Future Models - Alfa Romeo 2015 4C

Alfa Romeo 2015 4C SpiderOpen season: Alfa's 4C Spider will have a targa fabric roof that can be rolled up and stored in the boot.

Open season: Alfa's 4C Spider will have a targa fabric roof that can be rolled up and stored in the boot.

Roll-up removable soft-top instead of lift-out panel to let the Alfa 4C sunshine in

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THE open-air version of Alfa Romeo's 4C sports coupe will get a soft top rather than a lift-out hard top panel, not only because it saves weight but also because there is no room to store a solid roof in the tight confines of the pocket supercar.

Alfa head exterior designer and chief designer for the 4C, Alessandro Maccolini, said the targa-style fabric roof would have solid rails on each side, above the doors, that clipped to the car's carbon-fibre windscreen frame and roll bar.

These could be unclipped and the roof rolled up and stored in a special protective holder in the small (110 litre) boot behind the mid-mounted engine.

Mr Maccolini said the solution was similar to that of the Lotus Elise, and meant that the driver could take the roof along in the car in case the weather turned bad or they wanted to leave the car unattended in the street.

The 4C Spider revealed at the Geneva motor show was shown without a roof, and no visible way of securing one.

GoAuto understands that the final design of the roof and the engineering solutions to seal it from the weather are still under development.

Mr Maccolini said the “pre-series car” at Geneva was otherwise close to production ready.

Set to go into production in the second half of this year and on sale in Australia before Christmas, the Spider shares the same 177kW four-cylinder petrol engine and carbon-fibre construction as the coupe that is already on sale in Europe and due in Australia in the third quarter.

But Mr Maccolini said the Spider differed from the coupe in a number of areas, including the roll bar area behind the seats, which had be redesigned to accommodate the lift-out roof.

The Spider also gets more conventional headlights in place of the polarising naked carbon-fibre-and-LED units of the coupe.

The good news is that, according to Mr Maccolini, 4C buyers will be able to choose which headlight design they want, overcoming one criticism of the 4C.

Those who want the conventional headlights with their clear plastic cover will pay a 2kg weight penalty, however.

Mr Maccolini did not disclose the overall weight of the Spider, but conceded it would be more than the featherweight 895kg of the coupe in unladen form.

Unveiling the Spider at Geneva, Alfa Romeo CEO Harold Wester said the topless version would way “well below 1000kg”, and that the “war on weight” that had been waged on the coupe had continued on the Spider.

Mr Maccolini said the 4C's designers had trimmed the body design down to the bare minimum, and cloaked it over the inner workings of the car as tightly as possible.

This meant there was no room for anything under the front of the car, except for the radiator, suspension and structural elements.

A small boot was designed into the crush area of the rear of the vehicle, and that was the only place to store a roof.

Most other targa-topped cars have a lift-out aluminium panel. In the case of the original Honda NSX open-top model, the roof could be slotted into a special cradle above the mid-mounted engine bay.

Mr Maccolini said it was also unacceptable not to have a roof that could be carried in the car.

Australian journalists were shown an early full-sized design prototype of the Spider at Fiat Chrysler Automobile's Turin design studios, but the roof was a fake panel without the proper workings of the series production soft-top.

However, it was cloaked in black fabric, indicating that all Spiders are likely to get the traditional black fabric on their roofs.


Alfa Romeo 2015 4C SpiderOpen season: Alfa's 4C Spider will have a targa fabric roof that can be rolled up and stored in the boot.








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