2015 Alfa Romeo 4C
by John Davis
We’ve been hearing promises of Alfa Romeo eminent return to America for what seems like an eternity. Indeed, they did put a toe back into our waters with the exotic 8C Competizione in 2009, followed by the Spider in 2010. As for a car that more than a few dozen Yanks might actually have a crack at it, took until now and the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C.
Let’s say upfront that the 4C is not a car for everyone. But, if you’re the type that enjoys a straightforward, back-to-basics sports car, then your new ride has just arrived.
Making things as light as possible is always a great sports car strategy, and this mid-engine speedster weighs at less than 2,500 pounds. It is one tidy package to say the least.
However, that approach takes its toll on interior space. There’s very little storage, and crawling in is not graceful for anyone on the high side of 6-feet. But, you can forget about the legendary Italian driving position, suitable only for those with long arms and short legs. Fortunately that is history as the driver’s foot well on the 4C is quite roomy expect for some minor intrusion on the left side.
As for the seats themselves, they feel like leather covered racing buckets with some extreme bolstering, and there’s just enough padding in them to drain the fuel tank.
Burning up that fuel is a fun-size 1.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. But, don’t let the small volume fool you. This little turbo cranks up 237-horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque with almost 22 psi of boost.
All 4Cs have a paddle shifted twin-clutch automatic transmission. In typical exotic car fashion, it’s not super smooth when tooling around in full automatic mode. But, drive the 4C like it was meant to be driven and it responds beautifully.
Equally satisfying is on-highway-and-byway handling which is just pure joy, the way only mid-engine cars with close to 50/50 weight distribution should be. But, city dwellers be warned, steering is fully manual with no power assist. Still, if you’re buying a 4C to actually drive it, you won’t mind it at all.
Also like the best exotics, the engine is located right behind your head, with a new kind of direct injection; one that injects performance feel directly into your head. But as cool as it sounds, it can also get a little old after prolonged exposure.
For a comprehensive roadtest of the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3408 that begins airing on October 24, 2014. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About the Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable channel.
We can sum up the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C by saying that it delivers a near exotic car driving experience for a fraction of the price of the real thing. It is a wonderful experience and a car designed with only one thing in mind, driving!