I am not here to talk about LaFerrari, I am here to talk about LaFerrari’s little sister, that little bundle of joy known simply as the Alfa Romeo 4C. I am not going to beat around the bush here, its freaking gorgeous. Its bite the back of your hand beautiful. Except for a slight thing, which I will come to later. This little sports car is magnificent. I would like to meet those so-called art experts who say that a car can never be art and have them take a look at Alfa Romeo’s portfolio. The 4C is a welcome addition to this portfolio. Its lines are just right, proportions are bang on. Its looks like a Lotus Elise’s sexier Italian cousin.
However, and many you will probably have noticed this, there is the small matter of those headlights. Oh yeah… Not great? Well, not ideal. But I am sure from the moment that car hits the street, tonnes of aftermarket headlights will be available. Our resident techie, good old Emmanuel pointed out that the lights remind him of the Nissan Juke’s lights, but having spent the last couple of weeks with a picture of the 4C as my desktop wallpaper, the lights have grown on me. They give the car character. However, I fear I may the only one who thinks so.
Anyway on to better things. The stats are pretty amazing too, with a dry weight of 895kg, and a total of 240bhp. Alfa execs claim that with fluids and a driver on board, the car will weigh about 1.1 tonnes. And that is quite astonishing. Weight saving is a key factor of this car. Essentially the engine is the same 1.75L engine from the Giulietta Cloverleaf, with one major difference, the block is made out of aluminium, saving about 25kg from the original steel block of the Giulietta. Alfa have also incorporated a carbon fibre tub into the mix. Here is a pub fact for you all, the Alfa Romeo 4C is the cheapest car to incorporate a carbon tub in its construction. The next car to use such construction is the Mclaren MP4-12C.
Then there is the interior, probably the least impressive aspect of this car. It is way too dark and cheap for my liking. Alfa claims that this car is designed to take on the Porsche Cayman. Performance wise it might, but luxury wise, it is way off. However, before i slack it off completely, i think the 4C is a better suited rival to the Lotus Elise. Nowadays Lotus is a lost brand, with cars which are just not good enough in today’s world. Sure, the offer heaps of driving pleasure, but in aspects such as comfort, luxury and economy, the little Norfolk turnip is outclassed by the likes of Porsche. So maybe this 4C can slot in between the rather below average Elise and the expensive Cayman. The 4C promises a great engine, with adequate economy, relative luxury, which while not being as luxurious as a Cayman, is not as spartan as an Elise. The dual clutch gearbox may get a few frowns from the Clutch Lovers Club, which is fair enough. A paddle operated gearbox is not going to be as engaging as a normal manual car, but like it or lump it, these flappy-paddle gearboxes are here to stay. Frankly I am one of the few who is open to seeing these new gearboxes gradually take over the manual. We live in a world where more often than not we spend most of our time in traffic, and in traffic a manual gearbox is just irritating. I say we welcome the new gearboxes with an open mind.
Back to the 4C. This car has a lot on its shoulders. It has the task of bringing Alfa back from the brink and re-establish itself as an enthusiasts car, and to take on the might of German manufacturers. Its David tackling Goliath, the little city-state of Florence taking on the might of Milan. Alfa is the underdog, and if history teaches us anything, those who have taken on the Germans have failed. Volvo, Rover, Lancia, Toyota, and Honda have all tried and failed. Alfa has only one thing that none of the Germans have. Style. Style is what could lift Alfa from the brink and back to pole position. Look at Jaguar. Since the launch of the XF, they have been on a roll. Profits are up, people are back to being interested in their cars again. Alfa need to do the same. However, for Alfa to succeed it needs one more thing. It needs you, the reader. Alfa needs you to look at their car not for what Alfa has been known for in the past, as unreliable rust machines, but as beautiful cars. I urge you, readers, to give them a chance. I, myself dream of the day I could own an Alfa and be proud that I did not follow the German crowd.