YOU MAY not feel like pulling the roof down in blustery Britain, but over in sunny Spain Alfa Romeo has been getting to grips with what is likely to become the killer drop-top of 2015. These pictures from the cobbled streets of Ubeda, in Andalusia, are the first of the fully undisguised production version of the eagerly anticipated 4C Spider, due to go on sale in the spring.
The finished car is likely to rekindle memories of Alfa’s most famous convertible — the 1600 Spider Duetto driven by Dustin Hoffman in the 1967 film The Graduate. It is based on the existing 4C coupé and it retains the stunning looks, though probably not the remarkable lightness (the standard 4C weighs just 895kg, a figure the convertible won’t match, because of the extra weight of the folding roof mechanism).
It will be powered by the same 1.75-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine found in the coupé, developing 240bhp and 258 lb ft of torque. The added weight won’t significantly affect the car’s performance, so expect the Spider to hit 62mph in 4½ seconds and reach 160mph.
The picture shows that the production car is remarkably similar to the concept version unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March this year. There have been some minor tweaks: a scoop has appeared in front of the near-side rear wheel — possibly an engine air intake — and the exhaust has moved from twin exits in the middle to a tailpipe on each side.
Alfa will be hoping that when the Spider goes on sale next year it mirrors the success of the coupé, which was launched in January and met with almost universal critical acclaim. At last, said many, Alfa had rediscovered its soul and produced a lightweight two-seat, rear-wheel-drive sports car that was as fun to drive as it was beautiful to look at — Jeremy Clarkson described driving it as like being at the controls of a housefly.
The Spider promises more of the same. Now, if only the manufacturer could get a picture of Dustin Hoffman at the wheel . . .
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VW Polo BlueMotion 1.0
Price from £14,730
Until now drivers who wanted an ultra-frugal BlueMotion version of Volkswagen’s Polo have had no option but to buy a diesel-powered model. From this week, however, they will be able to order the first petrol Polo BlueMotion. This three-cylinder car, which has a top speed of 119mph, is capable of 68.9mpg on the combined cycle.
On sale Now, deliveries in March 2015
Lamborghini Aventador Pirelli Edition
Price about £330,000
When it isn’t making risqué calendars, Pirelli is busy fitting its tyres to Lamborghinis. To celebrate the half-century relationship of the two firms, Lamborghini has unveiled the Aventador Pirelli Edition, with special paintwork but the usual 700bhp engine. At about £330,000, it is much more costly than the standard £260,000 model.
On sale Now, deliveries summer 2015