The highly-anticipated Alfa Romeo 4C Spider has been unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Previously revealed as a design concept of the soft-top version of the beautifully styled 4C Coupe at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the all-new new 4C Spider production version is set to arrive in Australia in the fourth quarter of this year, well after the local launch of the 4C Coupe next month.
Along with the same lightweight carbonfibre monocoque chassis as the 4C Coupe, several key weight-saving techniques employed, means the 1128-kilogram 4C Spider is just 10 kilograms heavier than its fixed-roof sibling.
Unique to the Spider is a removable, stowable cloth roof, or optional exposed carbonfibre hardtop with a specially contoured aluminium rollbar (under the black or carbonfibre “halo”).
The 4C Spider also features a unilateral carbonfibre windshield frame that is adhered and bolted to the chassis. In addition, engineers have also optimised the Spider’s windshield and side windows by using 10 per cent thinner glass, which has reduced weight by around 15 per cent.
Lastly, the two sports seats feature a carbonfibre and fibreglass reinforced-composite structure, which not only saves weight, but also allows for a lower seating position and thus, a lower centre of gravity for improved handling.
While the 4C Spider uses the same 177kW/350Nm 1.7-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with direct injection and dual (intake and exhaust) continuous variable-valve timing (VVT) as the 4C Coupe, the turbocharger is a new-generation unit that delivers better response and is claimed to eliminate lag. As a result, 80 per cent of peak torque is available from just 1700 rpm, while Alfa Romeo claims 4.2 seconds for the 0-100km/h-sprint (in Race mode).
Owners will be able to choose from three different exhaust systems including Standard, Racing, and an all-new Akrapovic dual-mode unit, which features titanium construction and centre-mounted exhaust tips. It also uses a special resonator that is said to eliminate in-cabin droning.
The 4C Spider is available exclusively with Alfa’s twin-clutch transmission with paddleshifters. The gearbox has been specifically tuned for the Spider and features rev matching, launch control and four driving modes: All weather, Natural, Dynamic and Race.
Like the 4C Coupe, the Spider adopts the same ‘superimposed’ double-wishbone front suspension and a MacPherson-style at the rear. US-bound cars will be fitted with stiffer springs, larger front and rear sway bars, and re-tuned shock absorbers.
For those buyers that want maximum road holding, the 4C Spider is available with a Track Package that includes performance shock absorbers with thicker front and rear sway bars, larger 18-inch (front) and 19-inch (rear) forged alloy wheels with Pirelli P-Zero AR-Racing tyres.
When it comes to brakes, the Spider is equipped with perforated discs with Brembo four-pot calipers at the front, which offer up to 1.25 g of braking deceleration.
It’s heavily tipped that pricing for the Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe will start at around the mid-$80,000 mark, while the 4C Spider is likely to wear a price tag over $100,000.