Italian sports cars are a phenomenon all to themselves, but one we here in North America have become accustomed to being out of reach of those even with better-than-average means.
That changed a few years ago when the Alfa Romeo brand returned to this continent courtesy of the alliance that created the global company known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The first Alfa to come here were the coupe and convertible variants of the tiny 4C, the latter of which returns for 2018 with a couple of new options.
Those include a front fascia with carbon fibre vents, and a black leather interior with yellow stitching available with certain exterior colours.
Unchanged are the 4C Spider’s fundamentals, which consist of a 1.75L turbocharged four-cylinder and six-speed dual-clutch transmission that are bolted into a super-lightweight carbon fibre chassis that weighs less than 1,135 kg. The engine’s prodigious output of 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque is enough to move the 4C from 0-100 km/h in a claimed 4.1 seconds.
This is about as minimalist as an Italian car gets, its back-to-basics approach calling to mind the Lotus Elise. You’ll find no touchscreen infotainment in here, with Alfa instead installing a single-DIN stereo above manual air conditioning controls that would look at home in a subcompact economy car. All we might suggest is missing is a backup camera to augment the view through the tiny rear window.
Obviously, this car is about driving feel: the steering has no power assist and provides a direct line between the road the driver’s hands, and neutral handling makes the 4C a blast to drive hard on your favourite back road.
And when it’s time to play alongside other traffic, the tiny engine promises thrifty fuel consumption, estimates for which are 9.7/6.9 L/100 km.
While the Spider is a convertible, all you can actually remove is a panel between the windshield header and roll bar, so the car maintains is striking profile whether the top is in place or not. You have to pay for the privilege of going topless, however, as the Spider is a $12,000 premium over its coupe counterpart.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed
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