211/ , EUROPA; SCHWEIZ, GENF, Datum: 04.03.2014 12:00:00: 84 INTERNATIONALER AUTO SALON in Genf 2014 84e Salon International de l'Auto et accessoires, PALEXPO - Stefan Baldauf / SB-Medien

Officially named the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Design Preview at Geneva, this topless stunner offers an early look at the production version of a soft-top 4C that will be introduced early next year. The top may have come off, but the aesthetic and dynamic appeals of the Italian heartthrob remain intact, says Alfa.

Additional chassis reinforcement has added 60 kg to the sports car’s weight, but its full carbon-fibre construction means that the 4C Spider stays well below the tonne mark, coming in at just 955 kg. The use of carbon-fibre rollover bars, spoilers and windscreen frame as well as a light canvas soft-top contributes to the small weight gain.

Performance has hardly taken a hit, if Alfa is to be believed. The 0-100 km/h sprint is done in just 4.5 seconds like the coupe, and its top speed in excess of 255 km/h is unchanged too. More importantly, the 240 hp 4C’s 40:60 front-to-rear weight distribution remains unaffected by the transformation from hard-top to Spider.

Apart from the lack of a roof, the Spider concept also introduces a few evolutionary design changes to the 4C. Funnily enough, despite its name, the Spider loses the coupe’s opinion-dividing arachnid-like eyes, in place of a much more traditional-looking pair of glassed-in carbon-fibre headlamps. Better or worse? Tell us below.

A new set of wheels also replaces the coupe’s telephone-dial alloys (if you’re too young to know how this relates to the telephone, Google is your friend). Last but not least is the novel dual-stage central exhaust system with titanium and carbon tailpipes by Akrapovic. The system features a wireless valve that enhances both performance and exhaust note.

Live pix by Stefan Baldauf / Robert Kah