode selector and sport-tuned, chrome quad-tip exhaust
  • Available Brembo braking system and Recaro seats for added sportiness
  • Powered by turbocharged MultiAir 1.4-liter engine with 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, available with manual transmission or automatic transmission with paddle shifters
  • Aggressive look with unique front and rear fascia, 17-inch Gun Metal (metallic gray) aluminum wheels, Gun Metal exterior accents and available hand-painted hood stripe, offering a one-of-a-kind appearance
  • 2017 Fiat 124 Spider delivers best-in-class horsepower and torque
  • Fiat 124 Spider models will be available in studios early this summer

March 22, 2016 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Since the introduction of the Fiat 500 Abarth at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, the DNA of Abarth has connected with driving enthusiasts in search of a sharp, wicked, fun-to-drive machine. Continuing the legacy of Karl Abarth’s performance-inspired vehicles known for their rich racing heritage, the 2017 Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth will debut at this year’s New York International Auto Show.

Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth Front

The Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth is the heir of the roadster that drove Fiat to its first European Rally Championship win in the 1970s. Applying the Abarth formula, the new 124 Spider is designed and built for thrills and performance. Key Abarth features include rear-wheel drive, a sophisticated suspension and a four-cylinder turbocharged MultiAir 1.4 Turbo engine with best-in-class 160 horsepower that is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shift.

The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth is the latest addition to the Fiat 124 Spider lineup, offering added performance features for a sportier, more spirited driving experience. While all Fiat 124 Spider models deliver responsive handling and excellent power-to-weight ratio in a robust rear-wheel-drive package, the Elaborazione Abarth model builds on the Spider’s engaging driving dynamics to offer even more fun for performance enthusiasts.

“Our new Fiat 124 Spider is an iconic roadster that combines classic Italian styling with modern performance and technology,” said Olivier Francois, Head of FIAT Brand, FCA – Global. “The addition of our new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth further enhances the driving experience and offers yet another head-turning, fun-to-drive vehicle to our customers.”

Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth Wheel

Performance characteristics
The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth features the proven turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder engine, delivering 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque and is paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The Elaborazione Abarth-exclusive Sport Mode changes the calibrations of the engine, automatic transmission, electric power steering and dynamic stability control system to ensure a sporty, responsive and performance-oriented driving experience.

A mechanical limited slip differential, featuring a low torque bias ratio, provides improved traction and handling, as well as improved launch performance and power delivery during cornering. The Elaborazione Abarth’s unique sport suspension includes mono-tube Bilstein front and rear shock absorbers for increased traction and more precise handling. The available Brembo braking system with 17-inch alloy wheels offers monoblock aluminum calipers with four pistons, allowing for improved braking.

Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth

Aggressive appearance
With a streamlined silhouette and a stretched bonnet, the Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth has an aggressive appearance, with unique front and rear fascia, black side sills, 17-inch Gun Metal aluminum wheels and a sport-tuned, chrome quad-tip exhaust with a unique exhaust sound. The Gun Metal header, mirror cover and roll bar complement five available paint colors: Bianco Gelato (White Clear Coat), Rosso Passione (Red Clear Coat), Nero Cinema (Jet Black Metallic), Grigio Argento (Gray Metallic) and tri-coat Bianco Perla (Crystal White Pearl).

The interior design reflects the performance-oriented details for which cars sporting the Scorpion badge are famous. There is Rosso (red) stitching throughout, including on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, wrapped instrument cluster hood, lower instrument panel and parking brake. A matte black instrument panel bezel, unique instrument cluster, aluminum-accented sport pedals and unique gear shift knob help to differentiate the Elaborazione Abarth model. Unique Nero (black) leather/microfiber seats are standard, while leather seats in Nero (black) or Nero/Rosso (black/red) are available. For true performance enthusiasts, leather and Alcantara Recaro seats are also available in Nero (black).

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
The all-new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider revives the storied nameplate, bringing its classic Italian styling and performance to a new generation. Paying homage to the original 124 Spider nearly 50 years after its introduction, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider delivers the ultimate Italian roadster experience with driving excitement, technology and safety combined with iconic Italian design.

