Alfa Romeo 4C 960 (2013-on): review, problems and specs
Alfa Romeo 4C is the modern-day Italian sports car everyone was dreaming of: small, fast, affordable, and with flair. After chasing money with subcompact MiTo and compact Giulietta, Alfa states that it didn’t forgot about the brand’s philosophy, and does it by showcasing a car to fall in love with instantly.
- It is an Alfa, so it's a looker
- Well balanced, with high level of grips
- You have one, so that should be the best for now
- The cabin is spartan
- It's a bit too cheap for what it offers
Stay Away From
- Optional features you don't need
Known Problems & Recalls
- None so far
Can you have loads of fun with a small engine? Yes, yes you can. Thanks to its lightweight construction, Alfa Romeo 4C needs only 1,750 ccs of displacement to get things going. And going fast. The turbocharged four-pot engine delivers 237 hp and 258 lb-ft to its rear axle, thrusting the mid-engine Italian sports car from 0 to 62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 4.5 seconds and to a maximum speed of 160 mph. And let’s not forget about the noise — usually, there’s not much to praise when talking about an inline-four engine.
Things change if the exhaust lacks, let’s say, the muffler. In the case of 4C, that is a true story. Oh, and there’s an optional Race Pack exhaust as well, that gives you more chilling fwaarp sounds, with the tachometer rushing to 6,000 rpm mark.
Alfa 4C comes only with an automatic gearbox – Alfa’s 6-speed dual clutch transmission with paddle shifters. In Dynamic or Race modes, you’ll enjoy the powertrain in its maximum crispiness while the DNA’s All Weather and Natural modes it’s rather calm, not to say dull.
This little Italian sports car sits on a featherweight carbon fiber tub scaled at only 65 kilos. Its all-aluminum 1,750 cc engine also contributes to the pounds-shaking strategy. The final result is a mid-engine car weighing just [[kg:925]] – it had to gain some more when transferred to the States, U.S.-bound models are about 2,650 lbs. You still can call this “a lightweight car”. One that sits, naturally, on all-independent suspension, and acts maturely – sideways fun might not be its thing.
Remember when you and your friends were complaining about the compu-steer era? Well, the 4C resembles the age before that – the time when the steering wheel was a real feedback transmitter, and when you had to fight it to subdue car’s erratic behavior.
Yes, the 4C’s steering is entirely unassisted, a gem of a feature found increasingly less on modern vehicles. It may not be the most convenient one when you’re using the car as a daily, but on track, it’ll give you a smirk satisfying than all. Oh, and you’ll need driving gloves.
The safety package isn’t what you’d call comprehensive, but that’s how usually things go with limited production run models, a group Alfa 4C adheres to – the annual production figure halts at 1,200 units.
The carbon fiber tub is an important safety feature, though – despite its lightweight construction, is impressively resistant. Both the occupants receive a front airbag, and as for the electronic aids, there’s ESC, ABS, ASR, CBC and Hill Holder. The standard pack includes a tire pressure monitor and parking sensors when reversing.
It surely knows how to take corners, and will bounce off bumps when acting aggressively. But it can be impressively soft over uneven B-roads also – given its chassis composure, that is. As long as you don’t forget 4C it is the sportiest 2-seat Alfa money can buy, you’ll be rewarded by its chassis – at least as long as you don’t totally compromise yourself with the Track Package’s sportier suspension, uprated anti-roll bar, and 18”/19” front/rear wheels.
In its standard guise, the stripped-out cabin might be a little gloomy for the majority – with the carbon fiber tub in plain sight, black dash, and black fabric. It successfully renders a competition car interior, but that doesn’t mean will suit every sports car aficionado. The weight reduction strategy implied measures for the cabin too: the finish is minimalistic, with hard plastic on the dash and leather pull handles – a feature Porsche is pleasing its purists, at an extra cost. It might not be the interior you’d want to spend your daily traffic jam, but it goes along perfectly with the car’s nature.
There are some options for changing the mood of the interior – opting for, let’s say, red leather seats, dual-tone red/black interior and red dash stitching – but you’ll have to fund your acquisition budget a little: with about €3,000.
Two adults – regardless their height – will find a suitable amount of room in the cabin. As long as they aren’t carrying more than a mobile phone and a wallet each, there won’t be any space storage complaints. There’s a leather pouch between the seats and that’s about it when it comes to storage areas.
As for the deep-but-not-wide-nor-long boot, you can stuff 110 liters worth of luggage – enough for a weekend away, in the best case. Carrying perishable shopping items with your 4C? Don’t forget the boot sits right near the engine bay.
With such an austere cabin, we guess that'll not come as a big surprise for you: the most important display is right before your eyes. We're talking about the TFT display that delivers info about land and engine speed, oil temperature and such – and that should be your infotainment-related device: the engine sound in the cabin is quite intruding, albeit it sounds fantastic.
Otherwise, you get as standard a tuner/CD/mp3 unit with Bluetooth connectivity. At no extra cost, the purists can remove them. Lightweight, bro!
Having a lightweight sports car with an inline-four engine is satisfactory when considering efficiency, too. The 1.75-liter can use as little as 6.8 l/100 km (34.5 mpg) in combined cycle, with 175 g/km CO2 emissions.
Being a sub-2.0-liter engine can be rewarding when it comes to paying taxes, and the maintenance costs should not bother your wallet too much.
For a purist’s sports car as Alfa 4C is, the standard equipment is, let’s say, sufficient – and can be removed if the little-as-possible-weight is on your priority list. You’ll get two sports seats bolted in a carbon fiber monocoque, with a small leather storage pouch in between and a gargling engine behind. And two airbags along a suite of safety-related acronyms.
For extra bills, you can customize it with your favorite color (as long as it’s one of these: white, red, yellow or gray) and add leather seats, a red-stitched leather-covered steering wheel, carbon fiber instrument cluster cover, duo-tone interior and alarm system.
As for the exterior, bigger rims with perky designs are available (an upgrade from 17”/18” to 18”/19” front/back wheels), brake calipers come in different color options, exhaust system can be upgraded as well (read: louder) and a sportier suspension pack promises to stiffen the chassis even more. If you wish for more style options, take a step back and look again at the care: does it lack style by any means? Alfa thought the same.
Alfa 4C comes with a $50k+ price tag ( the same figure applies for the UK’s £ and Europe’s €), one that’s not necessarily easy to process. But the pack offered is quite tempting: as the most important Alfa in recent decades, the 4C it comprises the entire Italian brand’s philosophy in a car that can be categorized as the old Alfas were. Keepers.