Motoring Road Test: Alfa Romeo Spider

There has been a great deal of limbering up for the UK launch of Alfa Romeo's new Spider, which goes on sale here on 25 April. Admittedly the facia, with its hooded instruments, seems a bit like a last minute nod to Alfa's past and the current obsession with retro detailing, but from the outside the car's bang up to date - it's even front-wheel drive, which will horrify Alfa die-hards, but shouldn't.

I would advise anyone booking a test drive to make sure it's a lengthy one. As with all cars of distinct character, and especially Alfa Romeos, there is something of a learning process to undergo.

It's big - more a junior Mercedes SL than a contender in the MGF/Mazda MX-5 league. You may experience initial difficulty judging that beautiful body's extremes from the cockpit, and you will need a fairly positive approach to gear changing.

Once accustomed to all that, you can begin to enjoy yourself. You have Alfa's excellent new twin-cam at your disposal, a normally civilised and tractable motor that will oblige with the usual high-rev delirium if required and a ride which, while not choppy, is the sort that reminds you that you're driving a motor car, not simply awaiting the arrival of your destination.

My only serious beef, ignoring for a moment the absurdly large and rather ineffective windscreen wipers, is the steering. A little too light for my liking, the slight vagueness it suggests leaves you surprised when the car responds as quickly as it does. It also gives the impression that you are at the limits of grip long before you actually are.

That apart, this car is every bit as good as the famous name and reputation of its predecessor while avoiding the obvious temptation to be a mere pastiche of it.

Specifications

Alfa Romeo Spider 2.0 Twin-spark 16-valve Price approx pounds 22,000. Two- litre transverse-mounted in-line four; 150bhp; five-speed manual; top speed 130mph; 0-62mph (100kmh) 8.4secs; overall fuel consumption 34.0mpg.

Rivals

MGF 1.8 16v VVC 5-speed, pounds 17,995. BMW Z3 1.9 5-speed, under pounds 20,000 (to be announced). Mazda MX-5 1.8iS 5-speed pounds 17,595. Saab 900 2.0iS 5- speed Convertible, pounds 21,902.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 40 years ...

    Recruitment Genius: Weekend Factory Operatives

    £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer is curr...

    Recruitment Genius: FP&A Analyst

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A market leading acquirer and m...

    Recruitment Genius: Electricians

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fully qualified electricians re...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific