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2017 Fiat 124 Spider questions if the answer is always Miata

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It's a popular response among fans of Mazda's iconic, compact, rear-driver roadster ? the answer to any question is always Miata. With the new MX-5-based Fiat 124 Spider, though, the Italians could be set to supplant Hiroshima's finest offering.

That is partially because the new 124 Spider brings us something we've long been clamoring for in the Miata. Fiat ditched the MX-5's standard-issue 2.0-liter, Skyactiv four-cylinder, and replaced it with the popular 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder from the 500 Abarth. While it's worth getting excited about the new roadster's singing voice, it's the big jump in torque that will truly transform the driving experience. Rather than 148 pound-feet, there's a meaty 184 lb-ft, a figure which is paired with 160 horsepower (five more than the MX-5).

As Managing Editor Ewing explained in his by-the-numbers comparison of the two roadsters, it's this new powertrain that has the most potential to change the dynamite MX-5 driving experience. Of course, we won't know how it handles for certain until we get behind the wheel. Stay tuned for that saga.

As for the looks, we'd argue that they're largely subjective. Among the Autobloggers in attendance at the 2015 LA Auto Show, opinions seem to be split, with some appreciating the Fiata's extensive overhaul while others (notably professed Miata fanatic Ewing) are set firmly against it.
 
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