My Spider 2.2 JTS runs OK. What's wrong?
I live in Italy and recently purchased a 2007 Spider 2.2 JTS with 60,000 km. As far as I know, the car is completely standard without any modifications.
After reading a lot of posts on this forum I wonder why my car is so enjoyable and why my experience is different than some others here. I have tried my best to detect rough spots, flat spots, or hesitation with my engine, all without success. We have an old Roman bridge in my town paved with stones that are so rough they make the Paris–Roubaix road look like a billiard table. I putt-putt across that road at a slow crawl and the engine seems quite happy to just chug along at very low rpm without complaint. When I finish crossing and accelerate, the engine does so smoothly and without hesitation. Starting from a dead stop, even up-hill, seems easy, the clutch is nice and smooth, and I simply can't notice any bucking, or snorting, or complaining.
I live in an area blessed with beautiful, twisty country roads. In some sections I can simply stay in third gear for long periods of time and go from rather low rpm right up to red line and back again where the seemingly unending curves are linked by short straight sections. The engine strikes me as surprisingly tractable throughout the rpm range. Yes, the car is heavy and the engine is small and non turbocharged so it's not a neck-snapping experience; nevertheless, it does a fine job as far as I'm concerned. I'm certainly not craving a re-map of the ECU, especially for €400.
I'm not expecting super-car performance or race car handling, but I'm quite happy not only with the engine, but the handling as well. Body roll is not bad and the overall ride seems to be a nice comprise between comfort and handling. I've done a bit of amateur road racing in hatch-back automobiles where modified suspensions were allowed, so I'm familiar with the effects of stiff springs, dampers, and roll bars. I'm also familiar with driving at the limit (or beyond) when I was racing. I have no intention of doing any racing or attending any track days with my Spider but I do enjoy buzzing around our local roads, admittedly well below the limit. However, I often drive in what might be described as a spirited way. So far, I'm quite satisfied with the standard Spider suspension.
Of course I notice that the car is not as stiff as a coupe and it's a pretty large and heavy car with a relatively small engine. But none of this is a surprise. What is a surprise is how happy I am with the way the car drives and the decent response of the 2.2 JTS.
Should I feel bad about feeling good? Is being a happy Alfa owner an oxymoron? Will I be labeled as "insensitive" if I am not angry at my 2.2 JTS? What do I need to do in order to feel bad about my car or myself? I want to fit in.