Alfa Romeo 4C: Spotted


Alfa Romeo has been riding on a high recently, the Giulia proving exceptional in both Veloce and Quadrifoglio Verde guises, as well as the Stelvio. But what about the little coupe that kick started the manufacturer's renaissance?

The Alfa 4C launched in 2013, following up the £108,000 limited-run 8C and signalling a potential return to form for one of the world's most beloved brands. Things certainly started promisingly, with a carbon fibre tub weighing just 65kg, aluminium and composite parts, and input from Maserati's engineers. Inside, it may not have boasted Porsche levels of luxury, but certainly wasn't Spartan either. You got air-conditioning, digital displays, traditionally beautiful leather seats and stunning details - leather grab handles and aluminium floor-hinged pedals. A 240hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine made for a 0-60 time of just 4.5 seconds and preorders moved even more quickly, with all 500 launch editions sold out in 10 days. It was excellent; on paper. It was also, unfortunately, something of a let down. Underwhelming at low speeds, with vague steering and an ergonomically-atrocious wheel; amongst so much to like there was plenty to lament.


In today's world of daily-drivable performance cars, then, it seemed a little lacking. But think of it as you would an 80's supercar, one that is compromised and flawed yet lights a fire in your belly all the same, and you can start to find the appeal. Yes, you could have a better all-around vehicle, but you want to stand out, to be a little different, and to that end you're willing to accept certain compromises. Passers-by will stop and stare, their impressions not clouded by the burdens of ownership.

When we drove it on its initial launch and later back in the UK it felt slightly unfinished, and rather nervous on the road. As with any 80's supercar though, initial judgements need to be put on hold as you learn the quirks of the unassisted steering, get to grips with the dartiness of the front end and grow accustomed to the throttle response. When you actually own the thing, it's all about getting stuck in and building up confidence in the car; the stronger the bond the harder you can push. As Chris Harris put it, back in his first drive for us, "you need to calibrate yourself to its behaviour and then you are left with one of the most effortless ways of covering ground I've experienced for a while."

It's rivals are pretty obvious and could be said to be more rounded - the Porsche Cayman, Lotus Exige, BMW Z4 M all spring to mind - but if you are looking at the 4C then those likely won't do much for you. With flair and flaws in equal measure, the 21st century's answer to an 80's Italian is the only way to go.


SPECIFICATION - ALFA ROMEO 4C

Engine: 1,742cc 4-cyl turbo
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch auto (Alfa TCT), rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 240@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 258@2,200rpm
MPG: 41.5
CO2: 157g/km
First registered: 2014
Mileage: 5,000 miles
Price new: £45,000
Price now: £37,000

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Comments (113) Join the discussion on the forum

  • griffdude 10 Jan 2018

    Shame, a missed opportunity by Alfa.

    A Lotus is the sensible choice!

  • alorotom 10 Jan 2018

    I REALLY REALLY want a 4c but struggling with the man maths on it currently as I need 4 seats and this only has the 2 clearly

    My Q7 is leaving me shortly, and for 90% of the time Id be in the 4c as it’s just weekends I need something for family duties really; and the Mrs has a TT which could be shoehorned for family needs really if needed but not ideal

    Would much rather have the 4c than any of the other contemporaries mentioned in the article plus it’s so much prettier as well!

  • dme123 10 Jan 2018

    My first encounter with one of these was about 4 years ago, I was sitting in a nice beer garden on a summer afternoon and I heard what I thought was some dopey chav with a bean can exhaust on his corsa giving it large in the car park. I turned to look, and this dreadful flatulent racket was coming from an Alfa 4C. It seems Alfa thought they could compensate for lack of aural quality with volume, but I think they'd have been better making it as close to silent as possible.

    Superb looking things though, and really stand out on the roads. They were chucking them out on very cheap leases this time last year too.

  • dme123 10 Jan 2018

    alorotom said:
    I REALLY REALLY want a 4c but struggling with the man maths on it currently as I need 4 seats and this only has the 2 clearly

    My Q7 is leaving me shortly, and for 90% of the time Id be in the 4c as it’s just weekends I need something for family duties really; and the Mrs has a TT which could be shoehorned for family needs really if needed but not ideal

    Would much rather have the 4c than any of the other contemporaries mentioned in the article plus it’s so much prettier as well!
    Get the 4C, and buy a £1500 Focus too for the rare times you need the extra space?

  • Ares 10 Jan 2018

    With an engineering refresh imminent, it wouldn't take much to turn this into a cracking little sportscar. Given the dynamic/engineering prowess the Giulia has shown Alfa process, and dropping the Giulia's 280bhp 4-pot in, the potential is top drawer....

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