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Thanks for sharing that. Written with automotive wisdom, humor and authority. I'm relieved that Alfa has taken their first big step into our (U.S.) market - without doing a face-plant - and appear to have attracted exactly the right kind of attention.

My first sighting was the other day, parked at a Canepa (Scotts Valley, near Santa Cruz) coffe-and-cars event. Absolutely more attractive in-person. And the sound, at startup and drive-off - spectacular.

I am thrilled that Alfa (so far) has proven me wrong, and not tripped themselves up out of the gate. Now to build the brand. They've got some work ahead of them.

Enjoy yours!
 

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the alfa 4c has its unique at this price point carbon fibre chassis, better than every other chassis on a sports car ...period.

However it shames every other sports car on the market...hmmm maybe some but in my opinion really not all, and not the Porsche Cayman GT4, made by Porsches motorsport team...which only lacks that carbon fibre chassis and has fully adjustable suspension settings and manual gearbox only at similar low levels of production and at not much more money than the 4c...bring on the 6c "quadrifoglio" (inferring a ferrari designed sports version since Alfa/Fiat was combined until now) Alfa and lets see if it can improve things
 

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It "shames" other sports cars, IMHO, in that is shows most off as the bloated fast-GT's or collectors cars they have become.
I'd include in that, most offerings from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, BMW, as well as the sportier models from Mercedes, Audi, Nissan, and Lexus, as well as the Corvette.
Perhaps using the adjectives "every" & "other" are a bit much, but there aren't many vehicles out there deserving of the title.
Lotus, and a few other specialty makes, yes. But many of those are too impractical, or just too expensive to be considered by the 99%.

Guess it depends on what your own personal definition of "sports car" is.

But, my advice is that if you are happy with any other sports car, then don't ever drive the 4C. :D

And I still say: don't knock the 4C gearbox until you've tried it. All the functionality of a 3-pedal manual, with the much faster reaction times of a dual clutch system, and an automatic mode for when you are stuck in traffic or don't want to be bothered. OK, the latter isn't an argument for "sports car of the year" honours, but the other two points are winners in my book.
 

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I like the gearbox. Just like you said, if one doesn't like it they don't have to drive it. And the feel of the manual steering is just so cool.
 

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Perhaps we need to define what is and what is not a proper sports car.

Small, light, no unnecessary frills, handles well. Generally small, low powered engines. Two seats, not four. With or without a top.

Cars that are a sports car: Miata; MR2; 240Z; 356; Triumph; Sunbeam; Daimler Dart; Early 911; Fiat; Alfa Romeo; BMW 2002 (seats 4 but meets all other requirements). We could increase this list ad infinitum.

Super cars and muscle cars are not sports cars. Touring cars are not sports cars. Most of what we think of as a modern sports car are not. They are performance minded luxury cars, mostly GT cars.

I went and looked at a new Cayman. I'd have to strip the car down and throw out half the car to get it close to a sports car. Then I'd have to lower the power by half. Guess what it would be then? Not much of anything.

The Alfa Romeo 4C is a proper sports car. A bit overpowered by my own definition, but still a sports car. And NO, I would never consider reducing the torque.
 

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racer z ...i am sure everyone has their opinion of what a sports car should be...and your view is as valid as anyone else's. However I feel we should differentiate between old generation sports cars as some of the ones you listed and current generation cars on sale now which due to regulations have had to adhere to safety and emissions rules.

Also regarding a new cayman take a look at the gt4 which is already stripped out (lighter) and adjustable in front and rear suspension; however the boxster/cayman come out as adjustable drivers tools without heavy criticism by historic tests/comparisons and Alfa should have matched or superceded those driving characteristics in my opinion to be best in class.

Personally, having sampled a number of modern and classic sports cars I would say that a sports car in my book should allow you as a driver to use all its controls and inputs in a way that produces an output that allows you the driver to alter attitude and feel according to your own will. Personally also I wish to have some space to carry things with me ...the old duetto allowed space behind the front seats and in the boot.

