Engineered like a supercar, the impressively lightweight Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe is sure to stir pure envy. The single carbon fiber monocoque chassis and aluminum subframes feature a power to weight ratio that maximizes dynamic efficiency. With such a seductive mix of progressive technology and pure power, the 4C Coupe will get your blood pumping.
Arts & Culture
News • Arts & Culture / June 9, 2017
Probably like most of you, I admire mid-engine Italian exotics from Ferrari and Lamborghini. Sexy bodies, carbon fiber structures, and handling of the gods raise them up on tracks and car parks alike. American supercars are fantastic, but there’s a finesse to Italian cars that underlines their nation’s heritage. Most of these cars cost well into six or seven figures. But, not the Alfa Romeo 4C.
It gets noticed. Last evening, my husband came to me and said some strange guy stopped his car and was taking photos of the Alfa in our driveway. Near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, people were taking selfies with it. Points and stares are part of the experience with this little red toy.
Styling is inspired by the 1967 Alfa Romeo Stradale. From the rear, wide with lower diffuser and round taillamps, it could be mistaken for a Ferrari. It’s a small car with Alfa Romeo’s trademark “plunging neckline” grille up front. Plastic bodywork, single wiper, and 18-inch/19-inch wheels front/rear ring of performance. Available Bi-Xenon headlamps, carbon fiber spoiler, and carbon fiber Italian flag mirror caps add flash.
Flexing, bending, and stooping over the wide threshold qualifies as exercise. Once inside, the cabin is roomy enough for two planted in red leather buckets. Our car’s leather-trimmed dash and doors with red stitching, suede flat-bottom steering wheel, and exposed carbon fiber frame add allure. The air-conditioning froze my nuggins and the flatscreen instruments worked flawlessly, but the ‘90s-vintage chicklet radio is cheesy even with thumping Alpine speakers attached to it.
A Jewel Of A Powertrain
Placed like a jewel in its setting, the mid-mounted turbocharged four-cylinder engine is visible through the rear window. Displacing just 1.75 liters, but moving only 2,500 lbs., it conjures 237 horsepower to fling the car from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds on the way to a 160 mph top speed. You can leave the twin-clutch 6-speed transmission in auto mode or paddle-shift it yourself. A perfectly-tuned exhaust note and the sound of the turbos behind your head cause elation. Frugal fuel economy rates 24/34-MPG city/hwy.
Handling is exquisitely balanced, but you’ll need to tone your arm muscles as the 4C goes without power steering. Honestly, the 4C doesn’t need it. You’ll have to wrench it at a dead stop, but it lightens up immediately after wheels start moving. Flipping through challenging switchbacks, or flat out on the highway, it was so nice not to have electrically power-assisted vagueness typical of today’s cars. Brembo brakes stop the car with a stiff leg.
But, the car is still quite sophisticated. The carbon fiber monocoque body structure is incredibly rigid, allowing for light weight, but also enabling the little car to rumble over rough pavement with virtually no harshness reaching the cabin. The sport-tuned suspension is firm, but not brutal. You can tune the powertrain through Alfa Romeo’s DNA system – that’s Dynamic (sharp throttle, loud exhaust note), Natural (comfort setting), and Advanced Efficiency (maximizes fuel economy).
What if you want an open air driving experience? Well, you have two choices. There is a 4C Spider that costs about $10,000 more. If you wish for a modern version of the classic front-engine Alfa Spiders, there’s always the Miata-based Fiat 124 across the showroom.
You can drive a Corvette a thousand miles in complete comfort, and the Porsche Cayman is outfitted like an Audi, but the 4C is for enthusiasts who want nothing polluting their driving experience. A base price of $55,900, or $71,045 as tested, puts this sexy little rocket well below those other Italian exotics from Maranello and Sant’Agata Bolognese.
4C Spider Interior Features
The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, which is available in both coupe and convertible configurations, boasts all the features you’d expect from a premium sports car. The 1750 cc turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is enhanced by features like the flat-bottomed steering wheel, and beautifully subdued by perks like the Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode Selector. Other features that keep the fun rolling as you speed around Walnut Creek:
- 7-Inch Driver Information Cluster: Keep tabs on speed, fuel consumption, and other tracking features you can customize.
- AM/FM Stereo Radio with Media Hub: Enjoy your favorite tunes on the radio, and through the auxiliary or USB ports.
- Available Alpine® Premium Audio System: Experience your favorite song with the Alpine® Premium Audio System, which sports a subwoofer for added oomph.
- Standard Leather Seating: Luxury comes standard on the 4C Spider, which is why it comes with black leather seating and trim.
- Flat-Bottomed Steering Wheel: The leather steering wheel is designed with a flat bottom, making every road in Fremont feel like a racetrack.
- Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode Selector: Allows you to customize your driving experience with four different driving modes–Dynamic, Natural, All Weather, and Race.
- Carbon Fiber Interior Trim Group Package: This optional package includes carbon fiber air vents, cluster bezel, instrument panel bezel, and shift bezel.
Whether you like the Subaru BR-Z or the Toyota 86, it doesn’t really matter because they’re basically the same car. As such, they both come with a high-revving, 205-hp Boxer engine that is packed full of high-RPM fun and can take you far between each gas station fill-up. According to the EPA, the Subaru BR-Z is able to achieve up 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.
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