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Alfa Romeo Spider driving report: This wedge is available from € 1,800

Dino Eisele
Alfa Romeo Spider 2.0 TS driving report
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D The best thing about prejudice is, yes, it to give up and get rid of. You vent, you free yourself, you open up. Or, to get there, the car first. With some Alfa 916 Spiders this even works electrically. Although that could also be turned against the Spider that Alfa presented in 1994. For example, with the question of who needs such comfort nonsense at all. Electric motor and hydraulics, something will definitely break at some point, and then those fancy buttons in the center console. As if you couldn't just fold such a fabric roof behind you by hand. Has worked for decades. Anyway: Is that supposed to be a spider? An Alfa that makes it?

Extreme wedge shape and tiny piggy eyes

The Alfa Romeo Spider of the 916 series is so broad, and on top of that it underlines the visual pre-emptying with this wedge shape, which looks so extreme, so overdrawn, as if it were supposed to be a caricature of yourself. And doesn't he look really unsympathetic out of those little piggy eyes? It is fitting that this car breaks with everything that had made the Alfa Spider up until then. It has front-wheel drive and a four-cylinder with a cast iron block from the Fiat shelf, half the body is made of plastic, and yet the thing weighs almost 1.4 tons. Not counting the heavy legacy that the Alfa 916 had to take on. That burdens him even more.

Because it was certainly not so difficult to please the newcomer mainly because of himself, but because you had to say goodbye to the old man to greet him. He had 27 years to advance to Everybody's Darling in four generations and more than 100,000 times. One thinks now. And forgets that the very first Alfa Spider, the Duetto, which is embraced today, caused displeasure when it was presented in 1966 when it came to its design. It wasn't until the Fastback, introduced three years later, that many liked it better, but they knottled that its beefy two-liter no longer spun as freely as the 1750 before '> In the best tradition of the rubber lip

But that was nothing compared to the nagging that broke out in 1983 about the Alfa Romeo Spider Aerodinamica. Aerodinamica is what hardly anyone calls it or knows it because they quickly agreed that the third Spider variant was consequentto be despised as a 'rubber lip'. The rupture seemed so deep that the following variant, again without a rubber lip spoiler, was not even given a nickname, but simply left it as 'Series 4'.

The Alfa Spider 916 did nothing in order to mend the tense relationship, but instead continued the alienation for the time being. That was already in sight when Alfa Romeo showed two studies by Pininfarina under the name Vivace at the 1986 Turin Salon, which were supposed to show the way for the new Spider. So it could have been worse. Perhaps that has to be enough to get involved with the 916, overwhelmed by the effort it takes to grapple with the same prejudices. And this Spider here, a 2.0 Twin Spark from 2002, even opens for us as it should: by hand.

And it sounds surprising: like an Alfa Romeo. Obviously they managed to teach the four-cylinder of the 916 with light alloy head, double ignition and corresponding exhaust system a good tone. It can also be heard so clearly because, even at higher speeds, the wind doesn't blow so wildly through your pears that after a short time the world goes under in a single roar.

No, from the body enclosed as if by a folded-up collar, the storm in this Alfa Spider stays away for a long time. Nevertheless, he is open enough. Open enough, that's it - that's how this body wedge works. Primarily for those who dare to step inside, who sit in it, who can open themselves.

Timeless Spider

For the 916, with which Alfa fortunately did not try to rebirth or reissue the classic series. What else could that have been but a half-solution covered with melancholy of supposedly better times? Then prefer the resolutely new, which now has the chance to mature into a classic in and of itself.

Although that leads on the wrong track with the tire. It is always reminiscent of a cheese that has been sitting on a shelf under mushroom cultures for months, only to be described as aromatic. The cheese simply gets old and stinky, and that's exactly what the Alfa Spider 916 is not even 20 years after its presentation. Because of the cheese shelf. Road! This is where it belongs, the fifth Spider, and it fits in seamlessly with its predecessors. It looks different, it is constructed differently on the modified floor pan of the Fiat Tipo, but it is no less fun.

Alfa Spider with great chassis and sonorous V6 engines

Again and again you would have to persuade yourself doggedly: front-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, front-wheel drive. Otherwise you will quickly forget. The former Fiat boss Paolo Cantarella is to blame. He drove the Alfa Spider 916 in the development phase anddecided, yes, the car drives well. And that's not good enough for him, Cantarella. So the Spider came to its multi-link rear axle mounted on a stable aluminum subframe and with it such playful, good-natured and precise handling. Because the rear wheels always turn a little in the opposite direction when turning in due to the axle kinematics.

This chassis can easily cope with it, so tightly tuned that the Alfa Spider cannot do without rattling on a bad route and nodding in the event of successive bumps comes, including the performance of the six-cylinder. Six-cylinder, that hadn't existed in the Spider since the 2600 in the mid-1960s. In the Alfa 916 several times: as a two-liter turbo V6, as a three-liter 12 and 24 valve, and as a 3.2 liter 24V. The tightly stepped, short-geared gearbox fits all engines so well that with each movement of the gear lever even stuck thinking patterns come back into motion.

Last Alfa from Arese

Yes, the Wedge Spider rattles and creaks with the plastic from time to time, its top, even when it is closed, is not always tight. But was that the case with the previous Spider generations? And isn't there another completely sentimental reason to just let the reservations about the Alfa 916 - roof up, windows down, third gear - blow away?

It was at Pininfarina before production in 2000 changed, the last car that Alfa built in Arese. So he will always feel a little melancholy of a big farewell. And with her: sympathy.


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