Sam Philip03 March 2014

Phwoar: it’s the Alfa 4C Spider

Stunning Italian coupe loses its roof, looks even better for it. Here in 2015. We can’t wait

This is the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, the soft-top version of Hammond's favourite Quadski-beating coupe. And, manfully resisting the urge to make any clanging ‘gorgeous Italian topless model' jokes, we must say this: it is very pretty indeed.

Unveiled at the Geneva show, the 4C Spider isn't quite ready-to-roll production car. But nor is it a you-won't-see-it-for-years concept. Alfa describes it as a ‘prototype', and says that the production 4C Spider will enter production in 2015.

So how does the cabrio differ from the 4C coupe? As you might have cunningly deduced, it has a retractable roof rather than a fixed lid. It's not yet clear whether the lightweight canvas hood is electrically or manually operated, but Alfa does reveal that the Spider weighs just 60kg more than the 4C coupe, which means a weight of around 985kg with fluids.

Certainly the deroofing hasn't done much to harm the 4C's vital stats. Armed with the same 237bhp four-cylinder turbo petrol (and six-speed DCT ‘box) as the coupe, the Spider gets from 0-62mph in the same 4.5 seconds, and on to a top speed ‘in excess of 155mph'.

And remember that, because it uses a carbon tub, removing that roof shouldn't rob the 4C of any structural stability.

Other changes? The Spider gets carbon fibre rollover bars, and a steel panel where the rear glass screen lurks in the coupe. There's also a new central exhaust system by Akrapovic that can be made even noiser at the push of a button. More noise plus no roof equals happy ears.

Interestingly, the Spider ditches the coupe's controversial ‘moon crater' headlights in favour of a new set of carbon fibre ‘clamshell' units, which, to Top Gear's eyes at least, look far more elegant.

We know, from driving the 4C in both Europe and the UK, that the 4C coupe is entertaining but frustratingly flawed. Could chopping its top make the 4C the car it always promised to be? We can't wait to find out.

In 2015.

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