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By: Christopher Nelson, November 13, 2015

We won’t act like we planned this. It had occurred to us that instead of a standard Four Seasons test, we could spend six months with an Alfa Romeo 4C coupe then swap into an all-new, open-air Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. But we shrugged off the concept, opting instead for a standard, 12-month evaluation of the coupe. Life, it seems, liked the idea of a split test.

On a Saturday night on a coastal road in southern California, someone smashed their 2004 Honda Civic into the left-rear corner of our red Alfa Romeo 4C coupe, severely damaging the Alfa’s wheel assembly and surrounding carbon-fiber bodywork. Maimed, our 4C left on a flatbed. But thanks to the good folks at Fiat Chrysler, we were subsequently offered up a bright-yellow 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider to keep for six months in order to round out our Four Seasons test. It felt like getting a puppy to replace the recently deceased family dog—an uncomfortable mingling of grief and excitement.

The yellow Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is a lot like the dearly departed red 4C coupe. You can see its exposed carbon-fiber body when you’re sitting in its surprisingly spacious, simple two-passenger cell, its manual steering is grouchier than a just-dumped preteen, and there’s still a turbocharged 1.7-liter four-cylinder engine and accompanying six-speed dual-clutch transaxle shoved behind the seats.

As for what’s different, the Spider is 22 pounds heavier thanks to some additional bracing, its removable, targa-like fabric top takes up precious real estate in the tiny trunk, and it has a $10,300 price premium over the $55,195 coupe. (And that’s before adding $2,500 dark gray wheels, a $1,800 convenience package, $1,500 yellow paint, $1,000 xenon headlights, a $500 racing exhaust, $300 painted brake calipers, and a $300 carbon-fiber gauge cluster bezel.)

The Spider’s still-slim rear window is easier to see out of thanks to a redesigned engine cover. It also comes equipped with an Alpine head unit that’s ugly as sin and aftermarket chic but works much better than the standard 4C’s sound system. Oh, and when the Spider’s top is popped, you can better enjoy the turbo-four’s braaaps and growls, all the while knowing that Alfa hasn’t crippled the carbon-fiber monocoque’s structural rigidity by scalping it.

While we didn’t plan this, we’re excited to see how the next six months with our yellow Alfa Romeo 4C Spider play out. We’re christening it with some laps around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, so check back soon for its first update.


Body style: 2-door mid-engine rear-wheel-drive convertible

Accommodation: 2-passenger

Construction: Carbon-fiber monocoque w/aluminum front and rear cell structures

Base price: (with dest.) $65,495

As tested: $73,395


Engine: 16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4

Displacement: 1.7 liters (106 cu in)

Power: 237 hp @ 6,000 rpm

Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 2,200-4,250 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic

Drive: Rear-wheel

EPA Fuel Economy: 24/34/28 (city/hwy/combined)


Steering: Unassisted

Lock-to-lock: 2.7 turns

Turning circle: 40.5 ft

Suspension, Front: Control arms, coil springs

Suspension, Rear: Strut-type, coil springs

Brakes: F/R Vented discs

Wheels: 17- and 18-inch aluminum

Tires: Pirelli P Zero

Tire size: 205/45R-17 88Y, 235/40R-18 95Y


Headroom: 38.0 in

Legroom: 42.7 in

Shoulder room: 49.8 in

Wheelbase: 93.7 in

Track F/R: 64.5/63.1 in

L x W x H: 157.5 x 73.5 x 46.6 in

Cargo capacity: 3.7 cu ft

Weight: 2487 lb

Weight dist. F/R: 41/59%

Fuel capacity: 10.6 gal

Est. fuel range: 300 miles

Fuel grade: 91 octane (premium)


Sheet molding compound composite body panels
Anodized rear skid plate
Variable intermittent single-blade windshield wiper
Removable and trunk-stowable soft-top roof
Halogen headlights
LED daytime running headlights and taillights
Air conditioning
Aluminum interior trim
Embroidered floor mats
USB port
Auxiliary audio jack 12-volt outlet 7-inch
TFT display
ALPINE radio w/
Bluetooth/CD/MP3/AUX connectivity
Lat-g, boost, and oil-pressure monitoring systems 4-speaker audio system
Remote keyless entry
Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity
Black leather-trimmed bucket seats w/read stitching, carbon-fiber and fiberglass shells
Flat-bottom steering wheel w/paddle shifters
Dynamic, all-weather, natural, and race driving modes
Brembo front brakes w/4-piston gray calipers and drilled rotors
TRW rear brakes w/gray calipers and drilled rotors
Dual exhaust
Engine oil cooling system
Sport-tuned suspension
Launch control system
Hill-start assist


Convenience package- $1,800 Cruise control Rear parking assist Premium audio system Alarm Bi-xenon headlights- $1,000 Yellow (giallo prototipo) paint- $1500 18- and 19-inch Dark gray aluminum wheels- $1500 Racing exhaust- $500 Carbon fiber cluster bezel - $300 Yellow brake calipers-$500

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider - Open-top Swap

284 Posts

Don't get me wrong. Alfa's are my bread and butter. But the 4c is really, really expensive for what it is. The open top is going to be even more. At that price I'd rather wait for the Giulia sport sedan coming that is going to blow every M3 out of the water and with money to spare.

263 Posts
View attachment 2379

Don't get me wrong. Alfa's are my bread and butter. But the 4c is really, really expensive for what it is. The open top is going to be even more. At that price I'd rather wait for the Giulia sport sedan coming that is going to blow every M3 out of the water and with money to spare.
Agreed on both counts. The Giulia is on my radar too.
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