Alfa Bravo Alfa Romeo 4C Review (Part 2)

9/14/2014 10:33:14 AM
Driving it

If you’ve spent time in a modern Lotus, then the stoop down into the cockpit of the Alfa isn’t anything new. Some more generously proportioned colleagues found it a little squeeze, but once you’re in, finding a comfy seating position is simple. The seat is all manually adjustable - again to save weight - and there’s enough length in the runners for taller driver to push the seat right to the rear bulkhead. The offset pedals and D-shaped steering wheel take precisely five seconds to adjust to, and the extra reach of the telescopic steering wheel is a great.

Alfa Romeo 4C interior

Alfa Romeo 4C interior

With a compressed amount of time in the car and an enormous flat section of tarmac with nothing to hit but cones, there’s little option but to dial up race mode to see just how loose the it can be driven, and just where its limits lie. You get there by holding the DNA switch against the stops in D mode until the dash flashes up with the words Race. It has launch control too, but that doesn’t help you lay a pair of parallel lines at the start of the course.

What becomes immediately apparent is the noise of the unmuffled engine. It’s glorious, and unlike anything you may have heard before. There’s the engine snarl of course, but that’s accompanied with the huffing and whistles of the turbo. Full throttle changes bark as you grab another gear, and the experience in an entirely raw and visceral one.

Alfa Romeo 4C front view

Alfa Romeo 4C front view

The second thing that hits you is the lack of power assist, both in the steering - which is weighted perfectly - and in the brakes. While there is clearly a nice balance between brake master cylinder and servo, the brake pedal is firm but responsive. You can really stand on them and feel as though you’re really putting in the effort to slow the car yourself. The pedal is floor hinged too, and had this car had a third pedal, may have rivalled the 911 for outright driver engagement.

But there’s a disconnect between the driver and the powertrain. Where you feel hardwired into the steering and brakes, the engine and transmission feel distant. The engine makes great power and torque on boost, but the fly-by-wire throttle and dual clutch transmission dull the experience somewhat. It lacks the ultimate connectivity of the Series 2 Lotus Elise and Exige - the only other cars with the sort of hard core attributes that make the Alfa 4C such a fun play toy. You need to drive the car hard through corners to keep it on boost because, if you don’t, it’ll arrive just as you exit a bend and give you a lot to think about.

Alfa Romeo 4C wheel detail

Alfa Romeo 4C wheel detail

It’s a fantastic car to drive 97 percent of the time. It looks tremendous, is one of the best handling and performing cars on the market today. We can’t wait to try it on the road over an extended period - or one that lasts more than just over a minute at a time. And, of you’re going to do any serious driving, the Track package is an absolute must. The standard car simply doesn’t like being on the track without it.

The Alfa 4C is unapologetically raw. If you’ve laid down a deposit for one, you won’t be disappointed. It performs as well as it looks, and delivers an unfiltered driving experience that should be savoured.


·         Vehicle type: Mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door coupe

·         Base price: $55,000

·         Engine type: Turbocharged and intercooled dohc 16-valve inline-4, aluminium block and head, direct fuel injection

·         Displacement: 1742 cc

·         Power: 237 hp @ 6000 rpm

·         Torque: 350 nm @ 2200 rpm

·         Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode


·         Wheelbase: 2280 mm

·         Length: 4000 mm

·         Width: 1868 mm

·         Height: 1183 mm

·         Curb weight: 1118 kg


·         Zero to 100km/h: 4.7 sec

·         Standing 1/4-mile: 12.8 sec

·         Top speed: 257 km/h

·         Fuel economy

·         Combined cycle: 8.4 l/100km


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