In my opinion the dissapointment with the 4c is that it is in size and price very much like the lotus exige, except dynamically it cannot match that car. The steering although unassisted is still not nearly as good as the lotus in back to back testing and the 4c turbo engine more laggy at low revs...and a manual is much more intimate than an automated gearbox no matter how good it is...always in my personal view only.
The 4c in my opinion does have presence aesthetically and and superb chassis but the other components should in my opinion be of the same level and money and time should have been devoted to make the car so without comparisons with other cars pointing out its shortcomings...hopefully the 4c quadrifgolio...
 

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alfettapb

I keep overlooking government regulations which all but destroyed the sports car. One department forces safety equipment which adds weight while another department restricts tailpipe emissions which, until recent years robbed us of power. Both together really put a crunch on the small, light and low powered (dare I say under powered?) cars. Most of those types of cars stopped. Stopped being imported to our country. The US has never really produced a sports car.

The 240Z quickly became a 280Z and soon after a luxo-boat 280ZX. The luxo part was Nissan's doing, probably because that generated more sales.

We are forever trying to figure out how to pack things in our 4C for a day trip or even a week long trip. Our folding cars won't fit in the car, so we end up sitting on the grass (on a blanket) when we show the car. I finally found some back-packing chairs that are a good compromise between comfort and 4C style portability. My wife quickly snubbed her nose saying it's not comfortable enough. "But the one you like won't fit in the Alfa." Fortunately, she likes the new Alfa enough to keep looking for a portable chair.

Her 2013 Fiat 500 is an under-powered econo-box and not much fun in the canyons. My 2013 Fiat Abarth is plenty fun, and has the storage space, but ... it just doesn't compare to the 4C. I've got to admit, my Abarth is a better daily driver than the 4C in all respects. But, guess which one I drive everyday? The 4C. When I need to transport something that won't fit in the Alfa, I use my truck. Anybody want to buy a low mileage Abarth?
 

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racer z ...i am sure everyone has their opinion of what a sports car should be...and your view is as valid as anyone else's. However I feel we should differentiate between old generation sports cars as some of the ones you listed and current generation cars on sale now which due to regulations have had to adhere to safety and emissions rules.

Also regarding a new cayman take a look at the gt4 which is already stripped out (lighter) and adjustable in front and rear suspension; however the boxster/cayman come out as adjustable drivers tools without heavy criticism by historic tests/comparisons and Alfa should have matched or superceded those driving characteristics in my opinion to be best in class.



Personally, having sampled a number of modern and classic sports cars I would say that a sports car in my book should allow you as a driver to use all its controls and inputs in a way that produces an output that allows you the driver to alter attitude and feel according to your own will. Personally also I wish to have some space to carry things with me ...the old duetto allowed space behind the front seats and in the boot.

In my opinion the dissapointment with the 4c is that it is in size and price very much like the lotus exige, except dynamically it cannot match that car. The steering although unassisted is still not nearly as good as the lotus in back to back testing and the 4c turbo engine more laggy at low revs...and a manual is much more intimate than an automated gearbox no matter how good it is...always in my personal view only.
The 4c in my opinion does have presence aesthetically and and superb chassis but the other components should in my opinion be of the same level and money and time should have been devoted to make the car so without comparisons with other cars pointing out its shortcomings...hopefully the 4c quadrifgolio...
I agree that there isn't a universally acceptable definition of a "sports car". What sport? Auto Cross? Drag racing? Poker run? Track-day car (and if so, what style of track)? Full-fledged racing car? Other than the last, they are all a compromise if they have to double-duty as a daily driver / grocery getter. IOW, no car can be perfect at everything.

While it is folly to suggest that Porsche doesn't make a "sports car", their definition with the GT-4 is a lot different than Alfa's with the 4C. And where I live, the price tag reflects this. Even the Stingray, which over here can be had for 4C money, will outperform the little Alfa on the straight. That isn't always what being sporty is all about (I think you would agree). Besides the stupendously good looks, its the engineering that gets the little 4-pot to even come close to tangling with cars having considerably larger displacement, that appeals. But all of the above force some form of compromise from their owners.
I can tell you that I just returned from a Cars & Coffee event where both other marques were well represented. Care to guess which car got the most attention, the greatest number of photo's, and more approving comments than all of the others combined??? >:)

Forgive me if the answer is posted elsewhere, but have you driven a 4C?
At all?
In anger?
If you are basing the comments solely on reviews, take those and shred them to use to bed your hamster. This car does not disappoint AT ALL.

