The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider starts at £59,500 on the road, which is £8000 more than the coupe. The difference can be accounted for not only in the Spider’s roof arrangement but also the subtle visual changes and the extra equipment inside. Mechanically though it’s identical to the coupe, retaining the turbocharged, 1742cc four-cylinder with its 237bhp and 258lb ft power and torque outputs and six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
While this layout provides plenty of performance, some buyers might be disappointed that it’s not particularly exotic – £60,459 buys the new Porsche Boxster Spyder with a 3.8-litre, six-cylinder engine that’s more becoming of the price tag.
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While the Boxster is heavier than a 4C, its extra 133bhp and 52lb ft of torque ensure it springs to 62mph in the same 4.5sec as the 4C Spider (only with a more mellifluous exhaust note, courtesy of natural aspiration and the extra pair of cylinders) and reaches 180mph.
Another alternative is the brilliant Lotus Exige Sport 350. It’s even more focused than the carbonfibre-tubbed Alfa, but it's a more satisfying drive, even quicker (3.7sec to 60mph, 170mph) and less expensive too, at £55,900. Depending on your level of dedication, you might be less inclined to use it every day (though the 4C’s busy chassis doesn’t make daily driving easy and the Sport 350 is even better than its Exige S forebare), but it ultimately succeeds where the 4C fails.