This year at the Los Angeles Auto Show many manufacturers debuted lackluster models that aren’t likely to raise the pulse of any real car enthusiasts. Such lowlights included a new Buick Lacrosse, Mitsubishi Mirage, and the Hyundai Elantra…. don’t fall asleep on us yet, we are getting to the good part. Fiat has always loved launching new models in LA and the company even made its return to the US in 2010 with the Fiat 500. The group decided that this year was the perfect place for the US debut of its Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan and the world debut of the all-new Fiat 124 Spider. Both companies came out hard in Los Angeles with posters and billboards announcing the debuts and we think that Italy may have what it takes to save this year’s auto show.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
The Giulia Quadrifolio was debuted this past June at a special event in Milan but makes its first official US debut in Los Angeles. The Quadrifolio is the top of the line performance version of the car and boasts 505 HP Bi-Turbo V6 engine that has a pleasant Italian growl similar to a Maserati Gran Turismo with 2-cylinders missing. In the press conference the Alfa team made a couple jabs at the German competitors and the latest track times show that this car may have enough Ferrari DNA to absolutely destroy the other fast sedans in the market. The recent Nurburgring lap time of 7:40 matches cars like the Porsche 911 GT3 and Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.
Fiat 124 Spider
The original 124 Spider was produced in the late-70’s and was a classic sports car with styling by Pininfarina. This new model plays off some of the styling cues from the older model in the hood bulges and general headlight layout but doesn’t quite scream “Italian Sportscar” like the older model. In saying that, the new Mazda MX-5 platform underneath helps give Fiat a good chance at a fun-to-drive hit. Gone is the standard Mazda Miata powertrain and in comes the 1.4L MultiAir Turbo motor from the Fiat 500 Abarth. The motor delivers 160HP (5 more than the Miata) and 184 ft-lbs of torque (a whopping 36 more than the Miata). The base Classica model pairs the engine with a 6-speed manual transmission and 16 inch wheels. Stepping up to the Lusso trim gives the driver a six-speed automatic, fog lights, and larger 17-inch wheels. The car looks great in person and can be had in the beautiful Azzurro Italia Blue paint with brown interior on the Prima Edition. Only 124 models of the Prima Edition will be released and I am sure they will be quite the collectors item in the future. We cannot wait to experience a Mazda platform with slightly more noise, power, and style when the 124 hits showroom floors. An even more powerful Abarth version is also in the works.