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VIDEO: Abarth 124 Spider v Mazda MX-5 v Subaru BRZ rev battle

By Louis Cordony, 30 Jan 2017 Features

Mazda’s, Fiat’s, and Subaru’s cheap thrillers gather for a sound off

VIDEO: Abarth 124 Spider v Mazda MX-5 v Subaru BRZ rev battle

Okay, engines aren't really what these cars are about.

Mazda’s MX-5, Abarth’s 124 Spider, and Subaru’s BRZ deliver thrills in a different way to burly rear-drivers from Australia or Germany. But we still care what they sound like.

That’s why during a recent comparison we lined up the three cheap rear-drivers for a sound off video. The first to clear its throat was Subaru’s BRZ.

The brand’s boxer-four is popular for the configuration’s signature off-beat rumble. Especially in turbocharged form.

Subaru brz engineThe atmo 2.0-litre boxer’s not so revered. Even though, this is the most Subaru’s squeezed from the unit (152kW and 212Nm) and for 2017 it scores longer runners and a beefier exhaust.

Whether that’s added bite to its bark is up for debate but there’s no doubting the Abarth 124 Spider belts out a mean war cry.

As the Mazda's Italian cousin the Spider certainly plays to the country’s reputation for shouty, dramatic sportscars.

2016 fiat 124 spider engineThere might be only 1.4-litres hiding under that bonnet but that DOHC inline-four makes a racket from its capacity.

Blowing spent gases through a Garret turbocharger and then out an Abarth sports exhaust system the engine plays a tune both wicked and guttural.

It’s the main point of difference to its donor, Mazda’s MX-5. We’ve brought along Mazda’s 2.0-litre variant, forgoing the 1.5-litre, to keep up with the Subaru and Abarth on price.  

Mazda mx-5 20 litre engineBut the ‘big-block’ engine can’t hide from its mainstream origins. Pinched from the Mazda 3 it’s obvious its outputs (118kW and 200Nm), rather than its vocal chords, add the most excitement.

Of course this is all up for debate. This video’s no Hollywood production; we recorded the three with an iPhone at a dragstrip. But it’s good enough for you to make a call on which you think sounds best.

Drop your two cents in the comment box below.