I’m tired of the Miata. I never need to see another one in my life. They’re fun to drive, reliable as a Camry, cheap to buy, and that makes them the sensible, logical choice for a small sports car and I’m sick of them. The 124 Abarth allows me to enjoy all the MX-5's best qualities and do it in a much more interesting package.
I’ve always loved the 124 in its modern iteration but when I drove it compared to the MX-5 in December, 2016 I found it too soft and not special enough. The Abarth version, while pricey, fixes both those complaints. The stiffer suspension and sporty look increase the sense of drama and make it what the 124 should have been all along.
Gripes? I’ve got a few. The standard seats are too narrow at the shoulders for even the slimmest of drivers and they become very uncomfortable after a few hours. Luckily, the optional Recaros (not shown) are supremely comfortable and fix my only ergonomic complaint with the car.
My other gripe is the 1-2 shift. A shift you have to make very often in a car like this. 1st is a very low 4.4:1 ratio and 2nd is a drastically higher 2.3:1 ratio. This means even if you ride out 1st gear to 3,000 rpm, you shift into second well out of boost at a lugging 1,700 rpm. It’s very annoying and normal traffic will walk past you unless you rev 1st to 4,000 rpm so you can meet second at 2,000 rpm. A closer space between the two gears would be much better.
Otherwise, there’s very little else to complain about. It does what it says on the tin. It’s a light, small, direct, driver’s sports car. Now it just needs the exhaust from the Fiat 500 Abarth. I also wrote a full review of this car on Driving.ca if you want more in depth info.