Alfa Romeo Spider Convertible 1996-2003

Alfa Romeo Spider Convertible 1996-2003

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Gorgeous looking soft-top car
  • Trendy and affordable
  • Great V6 engine and strong performance

Cons:

  • Body is not particularly rigid
  • Noisy on the motorways

Overview

If you're after something different then Alfa Romeo Spider (1996-2004) may be for you with its irresistible head turning looks and features. The Spider was never sold in huge numbers in the UK and has become a rare sight on the road making it the perfect car if you want to stand out from the crowd. Although it is only available in two engine sizes, both are powerful if not particularly economical.

Exterior and Interior

The spider is a strict two-seater not bothering with the token rear seats, as done by its hard top counterpart the Alfa Romeo GTV. When travelling long distances both seats prove to be surprisingly comfortable with plenty of cabin space also at your disposal. The Spider comes with deep but narrow boot, which is not big enough for most articles of luggage. However, there is extra storage space situated behind the seats in the form of a secure cubby hole for carrying any larger items of luggage. Due to the positioning of the passenger airbag, the glove box is a little on the small side. The roof can come as either electric or manual making the car look stunning when down but can be quite tricky when it comes to raising it back up. The Spider comes with just two trims with these being the Turismo or Lusso. The basic Turismo trim comes with 15-inch alloy wheels, air-con, stereo, electric heated mirrors anti-lock brakes and central locking. The optional Lusso pack comes with additional leather upholstery and 16-inch alloys. The Spider experienced upgrades coming twice throughout its production with the main changes being the introduction of the silver console in 1999 and a major facelift in 2003 when the grills were deepened and the front and rear bumpers were transformed.

Performance and Economy

Don't buy this car if you are looking or cheap motoring. The Alfa Spider is expensive to run and insure. The maximum fuel economy you will achieve from the 2.0-litre engine is 30mpg. The 3.0-lutre will only achieve 24mpg. Both of these official figures should be taken with a pinch of salt though as neither will be easily achievable. Also insurance groups are high, group 17 for the 2.0-litre and group 20 for the 3.0-litre.

Like to Drive

If you are in search of an enjoyable and stylish car, then the Spider is a good option to go for. If you are looking to buy a second hand Spider, then before buying ensure you completely check its service history, that there is no visible rust as this will prove expensive to repair and that there are no leaks present in the fabric roof. If you are looking to sell then it should be fairly easy to shift as Spider's are much rarer than their hard top cousin the Alfa GTV. The Spider corners very well with sharp, precise and perfectly weighted steering. However, the 3.2-litre engine can overpower the front tires and any hard accelerating may result in the front tires dropping losing grip. Despite this, the majority of the time it has an impressive level of grip and the body roll is kept to a minimum. However, with the roof down and travelling at speed it offers a relatively rough ride with serious vibrations through the cabin becoming apparent on bumpy roads.

Faults and Repairs

A salient feature of every car is its safety feature. The Spider is well equipped with great safety features. However, Despite Alfa Romeo stiffening up the body, it does not give the feeling of a well-built structure. No roll-over protection is present, but it does come with traction control, anti-lock brakes and twin airbags. It also comes fitted as standard with an alarm and immobilizer. The most common problems with the Spder tend to be electric glitches. Generally it is a sound car, but when something does go wrong you should expect a heavy repair bill. Still one may minimize the risks by religiously sticking to servicing and checking the level of oil.