Alfa Romeo has priced the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider at just under $100,000 but then there are all the extras, like on-road costs. So, not really then…

IN ALFA-ROMEO SPEAK, a ‘spider’ is a convertible.   This drop-top is just as stunningly good looking as its coupe cousin, but what about the weight and rigidity?   That was a concern of yesteryear.   In the case of the 4C, the coupe weighs 1025kg, and the spider 1035kg.  Not a lot of difference, and you wouldn’t notice.  And if it’s anything like the other modern convertibles you won’t notice any loss of rigidity either – think of all the classic sports cars that are the benchmark for handling such as the MX-5, S2000 and Boxster.   There’s no performance difference from coupe to convertible – same top speed of 256km/h, 0-100 in 4.5 seconds, 1.1g of lateral acceleration. The same 4-cylinder turbo powers both vehicles, good for 177kw and 350Nm.  An unusual feature of the engine is that he torque band is wide and low, reaching maximum at 2200 rpm and maintaining it till 4500rpm with peak power at 6000rpm.   That’s more like a 4WD than a pretty little Italian sportscar!

Alfa also say the weight balance is 40% front, 60% rear.  Which is absolutely fine, because there is way too much focus on a 50/50 balance – reason being is that car dynamics are more about weight distribution than weight balance, you can get 50/50 easily by just placing large weights at the front and rear of the car and then you have an ill-handling pendulum.  With a mid-engined layout however the 4C looks to be doing the weight thing right.  Oh, and just over 1000kg…good to see at least one car company focusing on light weight.

An interesting 4C design is that it comes without power steering, in today’s age where everything is moving to electronic assistance.  I doubt any enthusiast will disagree with Alfa’s decision.  However, they might (will, in my case) rue the lack of a manual gearbox.  There’s only a six-speed DSG, even if the car does have four modes of Dynamic, Natural, All Weather and ‘Race’.  The latter mode disables electronic stability control entirely under acceleration, but does assist under brakes, same as many modern sportscars. 



How much more is the spider?  The coupe is $89,000 plus onroads, so that’s another $10,000 for the drop-top – while Alfa claim sub $100k, all those on-road costs will push your investment well north of that figure, maybe to around $120k or so. But you do get a three-year 150,000km warranty which is a bit more than the standard, a mark of confidence by Alfa Romeo.  Be interesting to see how many 4Cs get to 150,000km before three years are up!

The 4C Spider’s roof is manually operated – Alfa say it can be removed by one person, and then it’s stored in the luggage compartment in a special bag.  No one-touch operation here, because this is a sports focused car with a emphasis on light weight.  There’s no speed limit on the soft top either.



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