Open-top Alfa Romeo sports car is due in the middle of this year, with only a few changes from 2014's concept car
12 January 2015

Alfa Romeo has used the Detroit motor show to unveil its new 4C Spider, reaffirming its commitment to the US market, which it re-entered last year after a hiatus of 20 years.

The new two-seat roadster has reached production without any discernible changes from the earlier concept car, unveiled at the 2014 Geneva motor show. 

Key among the elements differentiating the 4C Spider from the 4C coupé launched in 2013 is its removable roof. It will initially be available as a soft, stowable canvas arrangement – as hinted at on the concept, although an optional carbonfibre hard-top is set to become available after UK sales begin in mid-2015, according to Alfa officials.  

The 4C Spider also receives a carbonfibre panel that covers the rollover bar behind the cabin, unique single-lens headlights and a new range of alloy wheels, which measure 17in in diameter up front and 18in at the rear as standard. 

In accommodating the new roof, the drag coefficient has extended from the 0.33 claimed for the 4C to 0.34 for the 4C Spider, although the new roadster looks every bit as striking as its fixed-roofed sibling.

In a move that has kept the weight gain down to just 10kg (at 1128kg) while retaining a level of rigidity described as being similar to that of the 4C coupé, the 4C Spider has a carbonfibre windscreen frame that is bonded and bolted to its carbonfibre monocoque chassis.

The glass for both the windscreen and side windows is described as being 10 per cent thinner than on the 4C.

Additionally, Alfa Romeo has endowed its new model with a newly designed aluminium rollover bar that provides mounting points for the 4C Spider’s unique engine lid, plus a beefed-up strut brace within the engine compartment.

Power comes from the same mid-mounted turbocharged 1.7-litre four-cylinder engine used by the 4C coupé. Running continuously variable valve timing, it delivers 237bhp at 6000rpm, in the process providing the 4C Spider with a power-to-weight ratio of 210bhp per tonne. Torque swells to a peak of 258lb ft of torque between 2100 and 3750rpm.

Alongside the standard and racing exhausts already available on the 4C, the 4C Spider also comes with an optional lightweight Akrapovic exhaust that uses asymmetrical mufflers, a dual-mode valve system with a link pipe to reduce cabin drone and two centre-mounted tailpipes.

Drive is channelled through Alfa Romeo’s six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. It offers the driver the choice of four different driving modes: All Weather, Natural, Dynamic and Race – the latter allowing the engagement of a launch control system for maximum off-the-line acceleration.

Alfa Romeo claims the 4C Spider is capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in just 4.1sec, matching the 4C coupé's time. 

In keeping with plans by Alfa Romeo to hold back on detailed information pertaining to the 4C Spider until closer to its introduction in July, no further performance claims have been made public.

The 4C Spider will be assembled alongside the 4C coupé by Alfa Romeo sister company Maserati in Modena, Italy. Production details are yet to be revealed, although officials say volume will be similar to that of the fixed-roof variant at around 3500 units per year. 

Similarly, pricing is being kept under wraps. However, indications are the 4C Spider will command a slightly higher price than the £45,000 4C.

Speaking at the unveiling of the 4C Spider, Alfa's US boss, Reid Bigland, said: "After a 20-year absence, what gives us the confidence to return is the strength of our past, present and future. Our commitment to the brand is unprecedented. By the end of 2015 we'll have more than 1000 engineers dedicated solely to Alfa. We are led by two ex-Ferrari managers. We are on track for success.

"Our plans remain on track for eight new Alfas on sale in the States by 2018. Our plans are on track to relaunch in the US."

Alfa Romeo currently has 100 dealers in the US. The brand wants 200 dealers by this time next year.

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Our Verdict

Alfa Romeo 4C
Alfa 4C is built to encapsulate all of the Alfa Romeo brand values

The 4C is Alfa's first true driver's car for decades, and it shows how brilliantly a small turbo four can go and sound in a lightweight package

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Comments
15

4 March 2014
I didn't think the 4C Spider would look as good as the coupe........I was wrong! Beautiful!....and they've fixed the headlights!

4 March 2014
And you can see what's going on behind you instead of guessing.

4 March 2014
This looks stunning and, as Crixter mentioned, the headlights have been sorted. Alfa wheels out this stunner, and on the Audi stand, the rival TT is less than stunning and is a complete disappointment. How the Germans have much to learn about making a sports car look great, yet alone gorgeous.

4 March 2014
..... maybe its because it is white, but this just looks short and dumpy to me whereas the coupe looks amazing, although I haven't seen one in white. I think the white bodywork makes it look too tall for its length because there is no balancing roof to give it length. Glad they fixed the headlights though, that was the one bit of the coupe that looks like a cheap kit-car. Just don't like this, just because of its looks really.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

4 March 2014
perhaps it's the way the photo has been taken, the proportions of the car can't have changed, but I thought just the same as "ordinary bloke". One things for sure it's crazy width won't have changed, and that makes it about useless for B road driving in the UK.

TS7

4 March 2014
...don't really like it. Wouldn't have a TT either. Also, wouldn't have a convertible*: I'm neither a woman or a homsexual. *2 exceptions: Dodge Viper, Shelby Cobra, neither are ladies' cars.

Myk

5 March 2014
White is exactly the wrong colour to pick for this car for a motorshow appearance. The glare of the overhead lights is hiding the details and flattening the surfaces. It's going to look stunning in the flesh.
TS7 wrote:
Also, wouldn't have a convertible*: I'm neither a woman or a homsexual.
Seriously? What decade is this again? You should stop over-compensating and have a go in an MX-5.

4 March 2014
Looks like a bumper-car that's escaped from the fairground. White does it no favours, making it look even more dumpy. What's happened to Italian flair and elegance.

6 March 2014
"Alfa 4C Spider Concept wows in Geneva". Wows? Seriously? That thing is a moose. Motoring journalists are an excitable bunch, aren't they?

6 March 2014
+1 for the headlights.

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