The new Alfa Spider, which has just made its international public debut at the Geneva International Motor Show, has already collected its first award - Cabrio of the Year 2006 - from a 23-strong panel of leading motoring writers from 12 countries across Europe..

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Cabrio of the Year 2006 awarded to Alfa Spider


The Telegraph-On Line's  Motoring Editor, Jaffa Raza reports from Geneva

 The Spiders 's all round abilities y puts  it on top of its class


Derived from the fascinating Alfa Brera coupé, the new Spider is an elegant two seater with generous dimensions. Inside, the passenger compartment is welcoming and highly sophisticated, thanks to the use of luxury materials and other outstanding features including dual-zone automatic climate control to steering-wheel-mounted radio controls, VDC and Cruise control.

To be eligible for the award, cars had to be presented for the first time at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, and could not cost more than 60,000 Swiss Francs. This is the second time that a Fiat Auto product has won the award: in 1995 the title went to the Fiat Barchetta.

The Alfa Romeo Spider is offered with a choice of two drivetrains, both JTS petrol engines, the 2.2 delivering 185 bhp and 3.2 delivering 260 bhp, combined with two gearboxes, six speed manual units on both engines, and automatic for the 260 bhp 3.2. The new car guarantees the temperament of an Alfa and excellent dynamic performance thanks to high double wishbone suspension at the front and a Multilink system at the rear.

The Alfa Spider combines superb comfort with a sporty trim and an evolved 'Alfa Q4' four-wheel drive system on the 260 bhp 3.2 version. In the safety field, the new Alfa Romeo Spider is fitted with the most sophisticated electronic devices to control the car's dynamic behaviour, from braking to traction.

The Spoder should arrive in UK showrooms by summer with prices from £24,000. Based on the Brera coupé which goes on sale in Britain in about six weeks, the Spider replaces the boxy behind of its predecessor with a curvier rear featuring elongated tail lights and four exhausts. It is balanced by a more thrusting bonnet typical of Italian GT cars, which houses a 185bhp 2.2 JTS engine or the 260bhp 3.2 JTS.