And finally, if you don't have one and ar waiting for the QV / Veloce version, then I'm afraid you will be disappointed. I sincerely doubt that one will be coming (though I would be glad to be proven wrong). However, there are already some available after-market options to bolster the performance of the present setup. Stay tuned later this month, for an announcement of a Sachsenring record by a (modified) 4C. You might guess that this track has seen its share of Porsches and other makes.
 

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racer z...I am glad you are enjoying your 4c and may you continue to do so ....and that you find that portable chair that will fit. The car is definitely unique in an indefinable way...alfa way ...and certainly does not follow the norm...refreshing....some of my expressed dissapointed feelings about its dynamics were due to a perfectionist desire I suppose to leave the Alfa 4c beyond criticism dynamically or for practicablity compared to anything else. I do admire Alfa Romeo for having the guts to actually build a carbon fibre structured car at that price point and hope more alfas use such a chassis. I do concur with your comments about the safety and emissions regulations inhibiting sports car production in recent years. However as a European I would mention that the Corvette has long been considered USA's only sports car...personally the 1957 corvette road/racer had diminutive proportions and simple mechanics and was the best...more modern generations became more muscle cars.

4Canada...thank you for sharing your views about my comments also...it seems we have often locked horns in debate in the past and this is healthy I think...even if we continue to differ in view. Yes I agree that a sports car involves a degree of compromise no matter how it is defined, except for driving pleasure which is what a sport car, I think, is all about.
Yes there are many muscle/sports cars like the current generation Stingray that will leave the 4C in a straight line and agreed that is not what a sports car is. However for me it is a different matter with the boxster/cayman at all which has been best in class at its price point for some years from what I read...specifically the gt4 which is not much more expensive than the launch 4c where I am (if you could buy it because it is sold out at present) and which gets its front suspension from a gt3 with many years of race experience behind it and which like the rear is fully adjustable; a manual box is also noteworthy as commented by all testers! Sharpness of response goes to another lever compared to standard Cayman cars...I am sure you can read its spec in detail elsewhere but the result in tests is commented on youtube in long tests (harris had one for 4 days) ...anyhow I like the Alfa 4c's looks and proportions more and it is much rarer than the porsche and since it has only recently been delivered in any kind of quantity to the USA it is no surprise that it got the most attention at the event you mentioned. Indeed as the first new Alfa Romeo to come to the USA is so many years and the first new Alfa sports car that goes twice for the level of interest.

Regarding testing an Alfa 4c extensively I did not ....since the only way one could extensively test one was through purchase...there are and have been no demonstrators available as much as I tried to loan one for some days! I have seen its practicality which is not good and sat inside it but you know I respect certain road test journalists which I have followed for many years, especially Evo magazine and I believe their current favourite is the Ferrari 458 speciale which has everything fully integrated and better than anything else at the pricepoint; where is the FCA equivalent at boxster/cayman money? They test day in day out different performance cars on road and track for days ...usually on european mountain roads for road testing. The 4c is something they wished to be great...dynamically it just wasn't in their 2013 group test of best sports cars of the year consisting of back to back testing again over several days by I believe 8 or 9 test journalists to give a fair view...all of which voted slightly differently I believe; this with a launch edition (with extra carbon fibre additions) which was lighter than the US version. However many english road reviews were similar in comment from what I read and taken as a whole I wrote what I considered the way the car handled dynamically.

Alfa romeo I guess are not making much money on every 4c sold (if at all), and so they will not release a quadrifoglio until I guess 2017 when most 4C's have been supplied to customers that are already having to wait a long time for delivery. I hope an evolved 4C does come out int he shape of a quadrifoglio as has been the case with the Ferrari cars making a lighter more focused version at the end of a product run. Sure there are tuners that get more power from the 4c and give it a fast track time, but to be honest I am not interested in whatever circuit time and moreso in the "feel" on a winding mountain road with top down and shades on...with beautiful scenery in front of me and beautiful girl beside me in tune with the car and the road.
 

