Alfa Romeo Spider
|Alfa Romeo GTV & Spider|
|Class:||FF coupe & convertible|
|Predecessor:||Alfa Romeo Spider|
Alfa Romeo GTV6
|Successor:||Alfa Romeo Brera, Alfa Romeo GT|
|Competition:||BMW Z3, Audi TT, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Jaguar XK8, Toyota MR2, Toyota Celica|
|Engine:||1.8 16V Twin Spark|
2.0 16V Twin Spark
2.0 V6 turbo
3.0 V6 12V
3.0 V6 24V
3.2 V6 24V
The Alfa Romeo GTV and Alfa Romeo Spider are two automobiles produced by the Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo since 1995. The GTV is a 2+2 coupe (to avoid insurance premiums), with the Spider being essentially a convertible GTV, with only two seats. The rear seats can be optionally deleted to increase the very tiny boot space.
The pair were launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1995. The GTV's name placed it as the successor to the long-discontinued Alfa Romeo GTV6 coupe, whereas the Spider was effectively the replacement for the then 30-year-old Duetto Spider. Both cars were designed by Pininfarina. It is a typical Italian design, with the Alfa Romeo grill with the pair of lights on each side recalling the 1750 GTV of the late 1960s and 1970s. It has a wedge shape which is in keeping with traditional Alfa Sports design. The back is "cut-off", creating a sharp, aggressive look. The car is very low slung and entering and exiting the car is very similar to that of a Ferrari: difficult. The design has been rebuked by tall drivers that the windscreen is too low. The Spider shares all of these traits except for the cut-off back. The Spider & GTV were based on the Fiat Tipo platform, in this case a heavily modified version with all new multilink rear suspension which allowed passive rear steering. 1.8 16V and 2.0 16v Twin Spark engines were available along with a 2.0 V6 turbo that produced 200 bhp or a 3.0 V6 in either 12 (192 bhp) or 24 valves (220 bhp). The 3.0 V6 24V was the fastest production Alfa Romeo to date when new. The 3.2 V6 24V GTV (240 bhp) is now the current fastest stradale Alfa Romeo to date (introduced on the 2003 - GTVs), capable of 0-60mph in just over six seconds. Autodelta (based in England) have modified this engine to increase its size to 3700cc and considerably more performance. The 2.0 16v Twin Spark Engine is noted to have the best ratio of fuel economy to performance. This, however, did not secure its popularity with the 2.0 V6 selling almost a third more than the Twin Spark. Residual value remains at its highest in the GTV 2.0 Twin Spark, retaining approximately 53% of its new price, compared with the V6 model which only retains 43%. This is still better than that of the 3.0 V6 24V which retains 36%. The 2003 and last restyle to the GTV also introduced the 2.0 JTS (165 bhp) engine.
The Spider featured a folding soft-top with five hoop frame, which completely disappears from sight under a flush fitting cover. An electric folding mechanism is fitted on some versions. As would be expected the GTV has a much more rigid chassis, although considerable work was done to ensure that the Spider does not suffer from the traditional convertible chassis problems. There are many complaints that the Spider is displeasing to drive around tight corners, however the subtle flexing of the chassis improves grip and is a very rare feature. The Morgan is the only other car to share this feature. This flexing of the car can scare less able and less experienced drivers.
The Spider and GTV were revamped in 1998; the post-revamp models are recognisable by the addition of a chrome rim around the Alfa shield in the bonnet. Also, the interior was redesigned and a six-speed gearbox was made available as an option for the 3.0 24V. A second, more comprehensive facelift occurred in 2003, with the revamped cars being unveiled at that year's Geneva Motor Show. The most notable difference was the restyling of the front end to include a much deeper 147-style front grille.
The cars were aimed at the gentleman sports car market with little creature comforts, with air conditioning and a decent stereo. Most 1995-1997 cars have aftermarket radios fitted. Leather was standard on "Lusso" specified models. This was known as "Ti" on Alfasud models etc.