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Supercars: The Road & Track Guide
Cars of Exceptional Speed, Power and Beauty
by Editors of Road & Track

Alfa
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The new Alfa Spider, the latest open-topped Alfa Romeo in the company’s outstanding legacy of iconic convertibles, went on sale in the UK in February 2007. Derived from Giorgetto Giugiaro’s multiple award-winning Alfa Brera design, the new Alfa Spider was developed by Pininfarina in collaboration with Alfa Romeo Centro Stile. Winner of the Cabrio of the Year award at the 2006 Geneva Motorshow, the new Alfa Spider combines superlative engineering with outstanding performance and handling characteristics appropriate to the pedigree of one of the world’s most famous sporting marques. The Alfa Spider is capable of developing a class-leading 1 g of lateral acceleration.

The 2007 Alfa Spider is shorter and lower than the Brera with which it shares the same wheelbase. Elegantly compacted through sharp front and rear bodywork tapering, the Alfa Spider exterior is rich in styling cues from Alfa Romeo’s peerless tradition of sporting convertibles, from the Giulietta Spider of the 1950s to the legendary Duetto and the Alfa Spider of the 1990s.

Continuing a design trend prevalent in the recent Alfa Romeo model range, the legendary Villa d’Este style Alfa shield with horizontal chrome bars dominates the front. In profile, the new Alfa’s taut, rising waistline flows from the pronounced flare of the front wheel arches to give the Alfa Spider a purposeful stance. At the rear, the Alfa Spider’s broad ‘shoulders’ taper to the focal point of the Alfa Romeo badge, and lean, 4-lamp horizontal light clusters demarcate the shut-line of the luggage compartment lid, which features a residual spoiler. Integral, color coded bumpers and four chromed, flush mounted exhausts further reinforce the new Alfa Spider’s presence.

Debuting in the Alfa 159 and also available in the Alfa Brera, the spirited quadruple overhead camshaft, all-aluminum 24-valve V6 powerplant features both the company’s direct petrol injection system and twin phase, continuously variable valve timing. This outstanding, light aluminum alloy, 3195 cc engine takes its name – Jet Thrust Stoichiometric – from its specific combustion system, an original Alfa Romeo concept that involves the high pressure injection of fuel, at 120 bar, directly into the combustion chamber with a stoichiometric mixture optimized to increase engine power and torque first and foremost – thus adapting this technology to the requirements of a sporting car – whilst adopting the stratified charge method to reduce fuel consumption in a limited speed band close to idling.

The Alfa Romeo 3.2 litre JTS V6 combines power and torque peaks of 260 bhp at 6300 rpm and 237 lb ft at 4500 rpm respectively, with smooth, linear power delivery from low speeds. Some 90% of peak torque is available from just 1800 rpm and maintained up to 6250 rpm. Hence, the 3.2 litre V6 24v unit delivers sensational performance, but is also very docile, and the Alfa Spider can cruise effortlessly in sixth gear at less than 2000 rpm, yet accelerate rapidly and smoothly away without the need for changing gear. Mated to an F40 6-speed manual transmission and Alfa Romeo’s Q4 permanent four-wheel drive system, the 3.2 litre JTS V6 engine will accelerate the new Alfa Spider from 0-62 mph in 7.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 149 mph.

The Alfa Spider is fitted with a fully automatic, double-layer fabric roof which may be retracted via a single dashboard mounted control switch in less than 25 seconds. A separate dedicated roof storage compartment ensures that the Alfa Spider’s generous stowage capacity is not compromised. The luggage compartment offers a 200 liter capacity – 36% more than the previous Alfa Spider – even with the roof folded away. As with all Alfa Romeos, the interior of the new two-seat Alfa Spider convertible is focused on the driver’s immediate surroundings, which have been designed with an emphasis on ergonomic functionality. A height adjustable driver’s seat allied to a rake and reach adjustable, leather clad steering wheel guarantee a perfect driving position for the widest possible cross-section of customers.

The driver’s instrument binnacle houses large, deeply hooded speedometer and tachometer dials with subsidiary fuel and temperature gauges, strictly analogue in true Alfa tradition and backlit to optimize the driver’s night vision. A multi-lingual, multi-function display gives access to a wide range of functions as well as the trip computer. Optional equipment includes xenon headlights, satellite navigation, electrically adjustable front seats, a Bose sound system, Blue&Me hands-free mobile phone connectivity and 18” alloy wheels.

More on the Alfa Romeo Spider at: www.rsportscars.com

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