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Saturday, September 26, 2015

3 Reasons to Love and Hate the Perfectly Imperfect Alfa Romeo 4C



If you’re in the market for a mid-range sports car, there are plenty of vehicles to lust after. The Jaguar F-Type, the Porsche Cayman, the Corvette. But arguably none of them are as quirky, or have as much personality as the Alfa Romeo 4C.

We’ve spent plenty of time in the new 4C and 4C Spider, both on the road and on the track. And every time we’ve done so, it’s an experience unlike anything else. Both good and bad. In this case, we’ve found at least three reasons to really love and hate a car like the 4C.

Alfa 4C Review 3

Love: Supercar Styling
Under the hood is a teeny tiny little four-cylinder engine. There’s only 237-horsepower available at your disposal. And with a $55,195 starting price, it’s actually relatively affordable. But the kicker here is the way this car looks.

Its design is unparalleled. The sophisticated and subtle styling makes you feel like you’re driving something much more expensive. In the view of the general public, this has the impression that it a six-figure price tag. That’s an amazing feat for a car such as this.

Hate: Not-So-Supercar Quality

To understand why the Alfa Romeo 4C has a number of quality issues, you have to understand Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) as a whole. FCA has been the butt of every built-quality joke for the past few years, and the 4C is not immune.

The interior is riddled with cheap parts. The knobs, the turn signals, and especially the infotainment system (or lack thereof) all lack any sort of quality touches to them. Not what you’d expect in a sports car such as this.


Love: Plenty of Personality

You have to assume that when you buy a supercar or sports car, it’s going to be more entertaining to drive than your average Toyota Camry. In that sense, the 4C is unique.

It’s not the quickest or even best handling in its class, but tacks on personality with every turn. It growls and rumbles and isn’t afraid to show bigger sports cars how mean it can be.

Hate: Lack of Precision

Though it adds a load of personality, it’s not exactly what you’d call precise. It’s less refined than a Corvette or an F-Type in the way it drives, and takes a different approach to handling with the lack of power steering. For some people, that could just be part of its charm.


Love: Fast Enough

With a little four-cylinder engine, it doesn’t sound like the 4C is much of a performer. But you’d be surprised. It gets to 60 mph in a respectable 4.1 seconds thanks to its light weight, and returns 258 lb-ft torque. Not too shabby.

Hate: Automatic Only

The market is changing, sadly, and the manual transmission is going the way of the dodo. The 4C is just the latest sports car to do away with the manual as a whole. Sad, it would likely be just that much better with a do-it-yourself shifter.

Alfa 4C Review 6

The Verdict

The Alfa Romeo 4C and 4C Spider are two extremely fun cars, no doubt about it. The manual steering and obnoxiously entertaining engine make it a solid choice for a second, or even third vehicle.

For the average sports car buyer, though, living with the 4C everyday won’t make for an enjoyable experience. The Alfa 4C was built for the unique, and in that aspect, its a great choice.