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We can agree to disagree. I only have one horn left, anyway.
It's a car forum on the internet - first world problems.
Sadly, nothing we say will cure cancer, solve world hunger, or prevent global whateveryoucallit.
We can quote duelling magazine reviews or debunk them 'till the cows come home, but I don't think that is going to change either of our minds.
But I do like the image in your last your last sentence. Hope you get the chance to experience that in the 4C at some time. And I think you'll like it if you do!
 

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... [I am interested] in the "feel" on a winding mountain road with top down and shades on...with beautiful scenery in front of me and beautiful girl beside me in tune with the car and the road.
Which is part of what defines a sport car.

The definition of the word sport is smaller than normal.

All horses are large except for this one, he's a sport.
All cars are big here in the USA, except for the sport cars imported from Europe.

By the way 4Canada, how long have you had your 4C now? And how are you liking it?

I wasn't able to drive one until I bought mine. Then I found the reporters views to be far off the mark. A 356, Dino & Elise would be a good comparison. Toss in an early early 911. There just isn't much the 4C compares to. I'm not knocking any car, not the Boxter or Cayman or anything. There just isn't another car that is a fair comparison to the 4C.

They won't make many 4C's. I bet they're loosing money on each sale. One reason for the low numbers each year is the safety equipment. By keeping the production numbers low, they don't have to do extensive and destructive safety testing. They're also not obligated to include all the safety equipment found in the large quantity production cars such as the 911. This equipment makes the car heavier and more expensive. The testing makes the car more expensive.

Also, I don't expect there to be a 2018 production run. LE for 2015; SE for 2016; Spider for 2017; done. I would love a Cloverleaf version of this car, but I doubt they will do it.

Most of these cars are in the hands of collectors, guys that don't drive and don't sell. Get yours now cause you may never get another chance.
 

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Yup, that's why I jumped at the LE when the opportunity arose - 1 week ago today.
Now if the rain would only hold up, I could start to feel what this thing can really do!
Racer Z, I know that it doesn't rain where you live - shall we work on a definition of that word next? :p

But I think that I am understanding alfettapb's objection to the steering a little better now - hard to hold hands or put your arm around the woman in the passenger's seat while driving a winding road with the 4C's rack.
Without that distraction, however, the car really seems to be a model for "point and squirt" driving. When I get back into my other "sporty" (admittedly not "sports") car, I have to shake my head and wonder if the steering is even connected at all!
 

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I grew up in Los Angeles and currently live there, but I haven't always lived here. When I moved to Boston, I learned what RAIN really is. It falls from buckets, very large buckets, buckets that never stop, for weeks on end. Here, we get a light misting and up go the umbrellas. The news goes into "special report" and people crash their cars in excitement. Back in Boston it was just another hum-drum day.

It took me a while until I was comfortable with the 4C and started one-handing it. It's not like the other cars I've ever driven, and I've driven a lot of different cars (more than I've owned). After I crashed mine, the alignment is now wrong (verified) and It's uncomfortable to one-hand. I'm still waiting on shims so we can get the settings back to what AR calls for.

Even if I'm only doing the speed limit (how often is that?), she's such a joy to drive, in the canyons or on the Interstate. My wife likes riding in the 4C and keeps coming up with excuses for me to drive her 100 miles (round trip) to some place. Dare I say NO?
"We have all day, you can take the back-roads :wink2: "
 

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4Canada ..."But I think that I am understanding alfettapb's objection to the steering a little better now - hard to hold hands or put your arm around the woman in the passenger's seat while driving a winding road with the 4C's rack"...touche! Yeah glad you figured it out...smile!

