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Future models - Alfa Romeo - 4C - Spider

Detroit show: Alfa Romeo takes 4C top off

Roll up roll up: The new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider adds sunshine to an already accomplished sportscar package with a roll-up removable targa-style roof panel.

Production soft-top Alfa Romeo 4C Spider debuts at North American auto show

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Alfa Romeo logo13 Jan 2015

ALFA ROMEO has literally torn the cover off its two-seater 4C sportscar at the North American Auto Show, giving the public a first look at the 4C Spider and its removable fabric top.

The Italian car-maker's second 4C variant is mechanically identical to its 4C coupe sibling, sharing its almost exclusively carbon-fibre construction and mid-mounted 1.7-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but a roll-up cloth roof replaces the fixed composite top.

Visually, the 4C Spider differs little from the concept that aired at the Geneva motor show in March last year, with only the relocated outboard exhaust tips setting the production model apart from the concept.

Customers preferring the look of the two middle pipes will be able to order the Akrapovic optional exhaust, which adds a sportier and louder note too.

Production versions of both the coupe and Spider have also gained a small airvent ahead of the rear wheel on the vehicle's nearside to provide more cooling air to the transmission and will only be fitted to US vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Australia has confirmed the Spider variant will join its fixed-top sibling Down Under, arriving about 12 months after the coupe in early 2016, but exact specification and pricing is yet to be finalised.

Despite its featherweight roof, the Spider version has gained approximately 10kg over the coupe but the bantamweight open-top will still crack 100km/h from a standing start in an estimated 4.1 seconds, while the mid-ship weight balance permits up to 1.1g of lateral acceleration in corners.

Top speed for the 4C Spider is a very breezy 257km/h and its four-piston front callipers can generate a mighty 1.25g in deceleration.

With flexible fabric construction, the removable top can be rolled up and stowed behind the seats rather than left behind in the case of a rigid roof, which would be too large to store on board.

If occupants are caught short in bad weather or if the Spider is to be left unattended in public, the roof can be retrieved from its stow and refitted.

For owners wanting a greater level of security or rigidity, an optional carbon-fibre hardtop will be available following the Spider's launch.

Its 1742cc highly strung engine produces 176kW and 350Nm with power sent through a six-speed double clutch automatic transmission allowing gear-shifts via steering wheel paddles or a fully automatic mode.

Overseas models will be available in a range of personalisation options such as six interior colour combinations including a choice of seat leather/microfibre colours with contrasting stitching, while bodywork is available in a choice of seven colours including a new Giallo Yellow.

Wheels measure 17-inches at the front and 18-inches at the back in standard trim, but can be optionally boosted by an inch at either end to 18-inch and 19-inch respectively.

The 4C's brake callipers are silver as standard but can be ordered in black, yellow or red.

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