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Abarth 124 Spider Performance Tuning Guide

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Table of Contents


The Abarth 124 Spider is based on the Fiat 124 Spider, which was itself a reincarnation of the classic Fiat Spider that was produced from the 1960s to the 1980s. However, Abarth’s version has been extensively modified and upgraded for improved performance.

Under the hood, the Abarth 124 Spider features a turbocharged 1.4-litre engine that delivers 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. It also has a sport-tuned suspension, Brembo brakes, and a limited-slip differential for exceptional handling and agility on the road.

While an extrenely fun and capable car out of the box, there are some further performance upgrades that you can add to your Abarth 124 Spider to really take it to the next level.

Let’s find out what they are!

Downpipe & Sports Cat

The standard downpipe and catalytic converter on many cars are designed with compromises in mind. While they are suitable for a wide range of driving conditions and emission regulations, they can restrict exhaust flow and decrease the overall performance of your car.

Replacing them with aftermarket alternatives can significantly improve exhaust flow, reduce back pressure, and increase horsepower and torque.

You will also get a deeper and throaty exhaust note to make the already impressive exhaust system on the Abarth 124 sound even more aggressive. 

If you use your car solely for track use, then you could go for a catless downpipe which does away with the catalytic converter. While this will free up power gains, this won’t pass emissions tests and as such won’t be road legal. 

If you use your Abarth 124 on the road, then you will be better going for a high flow catalytic converter (sports cat). These are designed to improve the exhaust flow and decrease back pressure in harmony with the upgraded downpipe while also remaining road legal and emission compliant. 

For a catless downpipe, you can check out the Ragazzon Decat Downpipe.

If you are craving some extra performance while remaining road legal, they also do an upgraded downpipe with a sports cat which you can take a look at here.

Aftermarket Intake

When it comes to upgrading your air intake, you have a couple of options. 

You can replace it with an entire induction kit such as the Eurocompulsion intake or opt for an aftermarket panel filter which slots into place inside the standard airbox. 

So which one should you go for?

When it comes to performance, and induction kit like the Eurocompulsion intake is the best option. You will also get a nice increase in intake and turbo sounds with this kit. Since it also replaces the turbo intake piping, you get increased airflow into the engine. 

This intake kit is designed to maximise the amount of cold air getting fed into the engine, resulting in increased power and a better throttle response. 

If you are on a budget, then you can go for a panel filter from K&N. On these cars, the aftermarket panel filters don’t tend to flow much better than the standard air filter so you wont get major performance improvements. They do have the benefit of being reusable and high quality material so it can still be a worthwhile investment. 

Upgraded Intercooler

Upgrading the intercooler on the 124 Abarth can have decent performance benefits that are well worth considering if you’re tuning it. On a stock car or one with just a remap, you may not notice a massive difference but with other mods and a “Stage 2” tune then it will make a difference. 

During hard driving sessions, the turbo generates a considerable amount of heat. Upgraded intercoolers generally have larger surface areas and improved cooling capacity, allowing them to dissipate heat more efficiently. This ensures that the intake air temperature remains at an optimal level and helps to maintain consistent power delivery.

If you track your Abarth 124 or like to engage in spirited driving sessions on a sunny day, then you will likely have experienced heat soak and a loss of power after a while. With an upgraded intercooler, the effects of this are lessened. 

Eurocompulsion have made a fantastic upgraded intercooler for the Abarth 124. This intercooler has a 56% increase in capacity over the OEM intercooler and has larger piping to accommodate the smooth flow of air throughout the system. 

Upgraded Diverter Valve (GFB DV+)

The diverter valve is a component on your 124’s turbo system that plays an important role in regulating the flow of air into the engine.

During certain instances, such as when the throttle is closed and you lift off after accelerating, the diverter valve kicks into action. When you lift off the throttle after having built up boost in the intake, the air needs somewhere to go and since it can’t enter the cylinders it goes back the way towards the turbo. 

To alleviate excessive pressure built up on the intake side of the turbo, the diverter valve releases the excess air. This helps prolong their lifespan of the turbo.

