In-depth Reviews

Alfa Romeo Spider cabriolet (2006-2010)

"The Alfa Romeo Spider is a cool car, but despite good looks its driver appeal fails to live up to expectations."

Carbuyer Rating

2.2 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.5 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Beautiful looks
  • Quiet cabin, even with the roof down
  • Diesel versions are economical

Cons

  • Uninspiring to drive
  • Poor resale values
  • Limited headroom with the roof up

The Alfa Romeo Spider is a convertible based on the Brera coupe. It has all the style and kerb appeal you could want of a drop-top two-seater, while the cabin looks great, is neatly laid out and the sporty seats are supportive. There’s a good range of engines, including two economical diesels. It’s not perfect, though, and enthusiasts will find driving one isn't as rewarding as a BMW Z4 or Audi TT Roadster. It’s well priced compared to upmarket rivals, but when you come to sell on its value will have plummeted – which means steep running costs.

When producton of the Spider ceased, it was never directly replaced. However, Alfa Romeo has released a Spider convertible version of the 4C sports car. Read our review here.

MPG, running costs & CO2

Unfashionable diesels are best for economy

While they may not quite fit with the exotic image of an Alfa convertible, the 2.0 and 2.2-litre JTDm diesel engines make most financial sense, returning 52.3mpg and 41.5mpg respectively. The 1750 TBi petrol option returns 34.5mpg, which is a good 10mpg better than the 3.2 V6 model. Insurance costs are quite high across the board, so be wary.

Engines, drive & performance

The drive can't match the stunning looks

The Alfa Romeo Spider is best enjoyed with the roof down through long flowing bends. Here, the fact that the steering and suspension aren't quite as good as rivals is less noticeable. On bumpier roads, and with the roof closed, you’ll spot that the Spider rattles and shakes - and the car generally feels heavy and slow to respond. The new 1750 TBi turbo petrol engine is our favourite. It sounds sporty and has plenty of punch in any gear. The diesels are powerful but noisy, and the 3.2 V6 petrol engine is thirsty.

Interior & comfort

Wind deflector helps top-down comfort

While the Spider tends to rattle a little and thump into potholes, it’s mostly comfortable and keeps wind noise at bay with the roof down - you’ll still be able to have a conversation at motorway speeds. A standard wind deflector behind the seats helps in that respect. The roof is made from fabric and is well insulated, so there’s minimal wind whistle and tyre rumble when the roof is up.

Practicality & boot space

Rear seats are replaced by a lockable storage area

Unlike the Brera on which it’s based, the Spider has no rear sears. In their place is a useful lockable storage area, while the 200-litre boot isn’t too bad for a two-seater sports car. There’s also a fridge for a couple of soft drink cans underneath the front armrest. Other than that, there’s a glovebox and thin door pockets for storage.

Reliability & safety

Owners have reported few faults

Alfa Romeo is saddled with tales of unreliability and bad dealer service, but the company has made real strides of late in both departments. Spider owners report few faults. Safety measures include front, side and knee airbags, brake assist and traction control, but the Spider hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP. Twin rollover hoops prevent injury in the unlikely event of the car flipping over in an accident.

Price, value for money & options

Depreciation is the Spider's downfall

The Spider is priced on par with its German rivals, but there’s only one trim level and it's very highly specified. Cruise control, dual-zone climate control, parking sensors and alloy wheels are standard, but leather is an option unless you buy the V6 petrol version. The issue, typically for an Alfa, is depreciation - it will lose value much faster than an equivalent Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

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