The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider lineup also includes the Classica and Lusso models. To celebrate the return of the classic nameplate, the first 124 vehicles will be offered as a limited-edition Prima Edizione Lusso, featuring an exclusive color combination and commemorative badging. The all-new Fiat 124 Spider will arrive in FIAT studios in North America beginning in summer 2016.

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image and press release courtesy of FCA US LLC

Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth

North American Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth

The Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth is coming. This tongue twister may be what the Abarth 124 is called on this side of the Atlantic. At least this is what the preliminary information coming out has the car listed as. In Europe, Abarth is an actual car make and has its own dealerships and service centers. In the US, the relatively limited volume Abarth models sold here do not warrant the same treatment, hence the name Fiat 124 Spider with "Elaborazione Abarth" tacked onto the end. This loosely translates to a Fiat 124 Spider with the Abarth treatment. Elaborazione is Italian for elaboration but is closer to the expression 'worked' when seen attached to a car.

Whatever the official name is, we will see the debut this week at the New York Auto Show and its television premiere on "LIVE With Kelly And Michael" Thursday at 9 AM on ABC.

I'll be at the auto show this week taking plenty of pictures for us all, so make sure you keep an eye on the Fiat 500 USA Instagram and Facebook pages as well as the blog and forum. Between the Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth and the new Alfa Romeo Giulia lineup debut, it is going to be an exciting week!

Update:  Read the full details on the Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth here!

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Alfa Romeo Giulia Range Debut Video

New Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo debuted the European Giulia model range at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show earlier this month. The new models unveiled join the top of the range Giulia Quadrifoglio that debuted in Italy last June and at the LA Auto show in November.

The new Giulia reestablishes Alfa Romeo as a force to be reckoned with in the premium mid-size car category. Utilizing the best and brightest Italian designers and engineers and under the leadership of ex-Ferrari managers, the new Giulia is the distillation of the traditions and qualities that make up the Alfa Romeo legend.

In the video below, Harald Wester, Head of Alfa Romeo tells us what makes the Giulia unique and in a class of its own.

We will have more on the new Giulia as it makes its North American debut next week at the New York Auto Show.  While you are waiting, check out the links below to read more about Alfa Romeo and the Giulia.

Video and images courtesy of FCA

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fiat at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show

Fiat Display at 2016 Geneva Motor Show

Fiat has treated us poor unfortunates who were unable to get over to Geneva with video highlights of the auto show held there. It was a big show for Fiat, with the introduction of the new Tipo 5 door and wagon, 124 Spider, and Fullback pickup as well as the redesigned 500S. Take a look!

Fiat debuted the Tipo 5-door and Station Wagon at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The new models join the award winning Tipo 4-door sedan that debuted last year. Last month, the Tipo won the coveted Autobest 2016 award. Established in 2001, the Autobest Award is chosen by a multinational panel of European automotive journalist. Eligible cars are evaluated in thirteen different categories, including design, comfort, running cost-effectiveness, driveability, price, service network, spare parts distribution, versatility and buy-back value.

New Fiat Tipo 5-Door

The Tipo won, beating out three notable finalists: the Hyundai Tucson, the Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-3. The Judges named the Tipo outstanding in terms of design, engines, perceived quality, comfort, versatility and excellent price-to-quality ratio.

Fiat 124 Spider Anniversary Edition

Prominently displayed at the show was the new 124 Spider, which went on pre-order sale late in February in the major EMEA region markets. An original Fiat 124 Spider was on hand to give context to the new design. The 1970 model shown is painted in Colorado Yellow and equipped with the 110 HP, 1608 engine complete with two Weber 40 IDF twin-barrel carburetors.

2017 Fiat 500S Sport

2017 Fiat 500S Sport Rear Valance

Fiat also debuted the new 500S, a revised Sport version of the iconic 500. Building upon and incorporating the features of the redesigned 500 that debuted last July 4th, the new Sport model now has new front and rear fascias and trim. The big question is when the US will see these updated models.

