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“How can this car be so loud?” I think to myself a split-second before its engine hits redline. Just then the dual-clutch automatic grabs the next ratio in its six-gear stack, dropping the decibels slightly though not enough to make things any less deafening.

As velocity increases the exhaust gets drowned out by wind and tire noise, which are all too happy to make their presence felt. The Alfa Romeo 4C is anything but quiet, though there’s good reason it makes such a commotion. This car marks the Italian brand’s return to America after a two-decade absence. If the howling race pipes hadn’t alerted you to its arrival the stunning bodywork certainly will.

The 4C is a machine that’s dedicated to delivering as much driving pleasure to the left front seat as possible. Accordingly it’s low to the ground, broad shouldered and light in weight. It’s sharper than a pack of double-edged razors and nearly as uncomfortable. This Alfa is laser-focused like few cars.

Trade Offs

Naturally with something so fanatical there are bound to be a few compromises and the 4C is loaded with them. For starters it’s extremely difficult to get into and out of; it rides closer to the pavement than a Hot Wheels car and its door sills are as wide as an outrigger canoe. Rearward visibility is essentially nonexistent, the sun visors are about as useful as a dead battery, there’s no glove box, the trunk is tiny, it’s piercingly loud at any speed, there are no armrests, the seats are barely adjustable and its radio has the WORST interface I’ve ever experienced.

That’s a lot of negativity in just a few sentences, but it gets worse. If you want anything even vaguely reminiscent of comfort or convenience you’re going to have to look elsewhere. Fortunately though many of the abovementioned issues start to melt away once you start driving the 4C in anger, the way it was intended to be used.

Persistently Purposeful

And besides, it’s not really fair to evaluate this machine like you would a Toyota Camry; it’s much too specialized, finding itself more at home on a racetrack than a weekday commute. Staying true to its mission statement the 4C is built around an advanced carbon fiber monocoque structure with some aluminum bits thrown in for good measure. This graces it with phenomenal rigidity and a light curb weight. In U.S. trim this car checks out at less than 2,500 pounds.

But advanced materials aren’t the only tricks to cutting unwanted mass. Engineers looked at other areas to reduce the 4C’s curb weight. Of course there’s little if any sound deadening material in the car, its plastic body panels add lightness and allow for gorgeous curves plus the combination hatch/hood is supported with a prop rod instead of gas shocks. This last item makes it challenging to load the trunk if your hands are full, an issue that’s compounded by the fact that the hatch can only be opened via a door jamb-mounted latch. Still, the car is everything you want and nothing you need.

Potent Performance

As you’ve probably guessed this car is seriously quick, with an estimated zero to 60 time in the mid four-second range. Top speed is 160 MPH. It delivers that thoroughbred acceleration with solid engineering rather than overwhelming power.

Its mid-mounted engine displaces just 1.75 liters, a size that harkens back to classic Alfa Romeo powerplants from decades past. This turbocharged four-cylinder delivers the goods, cranking out an impressive 237 hp with 258 lb-ft of twist. Torque is routed to the rear wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic, the only transmission available.

And this is another weight-saving measure, though a controversial one. By not engineering the car to offer both a manual and self-shifting gearbox complexity is reduced along with mass. Additionally most buyers would probably just opt for the automatic anyway (especially in the United States). I understand why Alfa decided to go the auto-only route, though I don’t agree with it; a proper manual would be so much fun.

Full of Surprises

The 4C delivers shockingly impressive straight-line acceleration but it’s equally surprising in another area. In spite of its performance this sports car is quite fuel efficient, stickering at 24 miles per gallon in city driving and 34 on the interstate. Combined it’s supposed to average 28 MPG, a figure I managed to match without even trying.

Another revelation about this car also deals with numbers, it’s a lot more affordable than you might expect. Base price for one of these exotic-looking coupes is right around $55,000, including $1,295 for destination and delivery. That’s a couple grand more than an entry-level Porsche Cayman, its primary rival. For an extra special experience you could opt for one of the 500 available “launch edition” models, though they’re a bit more expensive costing about 70 large.

The bright red “Rosso Alfa” painted example we evaluated stickered for $64,445. Extras included the available leather package ($2,750), black brake calipers ($300), staggered matte-black wheels ($700), bi-xenon headlamps ($1,000) and a racing exhaust system ($500), the last item certainly contributed to the car’s raucous nature.
For more on this review of the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C and to watch the video that goes with it please visit AutoGuide.com.
 

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Strange start to the article.

The 4 C is a new car intended to get pure performance out of a package that is smaller than any of the "super" cars.

If I was the writer I would emphasize that this is what Alfa's outstanding design team produced with the Giuiletta series.

Now the "team" is updating the concept.

In the case of the 4 C, I would put in a brief comment about awkward entrance and a great way of turning gasoline into sounds. But after the introduction.

Picky, picky picky.
 

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I don't have any problems getting in or out. My wife finally learned how.

I have 250 miles on my 4C and have not found a true negative. It's a purist sport coupe.

