It looks nice, doesn’t it?
Yes, it is a pretty little thing, especially in the new bright yellow hue. We reckon that some of the cosmetic changes, compared to the coupé, have worked really well. The unusual LED headlights, for example, have been replaced by a set of faired-in Xenon items. The engine cover behind the rear window has also been revised, as is the roof, obviously.
Speaking of the roof, it's a manual jobbie, so it must be fiddly…
Yes it is. Although getting it off is much easier and it can probably be done even when you’re sitting in the driver’s seat. However, putting it back on is a pain in the neck. It’s a job for standing up and seeing what you're doing. You balance the whole roof in place as best you can before slotting the leading edge under a rim at the top of the windscreen.
Is the cabin still as sparse?
It’s got a leather-trimmed dashboard and sports seats, and the contrasting stitching does look good. But it is quite minimalistic in here. There’s plenty of carbon fibre on display as well, but there isn’t much in terms of storage space. It’s got more in common with something like a Lotus Elise rather than a Porsche 718 Boxster. The latter is far more useable in everyday situations.
OK, so here’s the big one: is the show matched by adequate go?
Even though the Spider is about 14kg heavier than the fixed-top version, it still weighs less than a tonne — 999kg to be precise — which means it is brisk in a straight line. The '1750' four-cylinder engine is a buzzy little thing that develops 240 horsepower; enough to propel the 4C Spider from standstill to 100kph in just 4.5sec. That’s two-tenths of a second faster than the 2.0-litre Porsche 718 Boxster. The six-speed double clutch gearbox also reacts smartly to your inputs, but it feels quite aloof at times.
Bet it’s superb around corners though…
Er, actually no. The engine’s power delivery is a bit strange and there is a distinct off-boost delay between ask and receive. It doesn’t help either that the steering, despite it being a hydraulic system, isn’t the most loquacious, so you are constantly second guessing the grip level.
Thanks to the mid-engine layout, there is superb traction from the driven wheels, though, it’s not difficult to swing the tail out in the wet. It also has a very annoying tendency to follow the undulations of the road surface — not very confidence inspiring that. More in the full feature.