Author Topic: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day  (Read 1331 times)

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Offline Salvos_white_abarth

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Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« on: October 22, 2016, 08:49:50 PM »
After test driving a fiat 124 for about 5 minutes due to the sales man being rubbish lol i got my hands on a abarth 124....

One of the sales man handed me the keys and said "enjoy bring it before we close"...i wanted somebody next to me to be honest incase something happend but they couldnt let any sales man off the shop floor....anwyay....


Mixed views:

Driving:
Seats NICE and comfy and look great 10/10
gearbox - the car had a low 37 miles on it so i guess still tight but i didnt like it at all..very grainy feel to it and stiff so i struggled to get into 1st and 2nd a few times which wasnt nice when trying to join a roundabout.
Very wide long bonnet so had to be careful
handbrake - hate how hight it goes.
Speedo - quite awqward getting used to the speedo on the corner and very small so a few speeding tickets very easy toget.

Sound
Monza- sounds quieter on idle but brilliant on the move..very nice indeed! 10/10 popped a fair few times easy too.

Street cred - i felt like a celeb...people pointing and looking so very flash

Handling...it doesnt feel as lively as the little abarth and didnt feel nimble.

Speed - To be honest it didnt throw me and didnt give me the grin factor, i dont even think it was that fast either. it didnt feel fast.

Styling - the car was red with black inserts and bumpers....it was also very very dirty and dusty and it did nothing for me which im really disapointed about.

When i jumped back into mine it felt so lively like i was doing a million miles per hour and the grin was still there.

Overall i hate to say it but im dissapointed. no way would i pay 30k espesh with the lack of options and colours and wheels.


Would i buy 1? 30k NO

25K MABY reconsider it BUT only when they release new colors and new wheels and hopefully different styling bits .


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Offline rsk289

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Re: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2016, 09:47:22 AM »
Interesting thoughts, Salvos - I look forward to getting mine and comparing notes!

I was given a test drive by my dealer yesterday as I was in the area and I'm still waiting...

Their only demonstrator was a silver/black automatic.  I'm probably coming from a different angle than most to this car, as I've owned several more 'classic' shaped sports cars over the years (TR4A, TR6, Stag (if that counts), Jensen-Healey, Sunbeam Tiger, Austin Healey 3000 et.c etc.) and am used to a long bonnet and sitting over the back wheels.  So, I love the shape of the 124 and much prefer it to the more modern options such as the 4C.  It's personal taste, but the layout, look, weight distribution and 'feel' of the 124 are great for me - they're what I'm used to.
I agree with the comfort comments - the seats are great and the cockpit is a nice place to be.  Very little blustering so nice with the top down.  Don't remember the handbrake - I tend not to use them.
It surprised me that FCA were going to offer an auto in this model, and driving one hasn't helped.  I wouldn't even consider the auto option (indeed, didn't).  The engine is not big enough, and has too big a turbo bolted on to it, to allow a 6-speed auto box to work effectively - I found the thing changing gear all the time, and not always when I expected it to, especially around town.
That said, the engine is interesting and if you allow it up past 3500-4000 rpm it gets more interesting.  I think there is a problem with so many people now driving diesels, there's a tendency to not get the revs up to where they are needed, I don't know.  When I held this 'box in gear I felt it had plenty of grunt for a car this size and weight.  I didn't get up where I would have liked to try it as the salesman was sitting next to me, but at 4500 it starts to shift.
And yes, the exhaust sounds great, I felt it was pretty noticeable at idle but not so much on the move.  I've had a lot louder than that in the past, but that was then... and with their history, you'd expect Abarth to be able to build a great exhaust system, as that's how they started out.
The handling felt precise and lively:  whilst I had to remember to drive in RWD mode, I would like to have been able to play with the LSD but again not really possible with 'sales' present.
I can't believe they let you drive a dirty car in public.  The Bedford dealer wouldn't let me near his until it had been washed (and the cleaner was already washing it when I arrived, so it got two), and it was presented immaculately.

Yes, I would buy one - well, I have - because I like the traditional look and layout, and I think the power unit (nicely placed behind the front axle line, and a very neat installation) is very interesting.  I do not like Porsches or anything mid-engined, and the 124 is so much better looking to my eyes than the MX5 which I wouldn't consider.
I'll be examining the operation of the manual 'box carefully after your comments, though!

Roger
'68 Cooper S, '68 Mustang GT fastback, '01 M Coupé, '65 AC Cobra 289, '68 Land Rover 88" Station Wagon, '67 2CV van... and now, '16 124 Spider

Offline Salvos_white_abarth

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Re: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2016, 08:45:35 PM »
when do you think youl pick it up mate?let us know how you get on.

Offline rsk289

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Re: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2016, 11:08:48 PM »
I was told a couple of days ago by Abarth customer services that the second batch of cars is at Turin docks awaiting shipping to the UK.  I don't believe they have a boat booked for this yet, or so I was told.  Customer Services guessed at a couple of weeks.
'68 Cooper S, '68 Mustang GT fastback, '01 M Coupé, '65 AC Cobra 289, '68 Land Rover 88" Station Wagon, '67 2CV van... and now, '16 124 Spider

Offline sloppysue

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Re: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2016, 01:03:19 PM »
Apparently mine is reaching the showroom some time next week  :)

Offline rsk289

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Re: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2016, 05:37:24 PM »
Yep,  status 50 - they're in Bristol waiting to go on the truck!!
I got a call from the dealer this morning asking me to take in my numberplates and retention cert (nothing flash, just an old plate I had on a Jensen many years ago) as the car is expected there either tomorrow or early next week.  PDI to do, and confirm the type approval checks, and we should get them next week.

