The 916 Series Alfa Romeo GTV and Spider was in production from 1995 to 2006. It was available as a two-door coupe with 2+2 seating or a two-door convertible with two seats -– both styled by Enrico Fumia at Pininfarina. It is a front-engined, front-wheel-drive sports car.
The car was launched in 1995, three years after the previous Spider had discontinued and eight years after the final GTV.
It was available as a 2.0 Twin Spark four-cylinder with a five-speed manual gearbox, with a 12v V6 following in the Spider a year later. In 1997, a 24v version of the V6 was fitted to the GTV, and the interior underwent some minor changes.
The first real facelift was 1998, with a revised dashboard now available in three colours to match the seats. Power was increased for the Twin Spark. In 2000, the 12v was dropped and replaced in the Spider with the 24v V6. Production moved from Alfa’s plant in Arese to the Pininfarina factory.
In 2001, Alfa Romeo created the special edition GTV Cup, to celebrate the one-model Alfa Romeo GTV Cup racing series. 155 RHD cars were built, all based on the 24v V6 and all in red. These cars featured spoilers, skirts, 17” teledial wheels and side vents, with different leather trim to the standard car. Mechanically the Cup was identical to the standard 916 GTV.
Both the Alfa Romeo GTV and Spider were facelifted for 2003, with a new nose, and a new 2.0JTS engine to replace the aging Twin Spark. Production continued into 2004, though cars could still be bought into 2006.
The 916 Series Alfa Romeo GTV and Spider use two different engines: Alfa’s 2.0 Twin Spark four-cylinder and the Busso V6. The V6 was available in 12v and 24v forms. The Twin Spark was replaced with a 2.2-litre JTS and the V6 increased from 3.0 to 3.2 in 2003. Both were available with a choice of five-speed manual or six-speed manual depending on age, and both were front-wheel drive.
Not only does this generation of Alfa Romeo GTV and Spider look pretty, but these cars handle sweetly to boot. The handling tends slightly to understeer -– more so with the V6 -– but is relatively balanced and fun. It’s a comfortable and stylish place to be, too -– hooded dials make it feel far more special than its run-of-the-mill rivals.
Spider roofs can squeak, though a little grease on the locating dowels in the screen frame can cure this. Neither Alfa Romeo GTV nor Spider has a propensity to rust; both were galvanised and much of the panelwork around the front is plastic anyway.
Make sure the Twin Spark has been kept topped up; they drink a pint of oil every 600 miles or so and forgetting will lead to big bills. It also needs cambelt changes at 3 years or 36,000 miles. The V6s are stronger, but make sure the cambelt has been done within the last 5 years and 60,000 miles.
The Alfa Romeo GTV Cup is the most desirable 916, though rare. As a rule, there is little value difference between pre-facelift and post-facelift cars, though Spiders are always worth more than the equivalent GTV. Twin Sparks are liked for their handling, but the V6 is more desirable among more people because the engines sound fantastic.
For an alternative, try the similar Fiat Coupe. The Audi TT offers a similar model range, while for the Spider’s cool charms perhaps a Porsche Boxster might be an interesting alternative. The Fiat Barchetta’s a class below, but retains a similar Italian coolness.