Fiat Kung Fu Panda Show Car

The show display included the popular 500L and 500X models, as well as the best-selling Panda and an exclusive "Kung Fu Panda" Show Car. Rounding out the presentation was a the new Fullback pick-up truck, specially designed for leisure activities.

Fiat Fullback Pickup
Finally, the show stand is said to represents the two functional and exciting worlds that characterize the Fiat brand. The video below describes this concept that drives Fiat more.

Fiat Press Conference at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show: Tipo 5 door and Wagon Debut.

The full Fiat press conference given by Olivier Francois, Global Head of Fiat, held at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Francois introduces the new Tipo models, presents an overview of the model lineup and also explains the functional and aspirational sides of the brand and where each model fits into the scheme.

Source: Images and video courtesy of FCA

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Abarth at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show

Abarth 124 at the Geneva Motor Show

Couldn't get over to Geneva to watch the unveiling of the new Abarth 124? No worries, here is the press conference video introducing the car, plus other videos with highlights of the show stand.

Paolo Gagliardo, Head of Operations at Abarth, introduces the new Abarth 124 spider and Abarth 124 rally.

A look at the different Abarth models on display at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Shown are the new Abarth 124, 695 Biposto Record and 595 Competizione.

Next up is the Abarth 124 rally, the ultimate 124 spider. The top spec rally car uses a potent Alfa Romeo 1750 cc direct injected, turbocharged engine with 300 hp, plus the full complement of race ready gear.

Images and videos courtesy of FCA.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Fiat 500 Sales for February 2016

Fiat 500C Cabrios and Original

February sales of the Fiat 500X crossover were up 52 percent compared to last month, helping offset slowing sales of 500 hatchback/Cabrio and 500L models. Overall Fiat brand sales for February 2016 totaled 2,993, down 9% compared to the 3,289 cars sold during February of last year.

Fiat 500X Trekking Plus

Low gas prices as well as shifting market preferences to larger models and CUVs in particular, continues to impact sales of smaller cars. It is a trend that doesn't show signs of stopping anytime soon. It will be interesting to see how Fiat will conteract this trend and sources say we may see some changes coming in the near future.

Fiat 500 USA Forum Instagram image

Sales of the 500X may have picked up this month partly because of reports hitting the internet of its outstanding winter driving capabilities.

Fiat 500L Trekking

February Fiat News

February brought news that the Fiat 500 was ranked the most dependable car in its class by J.D. Power in their 2016 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study. Not only did the 500 win its segment, the study also ranks the 500's dependability on par with BMW, Cadillac, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and Subaru. The Fiat 500 is no stranger to awards and accolades but this one may come as a surprise to those who don't own or follow the brand.

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Fiat 124 Spider Lusso and Prima Edizione

We took a look at what the new Fiat 124 Spider costs in Europe and what it might be here in the U.S. The new spider may be the most anticipated sports cars this year and we have a busy forum buzzing with excitement for you to check out while you are waiting.

Read more:

European Abarth 124 spider

The new European Abarth 124 spider just debuted yesterday and there is talk that we may have more news about it at the NY Auto Show later this month. We'll be reporting from the show, so stay close to the Fiat 500 USA Blog for the latest news.

Fiat Brand Sales in the United States, January - February 2016
Fiat 500Current MonthLast Year 2015Vol ChangeCurrent YTD TotalLast Year YTD TotalChange  %













Figures and sources: FCA US LLC
Images: FCA US LLC and author

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

2017 Abarth 124 Spider Unveiled!

New 2017 Abarth 124 spider

The new Abarth 124 spider has just been unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show today. Abarth takes the standard Fiat 124 Spider and adds all the performance features enthusiasts have been waiting for. Engine power is upgraded considerably from European spec 138 hp to 170hp. This is ten hp more than the US spec Spider. Engine torque goes from 177 lbsFt to 184 lbsFt or the same as the US spec Spider.

2017 Abarth 124 spider front view

The Abarth 124 spider weighs in at 2,337 lbs or about 22 lbs more than the base spider.  This gives a power to weight ratio of 13.7lbs/Hp - the best in its class. Zero to 62 mph is reached in 6.8 seconds and the Abarth has a top speed of 143 mph.

