Think Italian performance car, and chances are Ferrari or Lamborghini come to mind, or maybe Maserati or Pagani. These precision machines are fast, sleek, and are typically found in the garages of the one-percent. But provided you don't need a 300-km/h top speed and huge amounts of power, there might be another suitable Italian exotic for a lot less money - the Alfa Romeo 4C.
Launched two years ago, the 4C is a compact mid-engined machine that's available in hardtop coupe and open-top Spider form. Conceptually, the 4C is similar to the Lotus Elise, in that it offers a pared-down driving experience that puts emphasis on driving enjoyment.
What makes the 4C special is its construction. It uses a carbon-fibre tub chassis, similar to what is used on race cars, and lightweight SMC body panels, which help the little Alfa to tip the scales at less than 1,120 kilograms. As a tip of the hat to sports cars of the past, the 4C does without power steering. Low-speed maneuverability will build arm strength, but the communication between driver and car is top-notch.
Part of what helps the 4C stay light is its powertrain. Instead of a V6 or a V8, it uses a tiny 1.75-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission offered is a six-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddles for shifting. Though its output pales in comparison to other exotica, the 4C is a very quick machine, capable of 0-100 km/h acceleration times in the low four-second range.
Being a purpose-built sports car, the 4C is a compromised machine. Luggage space is limited to a couple of small soft bags, and the seating position and headroom can make ingress and egress an awkward affair. Though sparsely equipped, the cabin can be fitted with gorgeous stitched leather and suede. Premium creature comforts like a proximity key system, reverse camera, auto-dimming mirrors, or navigation aren't available. It's a small price to pay for the 4C's driving purity.
Standard equipment for the coupe includes cloth upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, Parrot Asteroid headunit with USB port, satellite radio, CD player, lightweight cloth-upholstered bucket seats, TFT instrument cluster, power windows, mirrors, and keyless entry, LED daytime running lights, LED brake lights, Brembo brake with cross-drilled rotors, and 17- and 18-inch lightweight wheels wrapped in summer tires. The optional Convenience Package adds rear parking sensors, and cruise control, plus an alarm.
The Spider adds leather upholstery and an alarm as standard equipment.
Pricing for the 4C coupe starts at $66,495, with the 4C Spider selling for $78,495.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed
No content available