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2015 Alfa Romeo 4C

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/13/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C is a new model that marks the return of the Alfa Romeo brand to the United States and the North American market. A convertible called the 4C Spider will go on sale as a 2016 model in summer 2015 and will feature an Akrapovic dual-mode exhaust with center-mounted tips and carbon fiber surrounds. 4C Spiders are also available in yellow, an exterior color that's exclusive to that model along with a carbon fiber “halo” and removable roof.

Vehicle Summary

The Alfa Romeo 4C is a purpose-built, rear-drive, mid-engine sports car with a lightweight body and chassis featuring a carbon-fiber monocoque. It is powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter I-4 with 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque that’s paired to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Fuel economy is surprisingly good at 24/34 mpg city/highway due to the car being extremely lightweight at less than 2,500 pounds.

Overview

Because of its lightweight construction, the Alfa Romeo 4C handles impeccably and takes corners confidently. Its lack of a power-assisted steering means that it responds willingly to driver inputs and gives plenty of feedback. The turbo-four and dual-clutch transmission, on the other hand, allow the 4C to accelerate with authority and put it on par with many high-performance cars.

Since the 4C is a thoroughbred sports car, it doesn’t have many amenities and uses a fairly basic infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity. Alfa Romeo doesn’t offer navigation, an upgraded sound system, or creature comforts like power and heated seats. The hard seats aren’t adjustable and aren’t that comfortable. It also lacks a glove box and only has a small pouch between the two seats for storage. The trunk is tiny.

To commemorate Alfa Romeo’s return to the North American market, the 4C will be available with the Launch Edition model, which is limited to 500 units. Launch Edition 4Cs are available in three colors: Rosso Alfa, Rosso Competizione, and Madreperla White. They also come with more standard features including bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, front fascia with side air intakes, carbon fiber rear spoiler and mirror caps, race-tuned suspension with front- and rear-sway bars and shock absorbers, racing exhaust, staggered 18-inch front- and 19-inch rear forged wheels in black, red brake calipers, sport seats with black microfiber, leather-wrapped instrument and door panels, red or white interior accents, a “Launch Edition” plaque, and carbon fiber interior trim.

What We Think

The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C is an excellent sports car that provides exhilarating performance and track-ready capability. In a First Test review of the 4C Launch Edition, we called it “a stunning rebirth of the Italian sports car” and praised the driving experience it provides thanks to its lightweight chassis, turbo-four, and lack of power steering and mufflers. However, its emphasis on raw performance means that the car lacks refinement and rides stiffly on “anything other than glass-smooth pavement.” Additionally, the 4C doesn’t have the same level of amenities as other sports cars starting in the $55,000 range. Its head unit, for example, is disappointing and its audio system is “hands-down the worst audio system ever put in a production car.” Build quality is another issue because it isn’t at the same level as competitors such as the Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche Cayman.

You’ll Like

  • Impeccable handling
  • Sweet-sounding engine note
  • Track-ready

You Won’t Like

  • Punishing ride on all but the smoothest surfaces
  • Cheaply built interior and horrible infotainment system
  • Extremely impractical

Key Competitors

  • Porsche Cayman
  • Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
  • Audi TTS
  • Nissan 370Z
  • Chevrolet Corvette

Rating

3 star

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