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2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider - Open-top Swap

Miles to Date: 4,679

Julia LaPalmephotographerChris Nelsonwriter

We won't act like we planned this. It had occurred to us that instead of a standard Four Seasons test, we could spend six months with an Alfa Romeo 4C coupe then swap into an all-new, open-air Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. But we shrugged off the concept, opting instead for a standard, 12-month evaluation of the coupe. Life, it seems, liked the idea of a split test.

On a Saturday night on a coastal road in southern California, someone smashed their 2004 Honda Civic into the left-rear corner of our red Alfa Romeo 4C coupe, severely damaging the Alfa's wheel assembly and surrounding carbon-fiber bodywork. Maimed, our 4C left on a flatbed. But thanks to the good folks at Fiat Chrysler, we were subsequently offered up a bright-yellow 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider to keep for six months in order to round out our Four Seasons test. It felt like getting a puppy to replace the recently deceased family dog—an uncomfortable mingling of grief and excitement.

The yellow Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is a lot like the dearly departed red 4C coupe. You can see its exposed carbon-fiber body when you're sitting in its surprisingly spacious, simple two-passenger cell, its manual steering is grouchier than a just-dumped preteen, and there's still a turbocharged 1.7-liter four-cylinder engine and accompanying six-speed dual-clutch transaxle shoved behind the seats.

As for what's different, the Spider is 22 pounds heavier thanks to some additional bracing, its removable, targa-like fabric top takes up precious real estate in the tiny trunk, and it has a $10,300 price premium over the $55,195 coupe. (And that's before adding $2,500 dark gray wheels, a $1,800 convenience package, $1,500 yellow paint, $1,000 xenon headlights, a $500 racing exhaust, $300 painted brake calipers, and a $300 carbon-fiber gauge cluster bezel.)

The Spider's still-slim rear window is easier to see out of thanks to a redesigned engine cover. It also comes equipped with an Alpine head unit that's ugly as sin and aftermarket chic but works much better than the standard 4C's sound system. Oh, and when the Spider's top is popped, you can better enjoy the turbo-four's braaaps and growls, all the while knowing that Alfa hasn't crippled the carbon-fiber monocoque's structural rigidity by scalping it.

While we didn't plan this, we're excited to see how the next six months with our yellow Alfa Romeo 4C Spider play out. We're christening it with some laps around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, so check back soon for its first update.

 

Overview

  • Body style 2-door mid-engine rear-wheel-drive convertible
  • Accommodation 2-passenger
  • Construction Carbon-fiber monocoque w/aluminum front and rear cell structures
  • Base price (with dest. ) $65,495
  • As tested $73,395

Powertrain

  • Engine 16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4
  • Displacement 1.7 liters (106 cu in)
  • Power 237 hp @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque 258 lb-ft @ 2,200-4,250 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Drive Rear-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 24/34/28 (city/hwy/combined)

Chassis

  • Steering Unassisted
  • Lock-to-lock 2.7 turns
  • Turning circle 40.5 ft
  • Suspension, Front Control arms, coil springs
  • Suspension, Rear Strut-type, coil springs
  • Brakes F/R Vented discs
  • Wheels 17- and 18-inch aluminum
  • Tires Pirelli P Zero
  • Tire size 205/45R-17 88Y, 235/40R-18 95Y

Measurements

  • Headroom 38.0 in
  • Legroom 42.7 in
  • Shoulder room 49.8 in
  • Wheelbase 93.7 in
  • Track F/R 64.5/63.1 in
  • L x W x H 157.5 x 73.5 x 46.6 in
  • Cargo capacity 3.7 cu ft
  • Weight 2487 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 41/59%
  • Fuel capacity 10.6 gal
  • Est. fuel range 300 miles
  • Fuel grade 91 octane (premium)

Equipment

  • standard equipment

    • Sheet molding compound composite body panels
    • Anodized rear skid plate
    • Variable intermittent single-blade windshield wiper
    • Removable and trunk-stowable soft-top roof
    • Halogen headlights
    • LED daytime running headlights and taillights
    • Air conditioning
    • Aluminum interior trim
    • Embroidered floor mats
    • USB port
    • Auxiliary audio jack
    • 12-volt outlet
    • 7-inch TFT display
    • ALPINE radio w/ Bluetooth/CD/MP3/AUX connectivity
    • Lat-g, boost, and oil-pressure monitoring systems
    • 4-speaker audio system
    • Remote keyless entry
    • Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity
    • Black leather-trimmed bucket seats w/read stitching, carbon-fiber and fiberglass shells
    • Flat-bottom steering wheel w/paddle shifters
    • Dynamic, all-weather, natural, and race driving modes
    • Brembo front brakes w/4-piston gray calipers and drilled rotors
    • TRW rear brakes w/gray calipers and drilled rotors
    • Dual exhaust
    • Engine oil cooling system
    • Sport-tuned suspension
    • Launch control system
    • Hill-start assist

Options

  • options for this vehicle:

    • Convenience package- $1,800
    • Cruise control
    • Rear parking assist
    • Premium audio system
    • Alarm
    • Bi-xenon headlights- $1,000
    • Yellow (giallo prototipo) paint- $1500
    • 18- and 19-inch Dark gray aluminum wheels- $1500
    • Racing exhaust- $500
    • Carbon fiber cluster bezel - $300
    • Yellow brake calipers-$500

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