4Canada/racer z ...being in north america you did not get the europe only "small" sports cars available here in the 1990s by fiat and alfa...I drove a Fiat barchetta briefly which was a very small roadster (under 1000kg) designed by fiat/ferrari but based on an existing fiat car platform (punto) which you also did not get in north america. It had a tiny 1.8 four cylinder 16valve engine, assisted rack fwd like its sister car but with only 2.4 turns lock to lock. Anyhow that was a fun little car but again with storage space of a thin briefcase and lhd only...not ideal for uk with rhd roads. It competed with the mazda mx5/miata. I now have a sporting Fiat city car, again not exported to north america called the 100hp, with 1.4 naturally aspirated engine, 6 speed box and wider track and tyres as standard based on the 500 which shares the same suspension but whose chassis is much sharper than the fiat 500 and just more fun....anyhow I wished an FCA product in a similar vein ...the 4c spider is I guess a successor but I must still try and get one on loan to see my own opinion of it seeing as you guys like yours so much!

Racer Z...glad you "and" your wife enjoy the 4c and take long drives just for the thrill of it...especially on back roads...you are lucky to have the weather in california for it to be usually fine when you travel! However I wish to ask...you know I have seen the 1966 movie "the graduate" more than a few times and there is a scene where ann bancroft (mrs robinson) climbs into the duetto to threaten Ben (Dustin Hoffman) and the rain is gushing outside on the street and the film was set in Pasadena and filmed I guessed in California...so that is rare for the weather to be like that or it was staged?! I digress..

Good luck with the 4c both of you and please relate any interesting stories in the forum...hope the car continues to thrill and that the geometry is easy to set racerz
 

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The Graduate - which prompted a spider to be named after the movie. I've never seen the movie, at least not that I can recall.

It does downpour here from time to time. Even though we are in a simi-arid dessert sandwiched between two large desserts, (the Mojave and the Sonora)) we get a monsoon about every five years. "El Nino" is expected this fall/winter. El Nino is spanish for "The Baby".

In 1963, and I was about five then, we did get a very bad rain storm with lightning and thunder (we never get thunder) that lasted for weeks. During that storm, the Baldwin Hills Dam burst destroying many houses and killing people here in the big flat city. Although the rain had nothing to do with the burst I can't separate the two.

Movies are generally a few years in the making. Perhaps the rain was real. Most likely they used fake rain so they could control the scene.

It never rains in Southern California, so the song goes. We average 10 inches a year here. But, once every five or six years, we get ten to twenty inches in one or two weeks. Meaning, for five years we get almost nothing, then we get flooded.

Here is a film clip of real rain in Los Angeles.
 

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However I wish to ask...you know I have seen the 1966 movie "the graduate" more than a few times and there is a scene where ann bancroft (mrs robinson) climbs into the duetto to threaten Ben (Dustin Hoffman) and the rain is gushing outside on the street and the film was set in Pasadena and filmed I guessed in California...so that is rare for the weather to be like that or it was staged?! I digress..
I watched The Graduate for the first time ever, the other day, interesting drama.

The Graduate, 1967 starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross. Co-starring a 1966 or 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto 1600 Spider. Later, Alfa made a "Graduate" model 1985-1990 Spider.

It looks like real rain to me. I would venture to say that it rained for a few days or even a week and they just went with it. Most of the roads and backdrops they used I'm familiar with. This is Southern California, including the freak rain storm. And, yes, that's the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Highway One between LA and Frisco.

 

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Racer z ...thanks for the clarification about the weather in california and I am glad that they filmed the graduate film rain scenes when it was actually raining...indeed the 1960's era films lacked CGI anything so everything was more real right?! Glad you found the "the graduate" film interesting also...I think there are some classic scenes in the film. So cool that you were able to relate to the actual roads and backdrops they used in the film too. The Golden Gate bridge looks impressive and I must at some point in the future traverse the bridge too. I liked the photography angles in the film...quite different to todays fims in my opinion.

I think Alfa Romeo USA should borrow an Alfa Romeo 4C (like yours for example) and make a commercial highlighting some scenes in the old film using the same roads and backdrops with the 4C as the product...even if they are on a long delivery time...for more mass exposure to the broader public who never heard of alfa or the 4c.
Ford Europe I remember made one of the best commercials of the 90's in my opinion by hiring the cameraman for the film "Bullitt" starring Steve Mcqueen to shoot the commercial using the exact same streets and backdrops of San Francisco in the famous car chase scene and superimposing Steve Mcqueen into the Ford Puma (originally the Ford Mustang) small sports coupe they were marketing.

 
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