New Alfa Spider And Alfa GTV | Part Two

Alfa GTV

 

Exteriors - Sporty Stylish Line

The new Alfa Spider and Alfa GTV have been redesigned by the Pininfarina Style Centre that was also responsible for the original models. Both models now offer the up-to-the-minute glamour of innovative motifs combined with retro touches.

The roots of this harmonious blend lie in Alfa Romeo's great motoring past. Indeed both models display intrinsic Alfa traits with pride and conviction. Beginning with the triangular front grille that dominates the front end. And continuing with distinctive diverging ribs that outline a bonnet bulge that offsets the distinctive front grille while visually advertising the presence of a mighty power beneath the bonnet. Lastly, another two motifs typical of Alfa Romeo tradition are a wedge-shaped line enhanced by a cut-off tail that gives the car a markedly aggressive slant - and a pronounced side shelf that makes the car look slender and dynamic. These are the distinctive traits that the Pininfarina Style Centre has chosen to stress on the new Alfa GTV and Alfa Spider. New parts with great visual impact have also been added. Firstly, the front end has been redesigned to fit in with the current Brand look. For example, the shield is similar to those used on recent models (to ensure a family resemblance) in that its upper edge follows the bonnet and then plunges down to break the bumper outline.

The badge at the top centre is also surrounded by a hint of chrome that underscores the strength and communicative value of the signature. Chrome bars stand out against the black ground of the grille. These horizontal elements are extrapolated and spread to the side outlets to suggest that the car is well settled and firmly anchored to the ground. Lower down, two separate air intakes are delimited by trapezoid foglights to form the traditional Alfa cloverleaf pattern.

When viewed from the side, both models feature a blend of volumes and taut lines reminiscent of the best-looking Alfa Romeos from the past. For example, the sculpted front shelf falls off abruptly to emphasise the wedge shape. This is underscored by a strongly raked windscreen that blends into the upper line of the doors to create an elegant dip in the door mirror area.

The shelf on the Alfa GTV maintains the same strong rake in the rear side volume while the lower edge of the second side window continues the upper parallel door line to create a sense of overall compactness. The lower tail on the Alfa Spider inspired the stylists to trace a smooth falling line from the halfway point of the rear volume. This is a clear reference to two of the most famous Alfa Romeo sports cars: the Giulietta Spider and the 'Osso di Seppia' (cuttlefish bone). When the car is closed, the Alfa Spider retains its stylistic sense of proportion because the hood blends into the body.

When both cars are seen from the side, you are struck by the new 16" alloy wheels, while the sides (when seen in plan view) feature a distinctive pattern of four swellings over the wheelarches: the overall impression is of dynamic cars with a firm grip on the road.

Moving on to the rear end, both models can be seen to share certain styling motifs. Examples include a marked horizontal dihedron connecting both boot surfaces that meet at a strong angle; a wraparound rear bumper that houses the number plate holder panel; distinctive individual model badges with elegant italic script derived from the most famous Alfa sports cars.

So far we have spoken about what both models have in common. The Alfa GTV and Alfa Spider naturally differ in their rear box shape: the coupé features a generous, strongly raked rear window that houses the third brake light at the base; the Alfa Spider is distinguished by a U-shaped hood cover that blends beautifully into the body and also houses a third brake light at its base. The styling of the rear end is different in the two models: high and truncated in the GTV, more slender and streamlined in the Spider.

By this stage it should be clear that both models, though created from a common blueprint, express traditional tenets of Alfa Romeo sportiness from two parallel yet distinctly different aspects. Two cars with quite different styling and missions: the Alfa GTV with 2+2 body is a sports car built for performance while the Alfa Spider only comes in a two-seater version designed for open-topped driving satisfaction aboard a great sports car. Both models come with three new body colours: Brunello Red, Racing Green and Cobalt Blue.
continues... | Part Three
Published 16 April 2003 Melanie Carter

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