The 4C Spider — the car on which Alfa Romeo is pinning its success as it returns to North America — will be arriving in summer 2015.
The car will carry a model year 2015 designation, a price tag just shy of $76,500, and be available in seven colours: black, white, Rosso Alfa (Red), Basalt Grey Metallic, Rosso Competizione Tri-coat (Red), Madreperla White Tri-coat and Giallo Prototipo (Yellow).
The 4C Spider was originally intended to be a collaboration between Alfa Romeo and Mazda, but instead ended up as a complete Fiat Chrysler Automobile venture combining the performance engineering of Alfa Romeo with the craftsmanship and manufacturing expertise of Maserati.
Teamwork between the two brands included the integration of the Alfa Romeo Centro Stile (design centre) with the well-known Maserati workshop in Modena Italy, taking in the technological contributions of Italian suppliers recognized worldwide for their high-performance component manufacturing.
Extensive use of carbon fibre keeps the 4C Spider’s weight down (it comes in at just under 1130 kg — only one kg more than its full-bodied coupe sibling) to take advantage of a 237-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and non-assisted steering, while a signature Alfa exhaust note adds to the exhilaration of open-air motoring.
“Spiders have always been at the very core of the ‘Great Alfa Romeos,’ and our all-new 4C Spider builds on the brand’s motorsport and technology heritage for an open-air experience that is pure driving exhilaration,” said Reid Bigland, FCA’s head of Alfa Romeo North America (and also Chairman, President and CEO, FCA Canada; and, Senior Vice President — U.S. Sales).
The two-seat 4C draws on the Alfa Romeo heritage of the past 75 years, particularly the aluminum bodied 8C 2900 B Touring of 1938 and 33 Stradale of 1967, with its mid-engined, magnesium-alloy chassis.
In the 4C, that lightweight construction is evident in its composite body panels, carbon-fibre monocoque chassis and all-aluminum turbocharged 1750cc, direct injected four-cylinder engine mounted behind the two-seat cockpit. It delivers 237 hp and peak torque of 258 lb.-ft., 80 percent of which is available from 1,700 rpm.
Power is sent to the rear wheels by a six-speed twin-clutch automatic via steering wheel paddle shifters, with a rev-matching feature on downshifts.
Alfa’s innovative DNA selector allows the driver to select four modes to optimize the engine, transmission, Alfa Electronic Q2 differential and electronic stability control (ESC) calibrations at a touch.
“All-weather” enables gentler accelerator input and special engine and brake control logic to match road speed and prevent loss of traction. “Natural” provides grand touring comfort and smooth drivability for the Alfa TCT gearbox. “Dynamic” improves driving performance via a more aggressive powertrain calibration and less intrusive stability control setting. And, “Race” mode puts the driver in total control of the car by disabling stability control and anti-slip regulation (ASR), though the Alfa Electronic Q2 differential control system remains active for fast exits out of corners or bends. Launch control can also be activated in “Race” mode.
Unique in this day and age, power steering is not available for the 4C Spider.
An available Track Package includes high-performance shock absorbers with larger front- and rear-sway bars, Pirelli P-Zero “AR Racing” tires; performance flat-bottom steering wheel with microfiber inserts; carbon fibre exterior mirrors and carbon fibre gauge cluster bezel, plus the availability of Black leather performance seats with microfiber inserts and Red or Yellow accent stitching.
The mid-engine layout, advanced technology and compact overall size translate into performance credentials of zero to 100 km/h in about 4.5 seconds, 1.1 g of lateral acceleration, 1.25 g of maximum four-wheel disc braking (stops from 100 km/h take about 100 feet), and a top speed of 200 km/h.
Above the cockpit, the removable Targa roof is made of cloth to better maintain weight between open and closed cockpit configurations, and unlike its coupe sibling, the Spider’s engine cover is not made of glass, which also aids in weight reduction. A carbon fibre hardtop and related roof surrounds will be available later in the model year.
Three wheel sizes (staggered between front and rear), each available in Silver or Dark Grey, are available: 17 x 7.0-inch (front) and 18 x 8.0-inch (rear) alloy; 18 x 7.0-inch (front) and 19 x 8.5-inch (rear) forged; and the signature five-hole design wheels in 18 x 7.0-inch (front) and 19 x 8.5-inch (rear). Brake calipers come in silver (standard), black, red or yellow.
Lightweight features in the cockpit include composite moulded seat structure, aluminum pedals and carbon-fibre trim. Leather upholstery and wraps add luxury to the sporting flavour.
Six interior combinations are available, including red leather with black accent stitching, black leather with red or yellow accent stitching, and black racing leather seats with microfiber inserts and Red or Yellow accent stitching (exclusive to the Track Package). Later in the model year, a contrasting Tobacco leather seat accompanied with Black leather Interior accented with Tobacco stitching will be offered.