2015 Alfa Romeo 4C, one lusty Italian: Motoramic Drives
Italians always notice a unique something about a car. Kids to grandmothers turn, point, and make comments. Seeing as the car this day was the new Alfa Romeo 4C coupe, they had every good excuse to come gather round whenever I stopped to pose in some piazza.
The 4C (pronounced “kwah-troh chee” by the locals) is flat-out stunning. The only aesthetic tidbit that doesn’t excite me on the outside is the front light design borrowed from spider eyes.
The big return of Alfa Romeo to the United States has been planned, rumored, and cancelled a multitude of times since the buzzing started around 2005. In this latest case, we were all given to believe that the 4C was the official relaunch on American soil of the sporty brand and was due to arrive here by the end of 2013. Well, that has now been revised out a bit to give the 4C a landing date of May 2014.
The bigger question: Is depending on the limited-production impractical (albeit fantastic) 4C for the relaunch into American heartstrings really smart? How long do we have to wait then for a higher volume sedan to rival BMW? If the answer, as I suspect, is three or more years, then I can just wish Alfa lots of luck.
But the 4C is a tough thing with a clear purpose. Cash-bleeding Alfa Romeo cannot even dream of a global 3- or 5-Series BMW fighter that we all take seriously. So, what do they do? A really tight and well-arranged sports car sexy enough to turn heads, even in mother Italy. The 4C is dynamically just about 100 percent more interesting than the hot mess Alfa called the 8C Competizione. The engine here is in the right place – right behind the passenger cabin – and thus natural balance is in the 4C’s game. Weight distribution fore/aft is at 40/60 percent, so we’ve got a legit rear-drive funhouse on our hands.
There will be many North Americans who will beat up the Alfa 4C when it arrives because it only has 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and “only” accelerates to 60 mph from a stop in an estimated 4.4 seconds. For this particular Alfa, those numbers not only make sense but stay true to its heritage. Besides, even in portlier U.S. curb weight with driver aboard, the 4C will most likely tip a scale at close to 2,500 pounds – still a featherweight among sports cars.