The Front-Wheel Drive Alfa Romeo Spider Did Not Entirely Suck

You have to wonder what kind of special crack Alfa Romeo was smoking back in the early 1990s when their entire lineup went front-wheel drive. Sure, it probably saved money, but it was the fastest way possible to water down their legendary performance heritage.


Alfa is working on walking back from that mistake now. But their front-drive offerings weren't really all that bad; I've always been kind of partial to the 1990s Alfa Romeo GTV and Spider models, tested here in this episode of Old Humorless Top Gear Before It Was Fun To Watch.

Could this front-drive roadster match the driving dynamics of the long-running old rear-wheel drive Spider? Probably not, but it had its own assets, like a quirky wedge shape, a premium interior and the option of a V6 later on.

In this test, Steve Berry finds a lot to like in the car's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. And he finds the handling to be worthy of the Alfa name. Good as it was, I don't think anyone will miss that drivetrain layout.


I find it humorous how many contributors here spend most of their time dogging FWD, and the remaining part of their time talking about how great cars like the Mini Cooper (original), Lancia Fulvia, Alfa 164, and VW GTI are.

Here's the truth- FWD is fun in its own way (though the limits of adhesion are lower), it's more forgiving for a novice driver, and provides more traction in certain conditions.

I think it's quite unecessary to declare one form of drivetrain superior to others. They all have pros and cons, they all can be very fun to drive, and they all can be found in outstanding cars.