The Alfa Romeo 4C is possibly one of the cars that I was most happy to drive in 2014 sharing a list, among others, with the BMW i8 and with the Morgan 3 Wheeler. It has endless ingredients that make it one of those adult toys that we petrolheads like so much: a very contained weight, a carbon fiber chassis, a good weight / power ratio, the engine on the back, it is two-seater, rear-wheel drive, low, wide, has a good sound (I would say the best among 4-cylinder cars ) … and it’s also pretty.
I see my faces again with the Alfa Romeo 4C, I get behind his wheel again. Of course, this time the place of the appointment has changed a bit. We are in the Jarama circuit and it is time to see how capable the new Alfa Romeo sports car is on the firm of the Madrid track.
The Alfa Romeo 4C is priced at 53,990 euros
At the end of the box, waiting patiently, in the pit lane, three 4C units await me, including one with a nice combination of gray bodywork and yellow brake calipers. There is still half an hour left for us to reach noon, the asphalt although cold is dry after the storms of the previous days and the sun shines on the track. Alfa Romeo has invited some of the first owners of the Alfa Romeo 4C and incidentally they have called us to see how he develops in circuit with his brothers, the Alfa Romeo Mito QV and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV.
Already started, taking temperature, the Alfa Romeo 4C awaits me. Time is pressing, it is too pressing, but I can’t help but take a few laps around it to once again enjoy its silhouette, those curved wheel arches, the heart-shaped rear air intakes, that rear aerodynamic appendage. … Yes, its design has me totally captivated and I still wonder why I don’t have a Lotus elise in my garage.
In person it is perceived much wider that in the photos and you even happen to look at its peculiar and controversial optics with good eyes, but it is time to dive inside and get going.
In figures, the Alfa Romeo 4C measures 3,989 mm long, 1,864 mm wide, 1,183 mm high and has a 2380 mm wheelbase.
The carbon fiber of its chassis welcomes us to an interior devoid of any superfluous additives, only a small radio with a classic cut ready to make a gap between the delicious notes of the melody of an engine that arrives practically without any leakage into the cabin. It even seems that if you pay attention you will be able to hear the injectors working.
At our back an engine of 4 cylinders in line supercharged, 1,750cc and developed in aluminum, which delivers a power of 240 horses to the rear axle with a pair of 350 Nm, with a box of dual clutch shift TCT which is operated from buttons located on the central bridge; around us a good and low driving position in a set that, when dry, does not reach 900 kg; in front the end of the pit lane and the last meters of the Jarama straight. Time to hit the gas.
At our feet a precise and beautiful bottom bracket that collides with a coarse two-spoke steering wheel with a very improvable appearance, something that we can also say about elements such as aerators, but that at least it is small and graceful in circuit maneuvers. Of course entering to question this car for the interior finishes implies not understanding its philosophy. Behind this steering wheel, the speedometer display of its fully digital instrumentation does not stop ascending in our journey to the end of the straight while a fat sound, like a very hot compact, invades the cabin. The turbo has all the prominence of this melodyYou don’t stop hearing blows and more blows in each meter traveled. I like how little filtered it is, but at the same time it shows less pure than I would like.
It picks up a fast pace, accelerates with commendable alacrity and the response of its propeller is forceful, we reached the first right turn and hit the brakes before setting the pace with a direction that we remember lacks assistance.
The feel of the braking is hard and its brakes, signed by Brembo, work perfectly. The harsh direction of the slow maneuvers in the pit lane is now accompanied by a soft sensation that gains weight when negotiating the first turn but does not require too much steering wheel to mark the line. A little twist and we have already lined up the curve.
We gained pace, we started to increase speed and immediately we are facing the climb from Le Mans to Ascari with a very pleasant feeling, after having passed through Farina, that the car is capable of taking curves with enormous strength, with an excellent cornering that gives us neutral first bars (although far from the cornering of cars like the Golf R, the RCZ R or the TT RS) to then reveal a very slight understeer that helps us to line the exit of the curve.
The bumpy of the Jarama pianos are quite noticeable in the cabin, they come quite forcefully to the seats. The suspension is very firm and the isolation minimalYou perfectly notice those little stones that have penetrated the road surface.
The Alfa Romeo 4C set a time at the Nürburgring of 8 minutes and 4 seconds.
Gearbox TCT it’s fast, it responds perfectly to our orders and in the second lap, rolling with greater confidence and faster, I find that the 4C does not seek to lose behind in any curve. We could force it to do so with gas, yes, but the nature of this car lends itself precisely to the opposite.
The blasts of its turbo continue to accompany us meter by meter in our meeting at Jarama. Torque delivery is forceful from the first steps and around you you notice how a whole host of sensations begin to invade you (steering, little isolation, driving position, its width, its sound …) that make driving the 4C a more than addictive experience and in fact while I run out of minutes in the circuit and I face the entrance to the pit lane I am thinking of reviewing the second-hand ads of the Lotus Elise again … I was about to get one weeks ago and the Alfa Romeo 4C well takes care of reminding me why I want one. I shake my head, listen to the last low notes of his engine, brake, and unbuckle my seat belt. One last visual review around me (cursing again how ugly the steering wheel seems to me) and I leave the low cabin of this Italian. Sigh.
A few meters from the 4C a Alfa Romeo Mito Quadrifoglio Green. The comparisons are hateful. I get in, adjust the controls, and launch into a few more turns at the Jarama before eating. I take them as detoxification therapy, 4C has me in love.
Reflections at the foot of pisto
It is manufactured at the Maserati plant in Modena. Its production is limited to 3,500 units per year, 1,000 for Europe.
On the way to the remodeled Jarama cafeteria, I meet a couple of 4Cs of customers. One of them is the special launch edition, the other sports a spectacular look, red with a black roof and gold wheels. Awesome. A Lamborghini Huracán and a Gallardo also make an appearance, I think that if I also had one of these horns in the garage, I would not hesitate to buy an Alfa Romeo 4C as well.
A plate of ratatouille awaits me in the Jarama cafeteria on which to reflect before throwing myself on the keyboard. I love the Alfa Romeo 4C, the rawness of its sensations, the few “half measures” of its concept and the ease that it nevertheless transmits when approaching a curve. Mixed feelings with its sound and a good feeling when it comes to power delivery, cornering, suspension and braking.
Aesthetically I loveI would prefer it with the new 4C Spider headlights, yes, with the headlights with which it is marketed in the United States, but I say again that little by little and live I’m seeing these optics with better eyes.
I already raised the question some time ago, when I got on the 4C for the first time, Would you buy it for me before a Porsche Cayman? Difficult question of course. The Porsche offers us large doses of sportsmanship with a careful interior that has a lot of GT and a really attractive appearance, the formula a priori seems better than that of the 4C, but the Italian has that passionate charm that makes you send all glimpses to take wind of comfort. It is difficult to choose between a Porsche Cayman and a 4C and it is that no, they are not entirely comparable, but there they are both, sports, two-seaters, with the engine in place and at equal prices …
Time to face the Jarama exit tunnel. I hope we see each other again soon 4C. In case I sneak in, I have already asked Santa Claus for mine …