Somebody screwed up. That, at least, was my first thought upon slipping into the compact cabin of the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider and finding, not a sweet little six-speed shifter, but an automatic. Somebody, when filling in the order form, foolishly and unforgivably ticked the $1,350 six-speed auto transmission option
I’m no kneejerk auto gearbox hater, but the 124 Spider is – like the Mazda MX-5 Miata it shares a chassis, suspension, and production line with, among other things – a car you’re meant to row yourself.
Back up a little. The 124 was never originally intended to be a Fiat, with parent company FCA initially intending its deal with Mazda to spawn a small, relatively affordable Alfa Romeo to slot in under the excellent but expensive 4C. Plans changed, though, and the Spider name was resurrected for this new droptop Fiat.
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