Alfa Romeo, It’s Back!

130305_AR_4C_014C Coupe Launch Edition (2015)

My first mile in the all new 4C was a bit shocking! It is low, tight, rough around the edges and difficult to get in and out of, not to mention, the visibility out the back is mostly theoretical. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to drive this car for a week. As it turns out, I was premature to think that a few days later. Sure, all of the items mentioned continued to be true, but by the end of the seven days, I didn’t want to give the 4C back! This is the perfect toy for a car enthusiast. It’s nimble, fast, direct, connected and very much in your face!

130305_AR_4C_04Its sumptuous lines lure you in, the classic Alfa Romeo “plunging neck line” upside-down triangle front grille pays homage to the long and storied Alfa heritage, while the engine hatch and tail lights drop a not so subtle direct-hint of its corporate cousin from Maranello. There are numerous air intakes and scoops together with flowing character lines through the body. The wheels are simple yet elegant, showing the large brake disks and red calipers throw the five holes. The 4C simply screams sensuousness regardless from what angle you view it.

Alfa left the United States 20 years ago, it has teased us several times with false returns, only to briefly return with the exclusive, limited-production run (90 cars for the US market) Alfa Romeo 8C in 2008. Now Alfa Romeo is truly serious with the introduction of the all new 4C. 130305_AR_4C_02Expected sales of the 4C for 2015 are just over 1,000 cars. But wait! There’s more… Sometime in 2016 Alfa Romeo will introduce a BMW 3 series sedan competitor called the Giulia. Grazie Alfa!

Enough talk about the past and what Alfa is doing, let’s look at this new sports car in depth. The interior of the 4C is simple yet beautifully executed. There is supple leather throughout the dash and door panels, all elegantly stitched in red. Switches are toggle-like and easy to use, although not so with the audio system that frankly, I could not really get used to the confusing buttons. But really, who needs a radio when you have the glorious sound of the hyper 1.7 liter turbo engine.130305_AR_4C_03 All of the controls are in the forward center console, which include the selectors for the gears, mirrors and windows switches. There is also a toggle switch for the three setting modes: All-Weather, Natural and Dynamic. Dynamic offering more detailed information, which include a boost gauge and oil temp.

So, how does it drive? Let’s set the stage: I departed my house at sunrise on a Sunday. Yes, the 4C is not a subtle or quiet car and it made itself be heard during my garage exit, but this is part of the car’s unique persona. Off I went to drive on my favorite road and what an amazing experience it was. One thing that was apparent right away is that the 4C begs to be driven through curves and corners. The steering is non-powered and trust me, this will give your arms a workout at parking lot speeds. 150305_Alfa-Romeo_4C-Spider-Sky-Experience_05The reward, though, comes at speed, offering laser-like feel and lightning quick feedback. As the engine is mere inches from your back, there is a mélange of engine mechanicals and forced air induction sounds that add to the experience. Brakes are superbly competent and very effective. As my friend Jerry said after a drive in it, “this is a go-cart with a roof!”

Would I own one? Yes I would, certainly not as a daily driver, specially having to keep the dexterity and agility of a Cirque de Soleil athlete to get in and out of the 4C without making myself look like a fool.130508_AR_4C_05 This would be the car I would select when I want to clear my head and enjoy a drive for the sheer enjoyment of driving. For me, the 4C is the modern definition of a sports car.

Alfa Romeo 4C. Where have you been all of these years?

The Essentials:

MSRP: $68,400 for Launch Edition
MSRP: $53,900 for the standard model
Fuel Economy (observed): 25 MPG
Acceleration: 0-60 MPH in 4.1 seconds
Engine: 1.7 liter, Inline 4 with turbocharger offering 237 HP & 258 Lb/Ft of torque
Popular options: Convenience group (A must have, as it offers the much needed rear park sensors), Bi-xenon lights, Track Package, Leather Interior Group, red brake calipers.

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