Roger
'68 Cooper S, '68 Mustang GT fastback, '01 M Coupé, '65 AC Cobra 289, '68 Land Rover 88" Station Wagon, '67 2CV van... and now, '16 124 Spider

Offline sloppysue

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Re: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2016, 06:16:05 PM »
Great news Roger  ;D

Offline rsk289

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Re: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2016, 03:22:00 PM »
It's in Bedford - won't be able to collect until Friday - the suspense is killing me -
'68 Cooper S, '68 Mustang GT fastback, '01 M Coupé, '65 AC Cobra 289, '68 Land Rover 88" Station Wagon, '67 2CV van... and now, '16 124 Spider

Offline rsk289

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Re: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2016, 08:51:12 PM »
OK - 50 miles in, and I just love it.  The noise verges on the obscene for such a small motor, but it really goes.  Wind it up to around 5 - 5.5k (still running in) and it feels like I'm in the M Coupé, which has over double the power.  But more than that, the balance and bum feel* is really, really good, with flat cornering and a good compromise between stiff and comfortable, great for a road car.  Very tall diff ratio, which makes crawling in second tricky - but makes the higher gears more useable.  Light years better than the auto I test drove.  I wonder if there was an issue with the car Salvos tested, as the gearbox in mine is smooth and easy to use.  More please - have a 700-mile trip planned for the weekend, really looking forward to it.

*you can only really feel a car through your backside.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2016, 11:45:54 PM by rsk289 »
'68 Cooper S, '68 Mustang GT fastback, '01 M Coupé, '65 AC Cobra 289, '68 Land Rover 88" Station Wagon, '67 2CV van... and now, '16 124 Spider

Offline sloppysue

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Re: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2016, 05:45:23 PM »
Sounds great!
Sadly my order was messed up by the guys in Turin and a different car was delivered! I've another two weeks to wait

Offline rsk289

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Re: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2016, 11:27:03 PM »
I've now done 700 miles in the 124 since Friday and am really coming to terms with it. 

It's pretty high geared in the rear axle department, which means learning a different junction/roundabout technique especially when not in 'sport' mode (manual 'box).  First gear is essential when rolling at walking speed as pick is decidedly slow in second.  In general the car bats along very respectably in 'standard' mode, and feels quick for a 1.4 and very responsive.  Flick it into 'sport' and you can instantly feel the difference, with greatly increased pickup and an indecent amount of grunt up to 5.5k. The highish gearing means 3k at 70 in 6th which places it nicely in the powerband to allow easy acceleration beyond this (obviously I'm extrapolating here as I would never exceed 70).  As it's new I haven't explored the higher reaches of the rev range yet but I get the impression that it tails off a bit after about 5k anyway. 
Plenty fast enough for me and a superb chassis and weight distribution.  Over this number of miles with 'spirited' driving, on a fair mixture of motorway and twiddly bits, it's given around 42mpg - but that's a small sample and anyway I haven't bought it for its frugality.

Really love it, and perhaps unsurprisingly didn't see another one all trip!

Roger
'68 Cooper S, '68 Mustang GT fastback, '01 M Coupé, '65 AC Cobra 289, '68 Land Rover 88" Station Wagon, '67 2CV van... and now, '16 124 Spider

Offline martinmoore50

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Re: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2017, 11:05:25 PM »
Hi - new to the forum here!

I test drove the Abarth today, just after giving the 2 litre  MX-5 Sport and RF models a bash - as these are the three cars I'm weighing up.

I found the Mazdas underwhelming and under-powered (and this is coming from a Mk 2 1.8iS owner). Cabin was fine but the test drives (unescorted) didn't put the smile on my face I still get from my Mk 2.

So, after testing those in Weybridge I made a quick call to Abarth in Aldershot and they agreed to let me have a spin in the 124 Spider. The sales chap was with me the whole time (which I actually preferred to going unescorted - partly for the chat but also as it meant I had 30 mins with the car, directed around roads I was unfamiliar with).

Anyway, on to the drive...

Wow. The pop and crackle from the exhaust is light years away from the Mazda's hushed tones. The drive was fairly comparable, though noticably stiffer. I noticed an enormous difference when setting off in first but, as others have mentioned, it's definitely lacking oomph in second gear. That said, when I got onto an A road and opened her up a bit into third and fourth, she really sang. Such a satisfying drive and it's convinced me the extra cash is worth it for the Abarth over the Mazda.

Love the interior finish too and the seats (leather but not Recaro) were very comfortable. I'm 6ft and found the cabin and seats snug but very comfortable.

Offline rsk289

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Re: Test drove the 124 abarth the other day
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2017, 10:56:57 PM »
The key is the 'sport' button.  The whole car comes alive with that flicked forwards.
'68 Cooper S, '68 Mustang GT fastback, '01 M Coupé, '65 AC Cobra 289, '68 Land Rover 88" Station Wagon, '67 2CV van... and now, '16 124 Spider