Priced at some $50,000 a seat, Alfa Romeo's tiny new flagship isn't cheap — but it's one of the stars of the Geneva motor show. The roadster take on the beguiling 4C coupe follows the hardtop into local showrooms early next year, from $100,000 to as much as $120,000 for a special launch edition. The coupe arrives late this year priced from about $80,000.
The launch edition features bigger wheels, sports bodywork, extra carbon-fibre components and upgraded cabin trim. Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman Karla Leach says 120 customers have paid deposits for the coupe without knowing the final price. The Spider was confirmed as an addition to the range this week.
"Some people who have paid deposits for the coupe may change to the Spider," she says. The 4C is the Mini-Me version of Alfa's limited-edition 8C, which was built by Maserati with a Ferrari engine.
Despite its relative diminutive size, the 4C emulates the 8C's high-performance mandate and light weight with a carbon-fibre body and a 1750cc turbocharged petrol engine, dual-clutch transmission and rear-wheel-drive. The Spider sticks with the formula, weighing only 895kg and measuring less than 4m long and 1.2m high.
The engine, an evolution of the Giulietta hatchback's turbo four, is tuned to 177kW/350Nm for a 0-100km/h sprint time of only 4.5 seconds. The 4C's power plant has redesigned intake and exhaust ports, direct fuel injection, continuous variable valve timing for inlet and exhaust and a scavenging control setup to eliminate turbo lag.
The dual-clutch transmission has six ratios, selected by paddle-shifters. New for the brand is the 4C's DNA selector - it has three standard drivetrain settings, dynamic, natural and all-weather. A "race" mode sharpens engine, steering and transmission responses.
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Watch the desktop version of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider trailer video here.