Alfa Rosso is a dark red. I parked next to a Ferrari today and saw the difference.
 

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Strange start to the article.
Quite a strange article overall. Most of it is about the lack of a manual gearbox, the lack of comfort and convenience, the noise level and something about a horrible radio. Then the writer goes on (and on) about the TCT being an 'auto-box' ("Twin? You mean there are TWO torque converters?") before dedicating a whole paragraph to its fuel efficiency and the options list.

He should have been straight about comparing it to a Camry after all, because that's what he did.

But hey, that's Alfa Romeo reviews the last 20 years for you: every car journo actively looking for things to hastily dislike before churning out another VAG press release.

In other words: nothing to see here. Please move along.
 

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Quite a strange article overall. Most of it is about the lack of a manual gearbox, the lack of comfort and convenience, the noise level and something about a horrible radio. Then the writer goes on (and on) about the TCT being an 'auto-box' ("Twin? You mean there are TWO torque converters?") before dedicating a whole paragraph to its fuel efficiency and the options list.

He should have been straight about comparing it to a Camry after all, because that's what he did.

But hey, that's Alfa Romeo reviews the last 20 years for you: every car journo actively looking for things to hastily dislike before churning out another VAG press release.

In other words: nothing to see here. Please move along.
You are right - there is almost NOTHING out there to compare this car to. Certainly nothing in the N. American market anymore, outside of perhaps a Vette (and even that is only tangentially comparable). So reviewers have to invent comparisons. Often quite outlandish ones. Here's another few that he missed:
It doesn't rock-climb nearly as well as a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara.
And it doesn't have a tow capacity anywhere close to what a RAM 2500 has.
Heck, it won't even carry 1/3 as many people as a 7-seat Dodge Caravan SE CVP, costing 1/3 as much!

Boy, if Fiat Chrysler knows how to build all these "fine" vehicles, how come they came up with the 4C??? :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

But WE know why! :thumbup:
 

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Yes, WE know, but the rest of the world is unfortunately led to believe it's just a poorly executed Cayman. It's human nature to pigeonhole things, so it was probably to be expected.

The strange thing about this and many, many other reviews is that it's basically positive and full of praise, but the net result sounds negative.

Then again, you have the usual suspects in the various comment sections who openly wonders why on earth anyone would choose a 4C over a Corvette. One reason, I believe, is the neverending demonstrations by TV shows that the only true way to drive a powerful car is sideways. Good luck effing up like this in a 4C:

(Skip to about 10 minutes)
 

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Well, I suppose the 4C will break loose and pitch sideways. But, that's not the fastest way around the track nor is it a sign of well balance suspension.

It's not a GT car, so why compare it to a Cayman or a Corvette?

It's a purist sport coupe. It's closest match is a ten year old Lotus. But, if we do compare it to a ten year old car, they will want to know why we're afraid to go up against a modern car. We all know there is no modern car in this class. I would love to find one and do the shoot-out.

Truth be told, the 4C has better power to weight ratio than most cars. If you do a torque to weight ratio, the 4C will best an even larger number of respectable cars.

It's not a practical car. It's not a grocery getter. It's not a car that is isolated or insulated from the road. Heck, the defroster doesn't even work in the rain.

So what good is it? Well, my wife was telling her friend about our 4C, "...and goes to 80 in two seconds...."

The more I drive this car, the more I like it.
 

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While the cayman s and the corvette are similarly priced..the alfa is a more visceral sports car driving experience and that's its charm.

Recent deliveries do state cost of the alfa at 75 grand plus tax and tags...

Seriously that's within a stone throw of the c7 z06 1lz at 79 grand or a loaded corvette z51...

Admittedly both a corvette enthusiast as well as alfisti
It's near impossible not to compare the two as far as which to own..

Same goes for the cayman S ...IMO

I think it comes down to driving experience and whether or not it's a priority over performance. Both valid attributes and deciding which is a priority is the challenge....with no wrong decisions.

The posted video of a jackass in an old modified corvette crashing against a tree is stupid.as that can happen in any car with a proven fool behind the wheel.
 

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The posted video of a jackass in an old modified corvette crashing against a tree is stupid.as that can happen in any car with a proven fool behind the wheel.
It is! I wasn't trying to say anything about Corvettes in particular, just any powerful rwd car. The last 10 years we've been contidioned by TV shows and "powaaaah!" journalists to think that sideways is the only way to drive cars like this. Just watch the whole 12 minutes: he's constantly trying to break traction on the rear, for no (apparent) other reason than having "powaaaah!". Silly.

On a similar note: I watched a advertisement "documentary" about the design and building of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S last night. The journalist was praising Aston Martin's style, gentlemantly appearance, craftsmanship and British heritage, before making donuts with it in a cloud of smoke.

They are all trying to be Jeremy Clarkson, but only Clarkson himself seems to know the whole thing is supposed to be a (tasteless-ish) joke.
 

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Active handling has been an important part of being able to produce high hp daily driver street cars.

Foolish drivers are dangerous just as always....

We just have go pro video and you tube to show it. ;)
 
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