READY TO DAZZLE: Alfa Romeo is showing a production version olf its new 4C Spider at the 2015 Detroit auto show. The car will arrive in SA mid-2015. Image: Alfa Romeo
• Alfa Romeo 4C Spider shows in Detroit
• Unique carbon fibre windscreen frame
• Available carbon-fibre 'halo' highlight
• Carbon-fibre, aluminium construction
• Akrapovic dual-mode exhaust system,
• New alloy wheel designs, new colour
DETROIT, Michigan - The production version of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider has been unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, combining scintillating performance with open-top thrills and the unmistakable soundtrack of an Italian, performance-tuned engine and exhaust.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
Like its Coupé sibling, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is built on an ultra-light monocoque chassis made entirely of carbon-fibre layers that, Alfa says, are three times stronger and one-seventh the weight of steel.
Alfa Romeo South Africa says the 4C Spider will arrive about the same time here as it's arrival in Europe.
Because of its inherent rigidity, Alfa Romeo engineers were able to minimise structural differences between the 4C Spider and 4C Coupé: the Spider has a unilateral carbon-fibre windscreen frame stuck and bolted to the monocoque chassis; an aluminium rollover bar with mounting points for the new rear deck-lid; unique upper body brackets and a “high-strength” steel engine compartment cross-beam to maximise torsional rigidity.
As with the Coupé, the body is made entirely of SMC (sheet moulded compound), a low-density, very strong, composite that is 20% lighter and dimensionally more rigid than steel, and even the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider’s windscreen and side windows have been optimised for lightness, using 10 percent thinner glass to reduce weight by as much as 15%.
While European specifications for the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider have yet to be announced, the weight difference between the Coupé and Spider versions of the US is only 10kg.
The 4C Spider shares much of its exterior design with the Coupé sibling – the changes focused purely on the metamorphosis from fixed to open-top. The Coupé’s glazed engine cover and flowing coupé shape give way to a more traditional spider form, with pronounced buttresses and a body-coloured engine deck-lid with three heat extractors and an aerodynamically tuned spoiler.
The rollover structure is housed in a black (or optional carbon-fibre) “halo” visually harmonises with the carbon-fibre windscreen frame, where the attachment points for the removable, stowable cloth roof (or optional carbon-fibre hardtop) can also be found.
Other new features on the 4C Spider Concept include an all-new titanium exhaust system mounted centrally with switchable modes which can be altered depending on the driving environment and driver’s mood.
Developed by world-renowned exhaust specialists Akrapovic, this beautifully crafted system consists of two central tail pipes and computer-optimised asymmetrical silencers with a dual-mode exhaust valve system and link pipe with resonator to eliminate cabin drone.
This optional system is finished with carbon-fibre bezels on the exhaust tips. Like the 4C Coupe, the Spider will also be available with the standard and racing exhaust system.
A new Alpine premium audio system is available with multiple connectivity and media options, among them hands-free Bluetooth, Bluetooth streaming, USB/iPod/CD/MP3 connections, HD radio and SiriusXM satellite radio.
Four all-new wheel designs also debut, either in 17” (front)/18” (rear) or 18” (front)/19” (rear) sizes in Silver or Dark finishes.
The Spider has the same aluminium, 177kW/350N, 1750cc TBi engine as the Coupé. Performance for the US model is the same as the hardtop: 250km/h and 4.1sec to 100km/h. For the North American market the Spider will have stiffer springs, larger anti-roll bars and tuned shock-absorbers.
Tech spec for Europe will be announced closer to its launch later in 2015.
The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider was designed by Alfa Romeo Centro Stile and will be assembled at the Maserati plant in Modena, Italy. It will go on sale in the UK in the northern-summer with prices and UK specifications announced closer to that time.