Now while the stock diverter valve does do it’s intended job, fitting an upgraded one from GFB can improve the driveability of the car. While it doesn’t directly add power to the car, it helps eliminates any flat spots in the rev range and provides a sharper throttle response. 

Upgraded diverter valves are often associated with a whooshing noise when you lift off the gas. By itself, this upgraded diverter valve doesn’t add a vast amount of sound. It focuses primarily on performance. 

However if you are looking for that increased lift off whooshing, you can fit an adapter plate which bolts on to it which will give you the desired sound along with all the benefits of the upgraded diverter valve. 

GFB DV+ Diverter Valve

Abarth 124 Spider

Diverter Valve Adapter Spacer

Abarth 124 Spider


A remap is undoubtedly one of the best value for money mods you can do for your Abarth 124. It’s a one-time investment that delivers impressive performance gains.

You don’t need any other physical mods on the car to benefit from a remap, although having your Abarth mapped after fitting other mods will lead to greater power gains. 

A quality bespoke remap on a rolling road will greatly improve the drivability of the car, increasing horsepower and torque throughout the rev range. 

With a remap alone on a healthy engine, you can gain up to 40hp and around 45 lb-ft of torque! Very impressive stuff and is a power gain that will transform the way the car drives. 

The power gains will be even greater if you have other mods such as an exhaust, intake and intercooler installed. It’s a good idea to have the car mapped after fitting the rest of the mods in order for the remap to make use of the increased flow throughout the intake and exhaust. 

Boost Gauge

While a boost gauge does not directly increase the performance of an engine, it serves as an indispensable tool for enthusiasts looking to keep their Abarth in tip top shape. 

A boost gauge provides real-time data on the amount of boost pressure generated by the turbo. This information allows you to monitor the turbo’s performance, ensuring it operates optimally and without any issues.

One of the most significant advantages of a boost gauge is its ability to detect boost leaks. This is more prevalent on tuned 124’s where you are running higher boost pressures than normal. 

Boost leaks occur when there are cracks, loose connections, or faulty components in the intake piping. We wouldn’t want to be losing precious horsepower now would we?

Aside from all this, they also look pretty cool, especially if integrated nicely with the interior!

Eurocompulsion offer an elegant looking “plug and play” boost gauge that works perfectly with this car. 

If you’re not only interested in the boost and would also like a gauge that displays various other metrics then definitely take a look at the P3 Gauge. 

This phenomenal bit of kit display various parameters including boost, ignition timing, intake temps and lots more. It also let’s you measure your 0-60!

Lowering Springs

Lowering springs are a fantastic way to enhance the performance and aesthetic appeal of your Abarth 124 Spider.

These springs create a sleek and aggressive stance, reducing the wheel arch gap and giving your Abarth a lower centre of gravity. 

This lowered centre of gravity results in improved handling characteristics. Your Abarth 124 will feel more planted and stable around corners, reducing body roll and giving you better control.

This translates to enhanced agility and responsiveness, allowing you to enjoy spirited driving and tackle twisty roads with ease.

When dropping the ride height, consider the terrain and environment you drive.

These are already relatively low cars. As such, going too low may result in a stiffer ride quality, increased risk of bottoming out over speed bumps or uneven terrain, and potential clearance issues with larger wheels or tires.

Your best bet is the H&R lowering springs for the Abarth 124 Spider. These maintain the ride quality for street driving and can also be run with the standard shocks. 

These drop the car 30mm which lowers the car nicely without being too low to cause issues. 

H&R Lowering Springs

Abarth 124 Spider

Finishing Thoughts

While an exciting and capable car in it’s standard form, the Abarth 124 has room for even more fun and power gains. 

It’s a good idea to have a think about how much power you want from your 124 before chucking performance mods at it. 

A simple remap alone will provide the best value for money in terms of a power upgrade. If you are wanting maximum gains, you should aim to free up the intake and exhaust system as much as possible with an aftermarket downpipe/sports cat and intake. 

Past this, an intercooler is a good idea for maintaining power during long hard driving sessions and on hot days. 

With these mods and a remap you will see near enough the maximum gains without going for an aftermarket turbo upgrade which is a big commitment. 

Happy modding!