We all know that BMW is currently working on a replacement for the now-ancient Z4 roadster. The current BMW Z4 is quite long in the tooth and, frankly, no longer competitive in the segment. The Z4 needs a replacement badly, and there’s a possibility of one coming from both BMW and Toyota, but the competition is growing rapidly and the most dangerous competition may come from Italy. And Japan.
Fiat is said to be making a 124 Spider to compete in the same segment as the BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK Class and the Audi TT Roadster.
The Fiat 124 Spider will be based on the brand-new Mazda MX-5 chassis and could be available with the Fiat 500 Abarth’s 1.4 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine or the Alfa Romeo 4C’s 1.7 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The 1.7 liter engine is properly potent in the 4C and would make this lightweight roadster an absolute joy to drive. The MX-5’s chassis is also one of the best convertible chassis in the world, so it should be excellent to drive as well.
Fiats have always been about being small, quirky, full of character and, overall, fun. This 124 Spider should be no different, as it will be based on the incredibly fun Mazda MX-5, should have an awesome little turbocharged four-cylinder engine and, if its anything like the Abarth or 4C, will sound fantastic. The Fiat 124 Spider, on paper at least, is looking like it could be much more of a thrill to drive than the other three Germans. That’s the main focus of Fiats and Alfa Romeos, to be fun and exciting.
Ironically, the next Z4 is also likely to share a Japanese chassis. It will also likely have extensive uses of carbon fiber reinforced plastic in its chassis and will be lightweight and fun to drive. However, the 124 Spider might very well be as light, as it will be based on the featherweight MX-5 and will have such simplicity as a manual-folding roof. The Z4 will likely be quite a bit more complex than that and will have a heavy folding-metal roof. So the Fiat 124 Spider is off to a good start just that.
Admittedly, there isn’t much information about the Fiat 124 Spider out there, and even less about the upcoming Z4 replacement. But it is interesting to see how the roadster landscape is changing and what the upcoming Z4 will have to step onto. New roadsters are getting lighter, simpler and more fun. This Fiat 124 is a roadster to absolutely something to look forward to. It also looks like it could very well be the roadster to beat when the next BMW Z4 does debut.