Alfa Romeo is back for the first time with a mainstream model since the mid 1990’s. The entrant is the beautiful jaw dropping exotic looking Alfa 4C two-seater sports car. A tiny turbo 1.7 liter 4 cylinder sits midship puts out 237-horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Transferring the engine’s power to the rear wheels is a dual-clutch transmission. With no clutch pedal, the dual-clutch equipped 4C drives like a regular automatic but with exceptionally quick shifts and more direct throttle control. Not as refined as some on the market, you will experience some hiccups at low speeds.
Unlike its sports car competitors like the BMW Z4, Porsche Cayman and Chevrolet Corvette. the small Alfa Romeo has an ace up its sleeve in low overall weight. With the extensive use of aluminum, an exposed carbon-fiber monocoque structure, and a Spartan design philosophy, the 2015 4C delivers a fast, agile, visceral driving experience, complete with intrusive engine, and road and wind noise. Fans of seductive styling and back to sports car basics motoring will have a lot of fun behind the wheel of the 4C.
Stylistically, the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C makes a strong statement, looking more expensive than it actually is. In fact, confusion with its Ferrari cousins wouldn’t be that far out of the ballpark The Alfa’s seductive compact dimensions enhance lines. The downside is challenges that arise from the vehicle’s mid-engine layout include limited visibility rearward and over the driver’s right shoulder. Also large sills make entry and exist from 4C a bit of workout.
I have a cousin Bill who loves light basic sports cars, this car would be for him. Although Bill prefers three pedals which currently is not available in the 4C. On the other hand my taste tends to run to having it all luxury, performance, looks and comfort in one vehicle.
Outside of a Lotus Elise that I drove once in LA during my Motor Trend years, this is one of the rawest driving experiences offered in the modern era. Its suspension is firm, the cabin rings with a symphony of engine sounds, and the steering, which offers no power assistance, is incredibly heavy when the vehicle is stationary or moving very slowly.
Apply those same traits to a curved road or a racetrack, however, and the 4C makes perfect sense. The steering feels excellent at speed, vehicle handling is balanced and composed, the engine churns with determination. The gear changes happen rapidly when requested, and the brakes feel powerful and responsive. In the right setting, this diminutive Alfa Romeo delivers tons of unfiltered, honest fun.
When you open the door of the 4C you are greeted by a cool Carbon Fiber Monocoque Tub. The last time I saw was back in my Motor Trend days in the uber expensive Ferrari Enzo or Porsche Carrera GT. Alfa has found a relatively inexpensive way of producing it for the 4C. And it looks fantastic no question.
For those not familiar with the material, Carbon fiber is an expensive composite material that makes everything from race cars to modern aircraft both strong and lightweight. Despite a comparatively low $53,900 base price, the Alfa Romeo 4C features an exposed carbon-fiber monologue structure. My test vehicle with options came to $65,845
Inside the Alfa Romeo 4C’s cabin might be sporty and functional, but it is in no way luxurious. Material quality is good in places but underwhelming in others. Bolted to the vehicle’s beautiful exposed carbon-fiber structure are manually adjustable seats that recline only slightly, resulting in a perpetually upright seating position.
If you are like myself height challenged and short wasted (long legs- short body) the seats make no attempt to help you see out of this beautiful machine. However headroom and legroom are surprisingly good, storage space wise the 4C has a teeny weenie 3.7 cubic foot trunk tucked away near the beautiful under glass engine.
Except for all who love the basic sport car Spartan feel. In my option Ralph Giles and FCA design team need to do a complete interior makeover with pieces for those who would like a better experience. I would add a more refined interior treatment option and modern infotainment system minus the present hanging black wires, tape etc. A rock starts exterior deservers a rock star interior.
The 4C makes you a rock star everywhere you go. Even when parked in my driveway people would see the vehicle and cars passing by would come to stop or stop and backup just to check out the Alfa styling.
The vehicles begs to be on the track. It begs to be driven and it wants to out and dance and play.