I Shouldn't Love The Alfa Romeo 4c, But I Do: Review  

  • urbanantix
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Post #1 post 29th May 2015 - 05:54 PM

I found this an interesting read, not sure I agree, Thoughts?

I Shouldn't Love the Alfa Romeo 4C, But I Do

Italians are known for making some of the best sports cars on the planet. And according to my research the best spaghetti too. Ask anyone what their favorite sports car (or spaghetti) is, and theyre likely to give you a name that ends in the letter I.

One name that rarely comes to mind in the high-performance department, though, is Alfa Romeo. While the Italian marque does have a few heavyweights under its belt, never in its history has Alfa built a car up to snuff with the likes of Ferrari or Lamborghini. And you can quote me on that.

But Alfa Romeo hopes to change that perception with its latest offering. Its called the 4C, and it dips underneath the lovely 8C in both performance and price. And its actually on sale in the U.S., which is the first Alfa thats been stateside in over 20 years (for good reason).

PHOTOS: See More of the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C

Designed In Italy

Like the outgoing 8C supercar, Alfa designers didnt skimp on adding a few gorgeous curves to this thing. When you look at the 4C, its an Alfa Romeo through and through. Its stunning from front to back. The iconic nose is refined, the body is adorably small, and the rear is more subtle, but not any less pretty than the rest of the car.

The design isnt only beautiful, its functional. With a drag coefficient of 0.335, the body is as slippery as it is light. 2,464 pounds is the final weigh in, and that extremely light weight is thanks to a healthy heaping of carbon fiber, specifically a carbon fiber tub thats immediately noticeable the second you slide into the car. Exposed carbon fiber is everywhere a very supercar-esque feature.

Given the design and the proportions, you would think its the Italian Lotus youve been dreaming of. And then you actually drive it

Engineered in Russia

First things first: theres no power steering. I like to pretend Im an enthusiast, so that was ok by my standards. It is a sports car, after all. But for American buyers, Im not sure how appealing that is. You really have to be a connoisseur to appreciate that analog feel. That being said, I can immediately dismiss it as a daily driver. The 4C is an absolute pig in a parking lot.

So its a track toy then, right? Meh.

It only comes in automatic; which is strike one for any hardcore track enthusiast. And thats not even the worst part. Its skittish at speeds over 60 mph. The body is too light yes, too light and the steering feels unresponsive. Id go as far to say its even scary to drive at some points and Ive driven COTA in a sedan.

If you push it past 100 which is illegal; dont do that you seriously have to keep your hands on the wheel. There is no room for mistakes. Lose track of where you are for a second and that car will throw you into a wall.

You also get a trio of driving modes: Dynamic, Normal and All-Weather. If you didnt catch it, that reads DNA on the console. Cute Alfa. Cute. And all three do provide some variations in performance.

Dynamic mode is, well, more dynamic. Throttle holds longer, as do revs, and it feels slightly more refined in the handling department. Normal is pretty normal, which for an Alfa, is still aggressive. And All-Weather softens things up so the car doesnt kill you in rough weather.

Four-Liter Speed

The ironic part about its sub-par handling is that its not even that quick. It gets to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds, which is respectable, and has 237 horsepower on tap. But unless you put it in launch mode, pushing your foot on the gas is like waiting in line at the DMV. Any second nowalmostalmost thereand theres the power. The turbo lag is immense, and it puts that tiny 1.7-liter engine into perspective.

In typical Alfa Romeo fashion, the 1.75-liter engine is the smallest in the segment. Its direct-injected and turbocharged giving you plenty of reason to think its a performer. Its not terrible at speed the power-to-weight ratio is 10.4:1, which is about as good as a Porsche Cayman. But in the larger scope of things, it could have done better with a slightly bigger engine and a much less laggy turbo.

Its Bark Is Bigger Than Its Bite

Probably its only saving grace (aside from the way it looks) is the way it sounds. Sort of like a lawn mower making love to a wind turbine. Ok, maybe thats not the best way to describe it. But its one of those unexplainably great noises that seemingly only Italian cars make. Similar to the Fiat 500 Abarth, the 4C sounds like a little bulldog trying to show all the bigger dogs (and in this case, jungle cats) how big and mean it can be.

The Alfa Romeo 4C is a difficult car then. It doesnt perform all that great, and its a ridiculously hard sell for the U.S. market. It just doesnt fit the typical American standard that most buyers are looking for. The interior feels unfinished, theres wires hanging from the passenger seat, and the wind noise is almost unbearable. When youre paying $65,845 (as tested), those arent qualities youre looking for.

The great thing about this car, though, is that even with its many faults you just want to love it to pieces. Sort of like that yappy little bulldog. Its a feeling you cant really put your finger on. Youre not going to out-corner any Porsche Caymans, or outgun any Jaguar F-Types but hell, id be lying if I told you I didnt want to drive the Alfa every day over those two. It absolutely won over my heart as wonderfully imperfect as it was.

Its that classic Alfa Romeo engineering strategy (Im paraphrasing of course): We dont have to build a great car, we just have to build a car that people are going to fall in love with. And it works those crafty Italians.


Engine: 1.75-liter 4-Cylinder Turbo
Horsepower: 237
MPG: 24/34
Price (as tested): $65,845


Supermodel looks
Amazing sound


Handles like a pig
Interior feels unfinished
Skittish at speed

Post #2

Further negatives: It'll most likely shit itself within 10000km.

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