2015 Alfa Romeo 4C – A Budget Supercar
After many years of absence from the rear wheel drive sports cars scene, 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C is finally back with something worthy of their racing heritage. It took them a while to do it, but it’s finally here, and more importantly, it’s an awesome little exotic making all the right noises. With the optional racing exhaust, it literally does. With an ultra-light carbon fiber body, a turbocharged engine placed in the middle, rear wheel drive and its stunning looks, the 4C should easily find its way to any enthusiast’s garage.
Like a true Italian exotic, it’s completely and helplessly impractical. There is no power steering, the seats seem to be designed for 8 years old girls, the whole cabin feels tight, rear visibility is on par with that of a row boat, there’s almost no luggage space and the car is so low that only a professional acrobat would find getting in and out anything less than tricky. And yet, hop behind the wheel (or more likely, elegantly slither your way there) and its drawbacks don’t seem to matter all that much.
The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C combines the old school, back-to-basics philosophy with the hi-tech gizmos of our time with excellent results. Just like in a Ferrari or a McLaren, acres of exposed carbon fiber advertise the ultra-light and ultra-rigid chassis of the car, while the racy aluminium pedals and paddle shifters complete the scale-super-car feeling.
Speaking of ultra-light, this car only weights 925 kg (similar to a Lotus Elise) and suddenly, the little 4 cylinder turbocharged 1.7 liter engine starts to make more sense. Developing 237 bhp at 6000 RPM with 258 lb-ft of torque available from 2000 RPM to 4000 RPM, this engine gives the little Alfa a very healthy power to weight ratio of 295 BHP per tonne. Nothing to be sniffed at, by anyone’s standards. 0 to 60 comes in just 4.1 seconds, and the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C will keep on going all the way up to a top speed of 155 MPH. And because of its light weight and the small engine, it is also able to average a very super-car-unlike 41 MPG if driven sensibly. Power is transmitted at the rear wheels via a dual-clutch 6 speed automatic gearbox, which is Alfa’s only given option. This works very well for spirited driving but feels a bit awkward for town driving. The stiff ride and heavier steering wheel don’t help much, either, so definitely not the best choice if you need a commuter – the sound system feels like it’s there just to tick a box on the features list, the seats don’t recline much over the “racing” position, you get a leather pouch instead of a glove box and the whole interior feels not only a bit cramped, but also kind of cheap.
Take it to the track though – the place where this car shines and everything comes into place. You appreciate the stiff ride, the lightness of the chassis, the big Brembo brakes and that pure, mechanical steering.
The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C feels just as you would expect it to: light, nimble, quick to react and pinpoint accurate. Just don’t expect too much of a relaxed ride; this little Italian thoroughbred is a bit of a handful. It requires a fair amount of work to drive it near the limit, but it’s so lovingly rewarding when you get it right.
Considering 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C base price of $55,000 (with all options ticked, $70,000!), we would have loved it to be perfect, but then again, it wouldn’t be Italian if it was. It would probably be owned by zee Germans and have a raging bull on the front grill. We like the little imperfections in the interior and the enthusiasm the car shows for the road, the dedication it requires to drive it hard, and mostly, the size of the grin this car puts on your face when you get things right. It all adds to the car’s character and Italian pedigree.
As with most Alfa’s, this is a car that you buy with your heart rather than for logical reasons, so opinions might get divided regarding it, but we think this is a cracking little exotic which will age up into a very cool classic at some point. Welcome back, 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C!