Are modern sports cars too heavy and pandering for your liking? If so, Alfa Romeo's got just the car: the 4C. Lithe and raw, the 4C is pretty much a race car with some licence plate brackets bolted on. But the eschewing of comfort might be too much, even for driving enthusiasts.
Like the old Lotus Elise, the 2017 Alfa 4C treats the driver as an integral cog in the machine rather than a passenger sitting for a ride-along. There's a little bit of leather here and there, but the primary attraction is the carbon-fiber monocoque. The chassis material is not only incredibly strong but also fantastically lightweight, so the 4C weighs only a couple hundred pounds more than a Miata. It's also significantly quicker thanks to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. These aren't monumental power figures for a two-seater hailing from Italy, but it's pretty impressive considering the engine displaces just 1.75 liters. The combination of robust power and low weight makes the 4C feel just as quick as its big brothers from Maserati and Ferrari.
The downside, though, is that the 4C ignores comfort just as readily as the Elise once did. This is definitely a weekend car as the tight cabin is uncomfortable to get into, get out of and stay in for any length of time. Anything you store in the tiny trunk will warm up quickly because it's situated right next to the mid-mounted engine. And you'll need the number of a good chiropractor, considering the ride and barely padded seats will have you aching in places you didn't know you had muscles. But the right kind of person will be able to live with the 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C's many drawbacks and enjoy a car that has no peers in this price range, or perhaps any.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C should only be considered by buyers willing to live with the inherent day-to-day difficulties of driving a seriously hardcore mid-engined sports car. Its no-frills attitude is reflected in its skimpy list of standard and optional features. After all, more stuff makes for a heavier car, and the 4C is all about keeping the weight down. If you should want a few extras, the Convenience package adds a few luxury elements, the Track package includes performance upgrades and the Carbon Fiber Interior Trim package is self-explanatory.
The 4C is powered by a 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque) paired to a quick-shifting, six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sending power to the rear wheels. Standard equipment for the coupe includes a 17-inch (front) and 18-inch (rear) wheels, summer performance tires, LED running lights and taillights, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, power accessories, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 7-inch driver information display, Bluetooth connectivity and an Alpine sound system with a CD player, a USB port and satellite and HD radio. The 4C convertible also has a manually operated soft top, leather seats and an alarm system.
The leather seats are optional on the coupe, and leather seats with faux-suede upholstery are available on both body styles. An optional Convenience package adds rear parking sensors, cruise control and, for the coupe, the alarm system. The Track package includes a more stiffly tuned suspension, available 18-inch (front) and 19-inch (rear) wheels, a flat-bottom steering wheel and additional carbon-fiber exterior trim. Additional carbon-fiber styling elements are included with the Carbon Fiber Interior Trim package. Notable stand-alone options include xenon headlights, a subwoofer, a carbon fiber roof, a sport exhaust and a Akrapovic dual-mode exhaust.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe (1.7L 4-cyl. turbo; 6-speed dual-clutch automatic).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Alfa Romeo 4C has received some revisions, including an upgraded standard sound system and the availability of an Akrapovic dual-mode exhaust system in 2017. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Alfa Romeo 4C.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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