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.
- Handling is nothing less than razor-sharp
- Featherweight chassis enables impressively quick acceleration
- Fuel economy estimates are good and achievable in the real world
- The sparse availability and premium price guarantee exclusivity
- Ride is bone-crushingly harsh, notably with the Track package
- Few interior creature comforts and almost no cargo and storage space
- Rearward visibility is poor, and no rearview camera is available
- Steering is high-effort at low speeds