Alfa Romeo 4C: Review – PistonHeads

22 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Alfa Romeo 4C: Review – PistonHeads


Romeo 4C driven as PistonHeads to the front of the queue and Harris his verdict

There was much and pomp at Fiat’s Balocco ground the other night far more than a sports car to find just 3,500 per year should warrant. But the new 4C is more than a new hotshoe. It is a for the rebirth of Alfa Romeo, and with it an expectation that the can finally assert itself in a world.

It’s hard not to yourself rooting for them I think all of us agree that a Alfa is a good thing for the car – and I suppose I have to a word of caution now before the new 4C. I want us to avoid what probably be called the TVR factor, ourselves to wish success on a so much that we care to forgive what, in hindsight, judges as unforgivable shortcomings.

The 4C has to be a car.

Alfa says a supercar – what say we?

Or it? The 500 launch edition versions at Ј53,000 sold in 10 days and ended up with over requests. The total yearly looks pessimistic and is of course by the labour-intensive carbon tub. You not need to be cynical to suggest the 4C could sell on badge, and perhaps the simple fact it is not a Porsche.

I get the feeling that an aching, burgeoning need enthusiasts to own an Italian car at this point, the 4C might not satisfy all of but it is a timely safety valve.

Jump right in

There are two ways to appraise the 4C: the first is to its engineering and the specification Alfa has for it. The other is simply to judge it as an to behold, own and, most for us, to drive. I think a hybrid is probably best: drive it and see if the brave engineering has done its

The 4C is a small car. Much than a Cayman, but actually wide. I will not comment on the but will add that a day spent it has made me much, much of a fan.

The headlights? Don’t go just yet.

Yep, it can do even with just cylinders

Uniquely in this it sits on a carbon tub which just 65kg, was designed with the help of Dallara, but is now and assembled by Alfa itself. Maserati. The 4C is actually assembled with the triple-pronged lot.

It sense – they more about building cars.

Strutting its stuff

To the of the tub are attached double wishbones and at the a subframe houses a turbocharged four-cylinder motor. Packaging precluded double wishbones at the so there’s a strut-type suspension I find this slightly odd in a no machine, but Alfa insists it has the layout work.

The engine is heavily modified the one found in the Guilietta, with a running in eight bearings. The is 240hp at 6,000rpm and 258lb ft at

Reduced mass was the 4C’s from the start and with a dry of 895kg (925kg wet) far daintier than a Cayman. nothing has escaped the liposuction the dash is a single, bare of plastic, the passenger seat is and has no runners, there is no gas strut for the boot. This is Alfa the Colin Chapman book of and regurgitating it in Latin form it makes compelling viewing.

The carbon tub peeks through the carpeting. The carbon-composite seats just 12kg and the creature are minimal, but it’s not too sparse.

like a supercar but does it go one?

Best of all, it with a key. No button-BS just twist and go. The starter has an appallingly blue-collar drone to it and my sank as I heard its minicab but then – Ka-BOOM! the motor catches with a outrageous volley of noise.

If ever stood near a four-cylinder turbocharged racing car as it in the paddock, you’ll understand how the 4C is. Alfa clearly wasn’t to allow this outwardly engine room to run quietly. the throttle and it fizzes away

The twin-clutch gearbox is Fiat’s own and you select a forward gear by pulling a paddle or pressing a down by your knee. You do the for neutral and reverse. The rather DNA switch is down there

The cabin is intimate: I’m too to judge whether it’s to get in and out of, but your bottom is very low and the comes back to meet It also adjusts up and down. The has very thin padding and appear to offer much support.

When you look your passenger seems too When you look in the rear mirror, you can just about see the of the car behind. A Cayman is like a after this.

Rolling is easy, but you immediately get the sense the right pedal will some learning. Being so turbocharged and light on its Pirellis the lag is – at low speed I found simply selecting as high a as possible because it made for progress, and the thing has such it’ll haul from in sixth with meaningful

The great news is that the 4C need to be hooned on a circuit to itself, it comes properly on the public road, and not just at speeds. The steering initially disconcertingly light just and this can allow the car to wander the crown of the road slightly, but you learn to just relax and with it. Once into a it weights up significantly, and the chassis feels right.

At normal there’s no understeer, you just and it flicks into corners the agility you’d expect of so light – it definitely closer to an Elise than a in the way it changes direction and links of flowing turns. The roads I were quite broken in and the damping remained very The car is certainly not over-sprung, and it does in bends, which gives appreciated feedback to the driver.

Contact point

There is one problem though – it trivial . but it is in fact quite the 4C has a truly dreadful steering It is too thick, oddly shaped and allow the driver to complete his or her with the car. I cannot the thinking behind providing the un-assisted steering system and destroying its delicacy right at the of human connection. It’s a shame. With a Lotus wheel the 2.5 turns of lock feel far more appealing.

so, the 4C still demolishes the Cayman for weight and feel, but think it might have been!

levels sit mid-way between an and a Cayman . Road noise too bad, the motor is pretty but settles to an acceptable grumble cruising at 85mph. Wind is well contained and I could drive the car for several hours if I fitted the seat properly. Now loath to go in too hard on the seat, it might just be me, but it gave me a sore lower back and I didn’t get the lateral support I or needed.

Let’s see if anyone else has the problem before suggesting isn’t anomalous.

Has anyone the headlights yet?

Alfa Romeo

The cabin is This car had the optional air conditioning and a which looks pretty and I didn’t bother trying. The readout is sci-fi TXT screen perfectly fits the character and of the car.

As a driver I found it informative and very funky.

On the the 4C’s personality is more than I’d expected. light, mid-engined and short of I expected something very and throttle sensitive – and so it is. a lovely, darting initial in, and some safety understeer if you try to too much speed, but you can trim the very accurately with the and brake impossibly late.

On the P-Zeros grip is very

The motor doesn’t shine this though. You don’t appreciate the whump of torque in and third gears and then it a bit slow to creep from to 6,500rpm, but that’s just the way turbo fours. Except, it seem, the A45 AMG . The gearshift is still though, with no perceptible between pulling a paddle and cogs change.

The unexpected comes when you fling the 4C because it should be a right and yet it isn’t. You can back it into on a trailing throttle and use that to maintain some pretty slides. There’s no mechanical diff, only the Q2 braking that Alfa’s used for a

Again, Mr Pierallini says looking at doing one, but for me the car really need it. I loved the 4C on track, I suppose I just it having an engine that to rev a little harder.

And so to the question is now asking: would you have one a Cayman? I’m not sure the is actually valid having the 4C. The Cayman is a much more car, it does things the cannot, indeed it does most other sports cannot, but the 4C is bubbling with an the Porsche can only dream of

The 4C is dynamically exciting, fast and It’s a fine interpretation of how might re-enter the sports car with a bang, and without competing with Porsche.

And I that statement kind of my suspicions that the 4C would been better had it not used an carbon tub and instead used the on an exotic motor with cylinders. That car would have been a Cayman the 4C is something more direct, new.

It isn’t for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. And I still handle the headlights, even in the carbon trim (which saves 1.5kg).


Engine: 1,750cc 4-cyl

Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch (Alfa TCT), rear-wheel

Power (hp): 240@6,000rpm

(lb ft): 258@2,200rpm

0-62mph: 4.5 sec x.x sec)

Top speed: 161mph

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