Alfa Romeo Spider 2007 Review
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With cars as distinctive as those from Alfa Romeo we were wondering what the designers would do next - where do you go and what do you do after doing such a terrific job of nailing it the first time? It turns out we needn't have worried because the new Alfa Spider is better looking than ever.
The engineers have even managed to remove some of the body flex that is generated when you remove the roof from a car. The current model feels much tighter and more composed than the previous one, with more bite too. What a pity the same engineers couldn't have done a bit more work on the car's suspension.
The new Spider is strictly speaking a Brera coupe without the roof. But it's more than that because few people realise the car was in fact styled by car designer Pininfarina instead of designer Giugiaro, which did design the coupe. If you don't believe us check out the badges on the side of the car.
As well as designing the fabric roof, Pininfarina also re-styled the rear of the car, to focus attention on the open top. The wheel arches are more pronounced and add hips that lend a Boxster-like flavour to the car. There's no missing the polished chrome roll bars either, which the first car lacked.
Two versions of the Spider are available, 2.2 litre 136kW four cylinder unit and a 3.2 litre 191kW V6. The V6, which breaks the three-figure price barrier for the first time, is also equipped with all-wheel drive. Our test vehicle was the four cylinder Spider priced from $76,950.
The thing we like best about Alfas is that they deliver as much pizzaz as a high priced Porsche. They also come from the same country that produces Ferraris and that Italian heritage is evident, with gauges angled towards the driver that retain their original labels - Olio, Acqua and Benzina (oil, water and fuel). It just wouldn't be the same in German or Japanese.
The 2.2-litre JTS engine in our test car is good for 136kW of power at 6500rpm and 230Nm of torque at 4500rpm, making it not surprisingly a high-revving unit. It means you've got to push it hard to get the best out of the engine, but it remains pleasantly tractable in the mid range.
The four cylinder engine in our test car was teamed with a six-speed manual transmission, just the way we like it.
Drive is through the front wheels with premium 18-inch Pirelli 235/45 P Zeros fitted and a space saver spare. Despite the addition of stability and traction control, the front wheels still scrabble for traction under hard acceleration.
While the driver receives plenty of feedback through the wheel, the car is also subject to bump-steer which detracts from the ride quality. We doubt whether Alfa does any local testing. While the ride is smooth and enjoyable on motorway standard surfaces, a quick trip down Sydney's Parramatta Road will have you fighting with the wheel.
Other overseas marques are able to tune their cars for all conditions, why is it so hard for the Italians?
Fuel consumption is rated at 9.4 litres/100km. The boot is surprisingly large, not so much long but deep. Safety equipment includes seven airbags as standard.
Range and Specs
|2.2 JTS||2.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$14,600 – 20,570||2007 Alfa Romeo Spider 2007 2.2 JTS Pricing and Specs|
|3.2 JTS V6 AWD||3.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$15,000 – 21,120||2007 Alfa Romeo Spider 2007 3.2 JTS V6 AWD Pricing and Specs|
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data