2017 Abarth 124 spider rear 3/4 view

A mechanical Limited-Slip differential is standard equipment along with "Abarth by Bilstein" dampers, stiffened anti-roll bars, and specific suspension and stability tuning designed to get the most out of the rear-wheel drive chassis. When desired, the Abarth 124 spider also allows the driver to turn off the electronic stability controls for a pure unassisted driving experience and the ability to throttle-steer.

The Abarth 124 spider is offered with either a six-speed manual or the automatic Sequenziale Sportivo gearbox equipped with paddle shifters. A Brembo braking system, with aluminum front caliper, is standard.

Original Fiat 124 Abarth Rally

The exterior gets the full Abarth treatment, too with a new front bumper with larger air intakes, and a new rear bumper with aerodynamically functional extractor. Like the legendary Fiat 124 Abarth from the 70s, a Racing Anti-glare kit is fitted and features matte black treatment for hood and trunk lid. The standard 17-inch alloy wheels, windscreen surround and interior roll bars are finished in "Forgiato Grey".

Abarth 124 spider interior

In keeping with its Italian heritage, Abarth treats the interior to a sporty and sophisticated looking Racing Alcantara Kit. A new steering wheel and revised instrument gauge graphics are also featured in the decidedly upscale looking interior.

Abarth 124 spider top down

An Abarth wouldn't be complete without a performance exhaust, and the standard Record Monza exhaust system gives the Abarth 124 its signature sound. The system is custom fitted at the Abarth headquarters located in Torino. Each car is then tested and certified by an Abarth technician who affixes a sequentially numbered metal plate to the first 2,500 cars certifying the exclusivity of Abarth 124 spider.

Abarth 124 spider top up

Five exterior colors are available. Each named after one of the prestigious races the original Fiat 124 Abarth won back in the day. Colors are: special solid "Turini 1975 White " and "Costa Brava 1972 Red, metallic "Isola d'Elba 1974 Blue", "Portogallo 1974 Grey" and "San Marino 1972 Black".

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Abarth 124 spider engine

The European Abarth 124 Spider prices start at €40,000 or about €7,000 more than the standard 124 Anniversary Edition and will be available in Europe beginning in September. The US version has yet to be announced, but rumors say that the New York Auto Show may bring news.

Abarth 124 rally

New Abarth 124 Rally Version Unveiled

Abarth also unveiled at Geneva a full blown racing prototype called the Abarth 124 rally. This one sports an 1800 cc "bialbero" turbocharged direct injection engine with up to 300HP at 6500 rpm. Bialbero is the Italian way of saying "Twin Cam" which is a nod to the historic Twin Cam engines the company produced in the 1960s. People will recognize this engine as the Alfa Romeo 1750 Turbo Benzina used in cars like the Giulietta and 4C sports cars.

Original Fiat 124 Abarth Rally

The Italian race specialist company, LM Gianetti, worked with Abarth's Technical Team to completely re-engineer the bodywork and the suspension. EXT SHOX contributed and developed a 4-way adjustable shock for use in the 124 rally. BMC worked together with the Abarth team and developed a high-performance air intake system, and the OZ wheel company came up with a new, light-weight yet rugged racing wheel.

Fiat 124 Abarth Rally with gravel guard

Sabelt supplies the seats as well as racing harnesses and the interior is trimmed in Alcantara to cut on down sun glare and reduce weight.

Full rally spec chassis reinforcements, roll bar, and sequential six-speed paddle shifted transmission are also part of the package.

2017 Abarth 124 rally rear 3/4 view

An interesting bit of trivia is the Abarth 124 rally has an internal project code of SE139. This designation is said to have a history that goes back directly to Carlo Abarth. The SE stands for "Sports" and "Experimental", and the 139 is a progressive number that pays tribute to the 67 year history of Abarth, which has managed to develop an average of two racing projects per year. Something only a select few car manufacturers can be proud of.

The Abarth 124 rally is homologated for the FIA R-GT category and will compete starting in the 2017 Rally Season.

Source: FCA NV
Images and video: FCA