It’s got the speed and razor-sharp reflexes of a racecar with just enough leather and luxuries to live with. It talks loudly and carries a big heart, blogs Dan Scanlan.
Revealed in 2011 as a Concept, then as a production coupe in 2013, this baby Supercar hit American shores a year ago in a very limited (500) launch edition, followed with the 4C Spider.Think Italian supercar that shrunk in the wash!
The 4C Spider has brio – liveliness, verve, vivacity or just plain spirit. It also has a pure simplicity accompanied by a visceral rawness. Mounted midway in the carbon fiber chassis is an all-aluminum 1.7-liter dual intercooled, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, below, paired to an Alfa TCT (twin-clutch transmission) and DNA selector with four drive modes. Our 2,337-pound car had the optional racing exhaust, which keeps catalytic converter, removes the muffler and ends in dual exhaust tips. It barks on start-up and snarls, even at low revs. I set off a new Mustang car alarm when I started up next to it! The Alfa sounds best on twisting roads with up-and downshifts sweetened by the exhaust snarl and crackle and turbo whistle.
The 4C rides on a front double wishbone suspension, with a rear MacPherson set-up. For North America, stiffer springs, larger front and rear sway bars and re-tuned shock absorbers. The result is a very firm feel that gets a bit jittery on bad pavement. Rebound is short and very quick, almost harsh at the limit. This really isn’t a relaxed commuter. It’s very precise steering rack requires attention on bumpy pavement. The 4C Spider follows every groove on a highway as well as asphalt patch edges. But there’s great feedback on a smooth road. The entire structure was stiff and creak-free.
With a 41/59 weight balance, engine in the middle, low center of gravity and Pirelli P-Zeros with 3,000 miles on them all-round, our 4C Spider grabbed each corner, played with it and eagerly headed to the next. The car corners flat, front tires talking when we pushed hard in the skid pad, but never going wide. Add gas as you exit a turn and it just pulls its way out, the tail kicking out just a tad, then a quick flick of the wheel and a minute gas adjustment naturally tucks it into line. The car loved to be thrown around and asked for more.
Alfa Romeos old and new have been identified by one design – the “Trilobo” grill. The 4C Spider has the most modern interpretation – a black mesh-filled triangle with hood lines that flow off the triangle’s edges and wide-mouthed intakes to cool the radiator. Those rising flared rear fenders join the flowing buttresses off the targa bar to give this mid-engine exotic a serious dose of Italian supercar.
The 4C gets a racecar-like hand-laid carbon fiber monocoque chassis that weighs 236 pounds with aluminum suspension and engine supports fore and aft. You step over wide glossy carbon fiber door sills, duck and drop down into composite-framed, thinly-padded high-back red leather buckets that are supportive and comfortable enough. More carbon fiber flows up the center console, rear bulkhead and door sills.
The Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe starts at $53,900, while the Launch Edition starts at $68,400. Our white 4C Spider started at $63,900 with a $1,300 convenience group; $2,500 dark gray 18-inch front/19-inch rear alloy wheels, $1,000 Xenon headlights, $500 racing exhaust, $300 carbon fiber instrument bezel and $300 red brake calipers, for a total $71,895. Alfa's 4C Spider is a go-kart for adults with the speed and razor-sharp reflexes of a racer, plus leather and luxury. It's one helluva ride!