ABARTH has revealed its interpretation of the bantamweight hardtop sportscar destined to become a thorn in the side of the Mazda MX-5 RF, ahead of the 124 GT’s official debut at the Geneva motor show this month.
The 124 Spider has a simple mechanical folding soft top. In contrast, the freshly revealed GT has an ultralight bolt-on carbonfibre hard top for a little extra comfort and torsional rigidity – without adding excessive weight.
Mazda’s RF might have a clever folding targa-style roof for added convenience, but it adds a significant 47kg over the circa one-tonne kerb weight, whereas the composite Abarth roof adds just 16kg.
The new roof brings a smoother less angular look to the 124 roofline and replaces the Spider’s matte black fabric finish with a cool unpainted carbon weave. Its curved glass rear window immediately distinguishes the GT from its rag-roofed cousin and has a demister for more winter motoring convenience.
The GT’s 17-inch OZ wheels are also unique to the carbon-roof 124, and save three kilos over the standard items, as are a number of other options including Alpi Orientali Grey paint, carbon rear spoiler and a choice of carbon, gunmetal or red mirror caps.
Exact global allocation is yet to be confirmed, including whether the variant will be offered as a limited special edition or even if Australian fans will get a piece of the action. Abarth’s local operation says it will evaluate the GT and won’t rule out sales here.
Beyond the roof and aesthetic tweaks, its business as usual for the 124. Its turbo 1.4-litre pumps out the same 125kW and 250Nm as the soft top, sending power to the rear axle via a choice of manual or automatic transmissions.
Despite the extra 16kg, 0-100km/h acceleration is unchanged at 6.8 seconds compared with the MX-5 RF’s benchmark 7.3sec dash.
If the GT does make it Down Under, it is likely its high-tech roof will command an increased premium over the standard Abarth 124 Spider, which starts from $41,990 driveaway for the manual.
More details of the new 124 variant are expected when it rolls out in Switzerland next week.