The 124 Spider’s fabric roof lowers faster than a Porsche Boxster – or even a Bentley Continental. How come? Well, the Fiat costs considerably less but isn’t lumbered with the response time of an electric hood mechanism.
Pop a clip above the windscreen, push the hood backwards and the whole roof disappears in a flash. It’s just as easy to pull up again and the wind insulation at speed is exceptional.
The Spider is just the sort of car for a winter’s drive across the Cotswolds, heater on full blast, hot seats and your favourite tunes filtering into the cabin from the Bose sound system.
There’s a lot of Mazda-ness about the Spider’s interior but it does feel a touch classier than the MX-5. The seats are superb – Fiat has placed speakers in the headrests so you can even take a phone call sans roof.
The cabin is an absolute delight. Everything is well-placed, there are cubbyholes for bits and pieces, while the general appearance is rather charming – just what you want from a machine that takes its design cues from a different era.
And while the performance figures reveal it takes over seven seconds to reach 60mph, passengers sit so close to the road it actually feels much faster. There’s a more expensive Abarth edition that offers extra thrills.