Our pals at the UK's Autocar magazine are reporting that Fiat is considering building a fixed-roof version of its Mazda MX-5-based 124 Spider.
Fiat showed a fixed-lid 124 at the Geneva auto show in March, but there's apparently much debate among "insiders" about whether a production version would share that car's shape, or adopt a more fastback-like tail, as shown above in Autocar's lovely rendering. We're hoping for the latter, but those anonymous sources say that solution would be too expensive to engineer, as it would require significant structural changes.
Then, there is the question of powertrains. Our 124 comes with a turbocharged 1.4L that cranks out 160 hp and 184 lb-ft, while Europe makes do with a non-turbo version of the same engine, good for just 140 hp. For the record, Mazda North America bolts a 2.0L into the MX-5 that makes 155 hp and 148 lb-ft. Because fixed-roof cars are more structurally rigid than drop-tops, a hardtop 124's chassis would be up to the challenge of more power and a stiffer suspension, so that the forthcoming 124 Abarth's stronger engine is a strong candidate as a standard feature.
All of this is conjecture of course, but as much as we love the MX-5 and 124 Spider, a hardtop version would, in some ways, be even more appealing. As soon as we learn more about the future of this concept, we'll let you know.