After the highly successful launch of the Alfa Romeo Brera three weeks ago at the 75th Geneva International motor Show, the first batch of spy photographs of the Spider version are now in circulation.

These are the first photographs of the Alfa Romeo Spider which have been taken by an outsider, following many computer impressions of this highly anticipated model. Heavily clad with black plastic camouflage, the new Alfa Romeo Spider will outwardly share an identical front end with the closed Coupé model.

Unlike some of the competition, which have been engineered with heavy folding roofs, the new Spider follows the tradition set by its ancestors and is equipped with a soft top. A true evolution of the previous Alfa Romeo Spider’s, two seats are provided, which allow for a respectable luggage volume of approximately 240 litres. In terms of vehicle size, the Spider is 20 mm shorter than the Brera Coupé due to a shorter rear overhang.

Entry-level 225/55 R16 tyres are fitted to this Spider prototype, although the 6-spoke alloy wheels are obviously a stand-in for the production examples. Alloy wheels will be fitted across the range, as was not the case with the outgoing Spider. Visitors of the Geneva motor show may have observed that the Brera show cars were fitted with 18 inch wheels, with 245/40 R18 tyres. This wheel and tyre size combination will also be available on the Spider model.

Under the bonnet, the prototype is fitted with the all new 3,199 cc V6 engine, codenamed internally as the ‘HF V6’ engine. The transversally mounted, 24 valve, direct injection petrol engine boasts an output of no less than 260 bhp, and 335 Nm of torque. An all-wheel-drive traction system, with rear bias, coupled to a 6-speed gearbox completes the driveline. The prototype is fitted with a manual gearbox, although an automatic will be offered at a later date.

Small 16 inch six-spoke alloy wheels clad with 225/55 R16 tyres are fitted to this Spider prototype, which have been chosen due to their high ventilation qualities.

Heavily clad with black plastic camouflage, the Alfa Romeo Spider will outwardly share an identical front end with the closed Coupé model.

Completing the launch range, the 2,198 cc 4-cylinder JTS engine, with 185 bhp and 235 Nm of torque will also be offered, with front wheel drive and a 6-speed manual gearbox. In 2007, a GTA model is expected, which will feature a twin-turbo V6 engine with 408 bhp and 680 Nm of torque.

The Premium platform is identical to that used on the Brera Coupé, with a wheelbase of 2,528 mm. To fully exploit the four-wheel-drive abilities, the Spider makes use of front quadrilateral suspension at the front, with tri-link at the rear. Excellent comfort is guaranteed alongside the traditional Alfa Romeo temperament. ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) and VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) with sporty, non-intrusive calibration, is also fitted to control the Spider's dynamic behavior. An electronic system called MSR is also fitted, which adjusts braking torque during down-changing.

The Spider will hit the market in March next year after its world debut at the 2005 Frankfurt IAA in September. It is the new Spider which will provide the necessary cachet for Alfa Romeo to re-enter the US market.

by Patrick Granger


Photos: www.147virtualclub.it