Demand in Europe for the Alfa Romeo 4C coupe has pushed back its arrival date in New Zealand from a planned launch in July to perhaps December – and the same delay can be expected when the soft-top spider goes into production early next year.
“It’s (coupe) going to be later in the year now, the fourth quarter,” said FiatChrysler NZ product planning manager Lance Bennett. “We haven’t got production numbers (for NZ) yet. We can’t wait for it. We want it now – we’re hoping grey imports don’t beat it here.”
These are the first pictures of the road-ready spider, taken by Automedia spy photographers at Maserati’s plant in Modena, Italy, where both 4C variants are being made. Apart from a bit of black tape here and there, the car is said to be almost ready for production.
Like the coupe, the spider is a mix of carbon-fibre chassis and composite bodywork. It is pretty much a mirror image of the coupe, except for the canvas soft-top and wide carbon-fibre rollover bar. The same lightweight material was used for the windscreen frame and spoilers and as a consequence the conversion to open-top has added only 60kg to the coupe’s 895kg.
The coupe and soft-top were designed by Lorenzo Ramaciotti of the Alfa Romeo Style Centre, who also helped pen the Lotus Elite and Exige and 10 Ferrari designs.
The spider was first shown as a prototype at Geneva this year. It sported a dual exhaust with electrically operated valves to improve both performance and soundtrack, and carbon-fibre clamshell headlights. Both will make it into production. Like the coupe, power comes from a 170kW/350Nm 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine mounted east-west behind the two seats and driving the rear wheels via a six-speed duel-clutch gearbox.