Although the mid-engine Spider isn't technically a convertible, removing the canvas roof panel provides a satisfying open-air effect. Just don't expect any fancy electronic assists. You simply roll up the panel, stuff it into the duffle bag provided, and stow it in the trunk (which leaves room for little else). The optional carbon fiber roof ($3,500) must stay at home. The roll bar is fashionably disguised by a black plastic or available carbon fiber halo behind the passenger compartment. Despite additional structural bracing, the Spider is just 22 pounds heavier than the coupe and stays under the 2,500-pound mark.
The rear-drive Spider is powered by a 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 237 horsepower, matched to a six-speed automated manual transmission with paddle shifters. Zero to 60 mph happens in just 4.2 seconds. You also get a racing-tuned suspension, Brembo brakes, electronic launch control, and 17-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels with high-performance tires. Consistent with its track-ready personality, the Spider is one of the few cars left with manual steering.
All of the expected passenger car conveniences come standard, like power accessories, Bluetooth phone and audio, and a four-speaker sound system. The standard sport seats are clad in leather, as are the door panels and dashboard. You can upgrade to leather and microfiber racing seats, and carbon fiber interior trim is available. There's also a Convenience package with rear parking sensors and cruise control. A premium Alpine sound system is a standalone option.
For an even higher level of performance, you can specify the Track package with a more aggressive suspension and carbon fiber trim throughout. You can also add a sport exhaust system, 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels, and painted brake calipers.
The Spider is bred for the track and performs brilliantly in that context. If you intend to use yours for civilian driving, the Convenience package and removable hardtop will make your commute a lot more comfortable. Note that the optional sport exhaust is simply too raucous for tooling around town.
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