What is it?
It isn’t saying how, but Alfa Romeo has been improving its mid-engined, carbonfibre-tubbed 4C sports car. Take the steering. In earlier 4Cs, its weight would vary as you swivelled it, a disconcerting sensation in any car let alone a rapid sportster with a low centre of gravity and fat wads of grip.
We’ve now sampled a smoother-riding 4C too, the smaller-wheeled, higher-sidewalled standard version, which also does without a rear anti-roll bar, managing a usefully better job of absorbing sharp-edged bumps.
The right-hand-drive version of the 4C has also emerged, and unlike many past Alfas, the conversion leaves a pretty decent driving position unspoiled. These discoveries arrive with the launch of the Spider version of the 4C, whose removable roof adds yet another dimension.
However, the 4C Coupé came a resounding last in our 2014 Best Driver’s Car test, its dartingly inconsistent steering, wayward directional stability, uncertain brakes and cacophony of industrial-strength din turning every drive into a battle, even if it was grippily brisk.
So the arrival of the 4C Spider, whose main area of modification obviously majors on the roof, promises little dynamic improvement. Still, the conversion, which consists of the fabric roll-up top supported by carbonfibre windscreen surround reinforcement, a modified rollover hoop and an engine-bay strut brace, adds only 15.5kg.
The Spider also gets air conditioning, parking sensors, a leather-skinned dashboard and heftier, less ugly headlights, adding further weight and an absurd £14,500 to its price, taking it beyond Porsche Boxster GT4 money.