Turbo-licious: New Alfa Romeo Spider to Receive a Fiat 1.4-Liter Turbo Four

We’ve seen a few de-badged, current-generation Mazda Miata–based test mules running around the Ann Arbor area over the last few months, and although we’ve gathered some good intelligence regarding Mazda’s role in the development of the new Alfa, powertrain details have remained a mystery. Our latest bit of intel helps fill in the blanks.

C/D sources are telling us that the powertrain in the test mule is most likely a version of the corporate 1.4-liter turbo four that powers both the Dodge Dart and the hotted-up Fiat 500 Abarth. The engine will be longitudinally mounted to facilitate rear-wheel drive—phew—and although we have no new details regarding transmissions, our previous encounter with the mule revealed a manual of unspecified gear count. In use in the Dart, the 1.4-liter makes 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, while the Abarth sees torque dropped by 14 lb-ft. Both applications make for steady if not neck-breaking acceleration, so power is expected to get a slight increase for Alfa duty.

First Drive Review: 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe
Instrumented Test: 2013 Fiat 500C Abarth
Comparison Test: 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye vs. 2012 Ford Focus SE

The Alfa won’t share sheetmetal with the Miata, but it will benefit from extensive weight-saving measures employed by both the Italians and Japanese to help improve the power-to-weight ratio of the two cars. We hope the exclusive content extends throughout the car, because a re-badged Miata is no way to re-introduce the revered Alfa Romeo nameplate to the fickle U.S. public.

Illustration by Christian Schulte

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