Sadly, the 2016 Alfa Spider will not be derived from show-stopping 2010 Pininfarina Duettotanta concept, seen here.
Sadly, the 2016 Alfa Spider will not be derived from show-stopping 2010 Pininfarina Duettotanta concept, seen here.
The production Spider will (hopefully) take inspiration from the 2010 2uettottanta Concept by Pininfarina.
The production Spider will (hopefully) take inspiration from the 2010 2uettottanta Concept by Pininfarina.
Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta Concept.
Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta Concept.

We'll admit we were sceptical when Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne announced that the next-generation Alfa Spider would not only be made in Japan, but would also share its chassis with the 2015 Mazda MX-5.

But, as more details of these cross-cultural adoptive siblings emerge, we're starting to warm to the idea.

The new MX-5 and Alfa Spider will have the same front and rear axles, front body-shell section and, crucially, front bulkhead and windscreen. Each will be about four metres long and 1.7 metres wide, although the Spider will be a few centimetres longer than the MX, thanks to a classically-inspired front treatment with the traditional heart-shaped grille flanked by narrow, low-mounted air intakes.

By using high-strength steel for most of the shared body structure, Mazda engineers are targeting a kerb weight of less than 1100kg; bear that number in mind, we'll come back to it later.

CONTEMPORARY SILHOUETTE

Sadly, the 2016 Spider (expect to see it in November 2015, about six months after the MX-5's world debut) will not be derived from Pininfarina's show-stopping 2010 Duettotanta concept.

Insiders have reportedly told Autocar magazine that designers at the Fiat Centro Stilo battled for months to productionise the achingly beautiful retro-boat-tailed concept, before giving up in despair.

Be that as it may, what is known is that the new Spider has been shaped by Alfa Romeo/Maserati design chief Marco Tencone - creator of the Alfa 4C, and the new Maserati Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans - with his team in Turin, helped by a satellite studio in Japan.

The design brief was that the Spider had to have a contemporary silhouette to fit into Alfa's future all rear wheel-drive range alongside the seriously sporty 4C, but with more subtle detailing, as befits a classic 'barchetta' layout, .

Expect to see conventional headlight clusters, rather than fashionable LED units, in a body that doesn't share any exterior panels with the Mazda.

ITALIAN POWER

Right from the start Marchionne insisted that the new Spider would have an Italian engine; the leading candidate is the 125kW version of Fiat's turbocharged 1.4-litre MultiAir, turned through 90 degrees to drive the rear axle via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, which will probably be sourced from a Japanese specialist.

That would give the Spider a power-to-weight ratio of 114kW per ton, hardly in the supercar league but on a par with the Volkswagen Golf 7 GTI.

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