Powertrain: Turbocharged 1.7-liter inline four-cylinder engine that cranks out 237 hp, 258 pounds-feet of torque; twin-clutch six-speed automated manual transmission
Features to notice: Alfa's "DNA" switch allows the driver to change among dynamic, natural and all-weather modes. Available carbon-fiber removable "halo," or roof panel, and hard top. LED taillamps. An optional Track Package includes high-performance shock absorbers, performance flat-bottom steering wheel and carbon-fiber side mirrors. Later in the model year, an all-new optional Akrapovic dual-mode exhaust system featuring dual, center-mounted tips with carbon-fiber surround and signature sound will be available. It is one of three available exhaust systems on the 4C convertible.
Safety: Standard safety equipment includes all-speed traction control, electronic stability control, antilock brakes and a driver knee airbag. Cruise control, security alarm and rear park assist are available.
Target: Combined output of the hand-built 4C coupe and Spider will be capped at 2,500 in 2015, just enough to ensure that most Alfa enthusiasts, collectors and fans of Italian design and performance have a shot at one.
Competitors: Porsche Cayman and Boxster; BMW Z4; Jaguar F-Type; and Lotus Elise, Evora and Exige
Strengths: Lighter than the competition. Rich, Italian heritage and racy styling is a nice counter to the latest crop of German sports cars.
Weaknesses: The lack of a traditional manual transmission may turn away some prospects even if the dual-clutch transmission is fast. Wind noise and exhaust can get loud at constant speeds. Some observers deride the 4C as too derivative of the Lotus Elise.
Bottom line: Alfa is pitching the 4C Spider as a less expensive alternative to some exotic brands without sacrificing what North America boss Reid Bigland calls "supercar-level performance and capability." 4C coupe and Spider output will be limited — helping maintain exclusivity and pricing.
The Spider comes to market in August when high-performance vehicle sales are on the upswing, driven in large part by luxury brands, though car demand is weak. The result is an open-air sports car that pays homage to Alfa's racing and performance bona fides and heralds a global product blitz.
| ||2015 Alfa 4C Spider||2016 Porsche Boxster||2016 BMW Z4|
|Wheelbase||93.7 in.||97.4 in.||98.3 in.|
|Length||157 in.||172.2 in.||167 in.|
|Width||73.5 in.||70.9 in.||70.5 in.|
|Height||46.7 in.||50.5 in.||50.8 in.|
|Curb weight||2,487 lbs.||2,888 lbs.||3,263 lbs.|
|Base engine||1.7-liter I-4||2.7-liter flat 6||2.0-liter turbo 4|
|Horsepower||237 @ 6,000 rpm||265 @ 6,700 rpm||240 @ 5,000 rpm|
|Torque, lbs.-ft.||258 @ 2,200-4,250 rpm||206 @ 4,500 rpm||260 @ 1,450 rpm|
|EPA mpg||24 city/34 hwy.||20 city/30 hwy.||22 city/34 hwy.|