By: IOL Motoring Staff:

Geneva Motor Show - Italians being what they are, the tifosi at Alfa Romeo could hardly be expected to create the 4C Spider by simply sawing off the roof of the existing coupé model, could they?

Instead the Alfa Romeo Style Centre produced this little work of art, a near-production preview of the model scheduled for release early next year.

The structural reinforcement necessary for topless cars means that the Spider inevitably weighs more than the coupé but, thanks to a lightweight fabric top, carbon-fibre rollover bars, spoilers and windscreen frame and the replacement of the glass rear screen with an extension the composite rear bodywork, the extra weight has been kept down to about 60kg.

Carbon fibre dominates the cockpit, but not as decorative trim - the monocoque of the 4C Spider Design Preview is made entirely of the Light Stuff, and it's exposed to view in the centre console, door sills and rear bulkhead.

STANDARD MECHANICALS

The droptop 4C also speaks with its own voice, thanks to a new dual-stage central exhaust system with titanium and carbon tailpipes by motorcycle pipemeister Akrapovic, complete with an electrically-operated valve system that improves both performance and exhaust-note authority at the push of a button.

The drivetrain is standard 4C issue, with the new 1750 TurboPetrol four driving the rear wheels via a six-speed, dual dry-clutch Alfa TCT transmission and performance is within a whisker of the coupé's. 100km/h comes up in 4.5 seconds from standstill and VMax is on the naughty side of 250.

Even the coupé's sweetly poised 40:60 front-to-rear weight distribution is unchanged so, apart from a little scuttle shake, the Spider should handle as well as its hard-top sibling, which is to say superbly.

The Geneva show special has new carbon-fibre clamshell headlights and special rims, each milled from a solid block of aluminium and shod with bespoke Pirelli tyres; it's finished in a special three-layer pearl white paint.