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Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Lightweight Convertible

edited by Daniel Bennett

See the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, including classic 4Cs, at the Detroit Auto Show

The new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider was unveiled on January 12, 2015. This second shot in Alfa's return to the United States was heavily inspired by the 33 Stradale. This carefully shaped carbon fiber lightweight is hand-crafted in Modena, Italy.

In North America trim, the car has 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and despite being a convertible, can keep up with the AMG C-class in 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph), and is just 0.1 second slower than the BMW M3 coupe. Canadian pricing has now been set at C$78,490 including enclosed delivery, with a convenience group (cruise, rear park assist, premium speakers, alarm) adding C$1,800 and the track packages adding C$2,400 and $C2,300.

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Like its Coupe brother, the 4C, the 4C Spider uses carbon fiber in its monocoque, the windshield surround, and even optional headlights; many places are left bare carbon fiber. The use of the expensive, lightweight material emphasizes that Alfa is serious about its come-back, and that appears to not be sacrificing its heritage to do so. (The body is a "pre-preg" monocoque with unilateral carbon fiber, aluminum front and rear cell structures, roof reinforcements, and engine mounting frame, with a low-density, high-strength composite body shell.)

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The 4C Spider weighs a mere 2,487 lb in convertible form, vs 2,465 lb for the coupe - below most normal compact cars and allowing for both high acceleration from its four-cylinder engine, and reasonable fuel economy of 24 city, 34 highway (28 combined). 0-60 comes in a mere 4.1 seconds despite the small engine.

The Targa style top is reminiscent of the original Viper RT/10.

Its seven paint colors are Rosso Alfa, black, white, metallic gray, Rosso Competizione Tri-coat, Madreperla White Tri-coat, and new Giallo (yellow).

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Standard wheel choices are staggered 17"x7" fronts and 18"x8" rears, in a silver or dark finish. Larger 18x7 front and 19x8.5 rear forged wheels in silver or dark grey are optional. You can also option your brake calipers in silver (standard), red, yellow, or black. While the four piston Brembos up front might not seem to be impressive, with the lack of weight in this car, the braking system is capable of generating 1.25g of stopping power.

The front suspension is a "superimposed" double wishbone, while the rear is a MacPherson strut style. The North American Spiders have a stiffer spring rate, larger front and rear sway bars, and re-tuned shocks than those destined for Europe, Asia, or other parts of the world.

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The DNA selector button allows the driver to manually choose between four different chassis mode settings based on road condition, driving style, or purpose of use. The all-weather setting is the catch all; Natural is for fair weather driving; Dynamic, for twists and turns, dials everything up a notch, from throttle tip-in, to suspension stiffness, and shift speed, and firmness. Race mode is recommended for track only, and removes all traction control, while upping the ante in the car's aggressiveness; it also provides a Launch Control for 0-60 times as low as 4.1 seconds.

Interior seating color choices include black or red leather with red accent stitching, black leather with yellow stitching, or, exclusive to the Track Package, black leather racing seats with microfiber inserts and either red or yellow accent stitching. A late interior color choice will include a contrasting Tobacco leather with Black accent interior. This is a dual color treatment on the instrument panel, door panels, and the steering wheel.

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The center cluster on the 4C uses the 7" display found in Chrysler cars and trucks, with multiple options to allow the driver keep track of speed, engine RPM, and other data.

The 4C Spider shares its engine with the standard 4C: a 1.75 liter aluminum-block, direct-injected intercooled turbo, fitted with intake and exhaust VVT that cranks out 237hp and 258 ft/lbs of torque. 80% of peak torque is available at 1700 rpm. This is backed by the six-speed Twin Clutch Transmission (TCT), an automatically shifted manual transmission, for quick and crisp up and down shifts; gear ratios range from 4.154:1 to 0.622:1, a wide range.

A new Akrapovic dual-mode exhaust system, with dual center mounted tips mounted in a CF surround, will be a late availability item for the Spider.

See the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, including classic 4Cs, at the Detroit Auto Show

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Track Package includes high-performance shock absorbers with larger front- and rear-sway bars, larger and staggered fitting 18 x 7-inch (front) 19 x 8.5-inch (rear) forged-aluminum wheels with optional Pirelli P-Zero "AR Racing" tires, performance flat-bottom steering wheel with microfiber inserts, carbon fiber exterior mirrors and carbon fiber gauge cluster bezel, and optional black leather performance seats with microfiber inserts and red or yellow accent stitching.

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The 4C name goes back quite a ways for Alfa Romeo...

Specifications4C Coupe

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