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by Tim Beissmann

Alfa Romeo’s Australian importer, Ateco Automotive, is sending off the range-topping Alfa Romeo Spider with a limited production model.

The 2011 Alfa Romeo Spider 1750 TBi has been introduced to replace the 2.2-litre Spider JTS and maintains its $69,990 starting price.

The revisions are similar to those introduced to the Alfa Romeo 159 1750 TBi last month.

The 1.75-litre direct-injection turbocharged engine produces 147kW of power and 320Nm of torque (up from the 2.2 JTS’s 136kW/230Nm).

Acceleration from 0-100km/h takes 7.5 seconds (1.3 seconds faster than the old model) and the 1750 TBi will continue all the way to 235km/h. Its sprint time is now just three-tenths slower than the JTS V6, which produces just 44kW/2Nm more power and torque despite being almost double the size of the TBi.

Combined cycle fuel consumption is also dramatically improved at 8.2 litres/100km, while CO2 emissions have dropped to 192g/km.

As the front-wheel drive 1750 TBi model is only offered with a six-speed manual transmission (the 2.2 JTS came with the option of a six-speed sequential gearbox), those after an automatic model have to make the jump to the only other model in the range: the all-wheel drive 3.2 JTS V6.

The good news is that Alfa Romeo has adjusted the pricing of that model so the 2011 model year 3.2 JTS V6 is now a whopping $11,000 cheaper than the identical 2010 model year unit. Prices start at $84,990.

Both models offer excellent safety equipment including seven airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, fire prevention system, traction and stability control with EBD, ASR, MSR and Hill Holder.

Standard features include full Pieno Fiore sports leather upholstery, heated seats, fog lights, 19-inch alloy wheels, electric folding roof, chrome roll bars, wind break, automatic dual-zone climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and six-speaker stereo with CD player.

The 3.2 JTS V6 adds Xenon headlights with headlight washers and an enhanced Bose audio system.

The 2011 Alfa Romeo Spider is on sale now at a recommended retail price of $69,990 for the Spider 1750 TBi and $84,990 for the Spider 3.2 JTS V6 (not including statutory charges and dealer costs).




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