Alfa-Romeo revealed the all-new 2015 4C Spider, at this year’s North American International Autoshow.
This mid-engine Italian sports car grabbed the world’s attention as a coupe; now this convertible version adds to the allure.
The 4C Spider is uses a carbon fibre monocoque shell, inspired by F-1 car design, blended with a lightweight aluminum chassis, to give a power to weight ratio, and performance levels found in supercars.
The light weight design enables the tiny 1.7L turbocharged 4 cylinder to deliver 0-60 times of 4.1 seconds.
The all-aluminum 1750 cc turbocharged engine takes advantage of several cutting edge technologies.
Among them are: direct injection, Variable Valve timing, intercooling, a redesigned cylinder head that reduces oil consumption and reduces emissions, thin cast iron cylinder liners and three optional new exhaust systems.
The new turbo enables 80% if the maximum torque, 258 ft-lbs, to be available at only 1700 rpm. This is possible because of the enhanced waste gate control, and a pulse-converter exhaust manifold. For the driver that translates to a more responsive engine, and no turbo lag even at low rpms.
Of the three exhaust systems, one is new. It was developed by Akropovic, it is a dual exhaust design that is constructed from titanium. The other option is the racing exhaust which deletes the muffler all together instead using an asymmetric Y-shape system from the catalytic converter back. Standard is a traditional single exhaust design.
Combined, all this new tech delivers an amazing 136 hp per liter, 237 hp total, not to mention a sweet sound.
Turning this power into forward movement is a twin clutch paddle shifted transmission.
This tranny has been tuned specifically to the 4C, and delivers rev matched shifts in 130-milliseconds. Put another way, you won’t notice unless you are watching the tach.
The Alfa also takes advantage of an electronic Q2 differential and electronic stability control (ESC).
The systems are controlled by what Alfa calls its DNA selector. Basically you can choose one of four driving modes: All-Weather, Natural, Dynamic, Race.
Interestingly the engineers decided on a manual steering system. No power assistance through hydraulics or electrics, just the strength of your arms.
There is no mention as to how heavy or light this system feels at low speed, when parking for example, beyond claiming it remains appropriate due to the lightweight of the car. The idea was to provide the most pure, unadulterated feel possible through the steering wheel.
The race derived suspension is sure to offer capabilities beyond most drivers’ realm of comfort.
Here in North America we get stiffer springs, larger front and rear sway bars, and re-tuned shock absorbers.
The system uses light weight and high strength steel and aluminum components that are arranged in a double wishbone set-up in the front and a MacPherson layout in the rear.
We already know this works to provide exhilaration and poise in the coupe, so let’s move along.
With the arrival of the drop-top Alfa decided to add four new wheel options.
Actually, It’s really two wheel designs that are both available in two colours.
Standard wheels are staggered, 17 inch in front and 18 inch in the back. There is an optional 18 inch upfront and 19 inch in back setup. Being an Italian car the Pirelli P-Zero racing tire option makes sense.
This larger option is mandatory if you choose the track package. This option also includes even stiffer shocks and larger sway bars in front and back.
Of course all the speed and handling prowess in the world would be useless if you were unable to stop.
The 4C has the ability to achieve 1.25g during deceleration. This is courtesy of the Brembo 4 piston aluminum caliper system which clamps down on ventilated discs. The calipers come in: silver (standard), red, yellow, or black.
If you choose the track pack your Alfa will receive a flat-bottom steering wheel with microfiber inserts, carbon fiber exterior mirrors and carbon fiber gauge cluster bezel, plus the possibility of Black leather performance seats with microfiber inserts and red or yellow accent stitching.
The standard sport seats are made from a carbon fiber and fiberglass reinforced-composite. This material ensures strength and lightweight.
Seats come in Black leather with Red accent stitching, Red leather with Red accent stitching, or the new Black leather with Giallo (yellow) accent stitching.
The interior is Spartan and compact. There is nothing beyond what you do not need to drive.
The layout is well thought out, as is the driver 7 inch colour driver information display, located in the gauge cluster to help keep the driver focused ahead.
The leather wrapped interior provides an upscale atmosphere, while the occasional bit of exposed carbon fibre to remind you of this cars purpose.
A new Alpine radio provides audiophiles with premium sound quality. The system also enables the latest connectivity and media options: handsfree Bluetooth phone, streaming, USB port, iPod interface and CD/MP3 capabilities, HD radio and SiriusXM Radio.
Regardless which of the seven exterior colors you select- Rosso Alfa, Black, White, Basalt Grey Metallic, Rosso Competizione Tri-coat, Madreperla White Tri-coat and Giallo-the new Alfa Romeo 4C is going to turn heads.
By taking the roof off this beauty, Alfa has further exposed the driver to the full soundtrack of this race derived mini-exotic.