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Alfa Romeo 4C Spider review - better than the coupe, but Alfa's sportster is still flawed

Removeable roof and styling tweaks add a new layer to the 4C's appeal, but the Spider is still a flawed sports car

Evo rating
Price
from £59,500
  • Exotic styling, light weight, performance
  • Less than exotic engine, busy chassis, gearbox

evo Verdict

Early signs are positive that the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is an improvement over the less than impressive 4C Coupe we’ve reviewed previously. Detail changes to the steering and suspension and a change in weight distribution mean that, in standard specification at least, the Spider experience is lighter, less corrupted and more flowing than its coupe equivalent.

It’s still not perfect however, becoming unsettled as the road becomes cambered or the surface broken and vexing with its tardy, boosty throttle response and slow reactions to tugs on the gearshift paddles. The parpy exhaust note is entertaining in moderation, if not as cultured as those of six-cylinder rivals from Porsche (Boxster Spyder) and Lotus (Exige Sport 350), and the styling will always be a highlight.

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The Spider’s extra cost over the coupe might deter you, but it’s so far the best version of the 4C we’ve tried. It's just a pity it's not even better.

evo Tip

Avoid the Racing chassis option. For a start, eschewing the upgraded suspension, rear anti-roll bar and uprated front anti-roll bar will save you £1250 (more if you also go without the £1050 racing tyres and £1350 larger alloy wheels), but it’ll also make the 4C just a little more fluid on twisty roads. You might lack the driveway kudos of the 18in front and 19in rear alloys (the standard wheels are 17in up front and 18in at the back), but it helps you work with the chassis a little more and doesn’t punish as harshly on rougher surfaces.

evo Comment

‘The 4C is busy across the road. It finds cambers and ruts that just don’t trouble its rivals, so the unassisted steering tugs this way and that. There’s a responsiveness and a very real sense of rigidity in the tub, but the damping doesn’t allow the car to breathe with the road surface. You find yourself tensing up to keep the car pointing straight, fighting the chunky steering to get it turned in and trying to guess if it’ll oversteer or push on.’ – Dan Prosser, Road test editor (4C Coupe, evo 209)

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Performance and 0-60 time > Open roof does little to trim the 4C Coupe's brisk performance, though the hot-hatch exhaust note is at odds with the styling. Read more about the Alfa 4C Spider's performance here.

Engine and gearbox > Giulietta QV four-pot is retuned for its mid-engined application, features a fruity exhaust and a dual-clutch 'box. Read more about the 4C's engine and gearbox here.

Ride and handling > Revised settings benefit the Spider's fluidity, but still shares many of the 4C Coupe's foibles. Read more about the 4C's ride and handling here.

Prices, specs and rivals > A price tag £8000 more than the Coupe raises the 4C into Exige S Roadster and Boxster Spyder territory. Read more about the 4C's pricing here.

Interior and tech > Simple cabin, but vibrant trim shades and removable roof do improve the ambience. Read more about the 4C's interior and tech here.

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Design > Simple changes, including rear buttresses and less bug-eyed headlamps, make the 4C even more visually appealing. Read more about the 4C's design here.

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