Alfa’s 4C loses its lid, we lose our shit: The thing is gorgeous.
Many countries can make really fast sports cars, but no country does really beautiful sports cars quite like the Italians. The latest proof comes from Alfa Romeo, which just took the wraps off of its sexy, make that seeeexxxxy new 4C Spider at the Geneva auto show.
The 4C Spider is technically a “design preview” of the ragtop version of the fabulous 4C Coupe that’s due to arrive here in June. But you can bet the production version of the 4C Spider, which will start rolling off the production line in early 2015, according to Alfa Romeo, will look just like this.
Transforming coupes into convertibles doesn’t always bode well for the design, but in the case of the mid-engine 4C, the open-top version remains just as scrumptious to behold as the coupe. Exquisitely sculpted shoulders rise up to a carbon-fiber basket handle, the latter both a structural member and a rollover protection device. The top is lightweight canvas, as the roadster car gods intended. Even better, Alfa says that the 2650-lb coupe gained only 132 pounds in the process of losing its lid.
The overhead view is particularly gorgeous, with contours and vents on the rear decklid mimicking the wake of a boat as it slips through the water. It also provides a glimpse into the Spider’s interior, showing off two-tone, saddle-and-black sport seats and much of the 4C’s exposed carbon-fiber tub structure. Other nifty design details include a new center-mount exhaust system with dual carbon-titanium pipes; 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels, each milled from a solid block of aluminum; and our favorite—covered headlamps that are infinitely prettier than the messy units on the 4C coupe today. Let’s hope that those are adopted by the coupe as soon as possible.
As with the 4C coupe, the Spider is powered by Alfa’s turbocharged 1.7-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. What’s more, Alfa Romeo claims that the Spider’s weight gain has virtually no impact on performance, pegging acceleration from 0 to 60 mph at 4.1 seconds and a top speed in excess of 155 mph. Alfa also says that braking, lateral acceleration, and weight distribution (40 percent front/60 rear) remain unaffected. We will have to verify that claim for ourselves—a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.
The appearance of the 4C Spider takes some of the sting out of the possibility that the Alfa brand won’t, as previously reported, get a smaller, cheaper Mazda Miata-based roadster to sell—that car is still under development, we’ve heard, but may be branded as an Abarth, Italy’s version of SRT. That would sting, since we’d probably have to save up about twice as much to be seen in this one. We expect the price of the 4C Spider to ring in somewhere north of $65K.