New Abarth 124 GT 2018 UK evaluation
The brand new carbon fibre lid weighs simply 16kg, and Abarth claims that it provides somewhat structural rigidity to the open-top chassis – and extra physique management because of this. It homes a heated glass rear display too which, being wider than the one you get with the usual material hood, makes the GT simpler to see out of. The roof is detachable, so in case you nonetheless wish to get pleasure from open air thrills, it’s only a few screws (and a cleared area within the storage) away.
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Whereas the additional mass would possibly look like a nasty factor in a automobile that weighs little over a tonne, it’s totally offset by the GT’s subsequent most eye-catching function. The 17-inch OZ Ultraleggera wheels every weigh 4kg lower than the 124’s customary rims and, mixed with the roof, give the GT the look of a mini road-going racer.
However does it really feel like one? Properly, very similar to the usual model of the Abarth 124, the GT is a firmer tackle the Mazda MX-5 with which it was co-developed, and it rolls much less by way of the corners because of this. It does break free extra sharply when the bounds of grip are reached, but it surely’s nonetheless totally predictable and reassuring. Most significantly, it’s nonetheless enormous enjoyable.
The steering might do with somewhat extra suggestions, however the rack itself is weighted properly and feels splendidly correct. Does the roof’s rigidity make it really feel extra exact? Not by a drastic quantity, although the quantity of vibration (or lack thereof) by way of the rear view mirror proves that it has banished among the synonymous convertible scuttle shake.
The experience, although firmer than the MX-5, by no means feels uncomfortable, and the drop in unsprung weight led to by these wheels has improved issues ever so barely. The Brembo brakes are highly effective and confidence-inspiring underneath foot.
The engine is unchanged from the common Abarth 124, so there’s 168bhp to play with from the a 1.4-litre turbo engine. It’s at its finest within the mid-range – there isn’t an enormous incentive to rev it to the crimson line as you’ll within the Mazda, and the engine feels tardy when it’s off increase.
Nevertheless, it’ll crack 0-62mph in underneath seven seconds, and 45mpg real-world gasoline financial system is totally achievable. It’s mated to an exquisite six pace gearbox, and pedals that are properly positioned for heel-and-toe downshifts.
And a fast blip of the throttle might be all too tempting due to the ‘Record Monza’ exhaust. The quad tailpipes produce an exquisite gargle at low speeds, creating into an indignant rasp in direction of the highest finish. It’s only a disgrace that, due to the roof, it isn’t fairly as pleasing as it’s in the usual automobile.
That’s compounded by the truth that the exhausting high – just like the tin-top within the MX-5 RF – appears to supply extra wind noise than the material hood at motorway speeds. At the very least you get a Bose sound system (a £795 possibility on the conventional 124) to drown it out.
There’s three colors to select from, and every automobile comes geared up with dusk-sensing LED headlights, rear parking sensors and rain-sensitive wipers.
However right here’s the factor: the Abarth 124 GT prices £33,625. Whereas some would possibly suppose the carbon roof and exclusivity is value the additional £4,000 over the Abarth 124 Spider, the newly-revised Mazda MX-5 2.0-litre is now a few tenths sooner to 62mph than the Abarth, is as a lot enjoyable to drive, however prices simply £22,295.