As predictable as winter snow in ‘Motor City’, Alfa Romeo chose the Detroit Auto Show to stage the world premiere of the Spider version of the 4C.
Predictable because Fiat-Alfa boss Sergio Marchionne has flagged success in the brand’s return to North America as critical for Alfa Romeo and the 4C is the spearhead (Alfa’s upcoming ground-breaking sporty SUV also has ‘U.S.A’ stampled all over it).
And while production snafus keep delaying the 4C’s arrival in Australia, Alfa Romeo says the open-top version will arrive in North American dealerships in time for summer – perfect for the trip from Long Island to the Hamptons or Los Angeles to the Napa Valley for a sunny weekend.
As we know, the nimble Alfa Romeo 4C delivers pin-sharp driving dynamics and rapid performance (zero to 100km/h in just 4.1 seconds) despite only having a 176kW/350Nm turbocharged 1.8-litre engine.
But that engine is mounted mid-ships for perfect chassis balance and the 4C is impressively light thanks to extensive use of carbon-fibre and aluminium. The monocoque chassis weighs only 107kgs.
And the 4C Spider extends that process with a removable carbon-fibre hardtop or cloth roof and an innovative carbon-fibre frame for the windscreen.
Underneath Alfa has re-tuned the 4C’s suspension for the Spider version – interestingly Alfa says the tune for North American customers is stiffer (most go the other way with a softer set-up to cater for the many concrete roads).
Behind the two seats, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider differs from the coupe with a a black or carbon-fibre ‘halo’ for both strength and to house a cleverly-shaped roll-bar.
The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider also debuts some new alloy wheel designs in 17x7.0-inch (front) and 18x8.0-inch (rear) or 18x7.0-inch (front) and 19x8.5-inch (rear).
Inside is a race-inspired look in carbon-fibre and leather with two composite-framed sports seats, a large seven-inch colour monitor and (new for the Spider) an upscale Alpine audio system.
Also new for the 4C, Alfa Romeo has followed Renault to specialist sports car and motorcycle exhaust manufacturer Akrapovic to develop a dual-mode system with carbon-fibre tips (as per the Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy). The Akrapovic exhaust will cater to enthusiast sports car fans but less intense types can select from two other exhaust systems when ordering their Alfa Romeo 4C Spider.