Previewed in concept form last March in Geneva, the production 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider made its world debut in Detroit with virtually no changes. Due to arrive at dealerships this summer, Alfa's striking new roadster expands the scope of the lineup in a most fitting manner and will help celebrate the Alfa's 105th anniversary.

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As expected, the new 4C Spider shares its lightweight carbon-fiber/aluminum structural elements and sheet molded compound body panels as well as a mid-mounted 237-horsepower turbocharged 1750cc 4-cylinder engine, paddle-shifted/multi-mode 6-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission and sport-spec brakes with the 4C Coupe. The most significant changes are found above the beltline. For openers, the Spider features a bespoke carbon fiber windshield frame that adds stiffness and rigidity. It can be matched with an optional carbon fiber "halo" element on the contoured aluminum rollover bar at the rear of the cabin area. The standard cloth top locks into place when up and stores neatly in the 3.7-cu ft bin behind the engine bay when the car is in al fresco mode. However, a removable -- but not stowable -- carbon fiber roof panel will be available sometime after the car goes on sale. The new Spider also will introduce four new alloy wheel designs to the 4C mix.

Exhilarating performance with an open-air twist 

Due to the car's exotic structural design and the adoption of 10 percent thinner windshield and side window glass, the transition from Coupe to Spider status added only 25 pounds to its curb weight. Alfa says the two cars share virtually identical performance stats, sprinting from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds, nailing 160 mph on the top end and generating 1.1g of lateral grip. Although the design of all-aluminum suspension is common with the Coupe, the Spider gets unique spring/shock/roll bar tuning of the North American market. It also will offer a new Akrapovic dual-mode exhaust system with center-mounted dual outlets rimmed in carbon fiber that produce a more resonant Alfa Romeo sound. Like the Coupe, Spider buyers also can opt for an optional racing exhaust, or the full Track Package that brings a bigger wheel/tire fitment, performance seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, carbon fiber trim and more as well as other personalization items.  

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To match its seven exterior color choices, the 4C Spider will offer standard leather upholstery in six interior color combinations, including a late-arriving bespoke Tobacco with Black accents. While its basic cabin design is common with the current Coupe, the Spider will introduce a new Alpine audiophile audio package that includes HD radio and SiriusXM Radio as well as Bluetooth handsfree phone and streaming, a USB port, iPod interface and CD/MP3 capabilities. 

Reid Bigland, head of Alfa Romeo North America believes the new Spider will account for about 40 percent of the total 4C production mix, and that roughly one third of those cars will be heading to the U.S. While no formal word on pricing was offered, the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is expected to start around $80,000. 

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