Alfa-Romeo 4C Spider
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Review Of The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Coupe
Looking for an objective review of the new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Coupe? OSV has got you covered, from engines to lease deals.
The new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Coupe is a hotshot, flamboyant Italian sports car that has two seats, charisma, and superstar performance. The best thing? It comes with an affordable price tag.
If you want to level up your sports car game, the new Spider is a great way to do it. Cheaper than a lot of rivals, it’s got bags of race-track heritage and is a born entertainer. It’s also an exhibitionist that knows the importance of looking good on the road.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Coupe review.
On The Road
The new car is super comfortable – exactly what you need for a classy driving experience. Getting the driving position just right was one of Alfa Romeo’s chief aims when designing this car, and they’ve absolutely nailed it. The position of the pedals is well-judged, too, which means you don’t have to worry about faffing around as you try to get “right.” This is a sports car that puts you at the heart of the action.
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It handles well, something which is helped by being so light. Tipping the scales at just 895kg, it’s got all the deftness of a ballerina. And to demonstrate just how much thought Alfa Romeo has put into getting this car’s nimbleness just right, they’ve even thinned the window panes for max lightness!
There is just one engine available – 1.75-litre turbocharged petrol unit that can deliver up to 237bhp. It can get you from a rest to 62mph in less than 5.0 seconds, which makes it quicker than a fair number of rivals. And despite being so light, it also has more pulling power than a number of rivals, too.
However, the turbocharger – despite boosting fuel economy – does make the 4C Spider Coupe feel a bit rough around the edges. There are certainly smoother cars in this sector, this car struggles with turbo lag at times. When you want instant power, you will be made to wait.
In standard form, it feels a bit stripped back. Sports exhaust and sports suspension are missing, while 18” alloys are only available as an optional extra. However, the standard setup, though less sporty, is more comfortable. It still offers a raw, untamed driving experience, too. The exhaust barks and the steering always feels good.
Interior, Design & Build of The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
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The dashboard is very driver-focused. It’s minimalist but tilted towards the driver, in a nod to legendary Alfa Romeo sports cars. However, we expect better from a £52,000 cabin than the cheap, hard plastics that you’ll find in here – cheap, hard plastics which are shared with Fiat models, might we add.
Carbon-fibre finish is a nice touch, while the TFT screen dispenses with any need for button clutter and modernises the dash. We also like the leather door pulls, but the interior doesn’t quite much up to the flair of the exterior.
This is a two-seater, so it’s more of a party piece than something you use every day to do everyday things in. The boot can only measure 110-litres, which makes it just about ideal for a weekend getaway. However, it gets hot quickly – something to bear in mind if you don’t want to defrost your food or cook a pizza by mistake on your way home from Tesco.
The low-set seats are great once you’re in them, but getting in them isn’t easy. Space, however, is compromised and the two of you may feel hemmed in. There is no glove box, but you do get a cubby sandwiched between you and your passenger.
Equipment & Safety
Standard equipment is disappointing. Included in the asking price are a stereo system and air con, but satellite navigation, cruise control, leather seats and even floor mats are all extras. Moreover, the stereo system looks like something Alfa Romeo picked up from Curry’s.
One good thing to come from Alfa Romeo’s partnership with Fiat is that the former is helping Alfa Romeo to improve the reliability of its cars. As such, the 4C Spider borrows its transmission and engine from other tried and tested models. The car hasn’t – and won’t be – crashed tested by Euro NCAP. Frustratingly, rear parking sensors are only available as an optional extra.
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Costs Of The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Coupe
Prices for the new car start out from £59,500 and rise to £67,500. If you’re thinking about leasing the car, you can pick up a deal from as little as £575 + VAT per month.
In terms of running costs, this two-seater sports car offers a decent return. It doesn’t weigh much, which helps. According to official figures, you can achieve fuel economy returns of over 40mpg. That’s hugely impressive when you consider how fast this car can go. However, it’s unlikely you’ll get anywhere near those figures on an everyday basis.
What’s not up for debate is the yearly road tax bill is just £175. Sports cars like this are getting greener all the time.
Pros and Cons Of The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Coupe
Looks The Part
Alfa Romeo doesn’t make conservative-looking cars. They go all out to make theirs as eye-catching as possible. Buy this, and all eyes will be on you.
If a thunderous engine noise gets you pumped-up like nothing else, the 4C Spider will satisfy your whims.
It’s An Italian SportsCar!
It’s all about that heritage.
Difficult To Handle
Ever taken a snarling pit bull for a walk that growls at old ladies, pulls you this way and that, and feels as though it’s going to snap its leash? This is like that.
Power Delivery Lags
Power delivery is stubborn – and this can be annoying.
Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Coupe vs Lotus Exige Roadster vs Porsche Boxster Roadster
Let’s see if the car comes out on top when pitted against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Coupe review.
Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Coupe vs Lotus Exige Roadster
The new Lotus Exige Roadster is one of the best-handling cars the brand has ever put together. It looks mean, offers monstrous performance and is massively desirable.
This is a pocket rocket; a mini-looking super car that looks as though it’s got a chip on its shoulder. And like most of us, it’s at its snarling best when it’s angry. It’s instinctive, moody and super quick.
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The reason people buy this car is because of its engines, its performance, and its handing prowess. And now that it weighs less than ever, it fares better in all these departments than it ever has done before. And because it doesn’t come with power-assist steering, it feels pure and natural. Just how we like it.
And despite all the ferocious power and performance on offer, you feel confident behind the wheel, thanks to the fact that the front wheels let you know when you’re low on grip.
There are two models available, a 350 and a 380. The 350 can do 0-62 in 3.8 seconds before maxing out at 170mph, but the deafening 380 is quicker still. The former is powered by a 345bhp engine, and will be good enough for most. Both cars, however, are at their best when you take them to a race track and let them off their leash. At normal driving speeds, they’re still fun but they lack that urge and raw, feral instinct that we cherish.
Posturing on race tracks and city streets are what we love to do in cars like this. Inside, however, things are not so great. The Exige’s cabin is just somewhere to park your butt and have fun behind the wheel. It’s simply designed and crafted, and the car misses out on the likes of air conditioning and electric seats.
And air conditioning is going to be something you pine for on searingly hot summer days. It’s not the most comfortable of cars either, while the wide tyres and roaring engine make a noise that can great on the days when you just want to unwind a tad.
It is fuss-free, however, and this applies to how practical the car is. It’s got all the essentials – two seats, a boot, but it doesn’t make any attempts to accommodate you above and beyond the call of duty. Climbing into the car is tricky, and the heat and noise could make you feel claustrophobic.
Taller passengers might struggle for comfort, while storage spaces are few and far between. The boot measures just 98-litres, and the whole experience of being inside this car feels a bit uncivilised.
Alfa Romeo – £59,500 – £67,500
Lotus – £56,000 – £63,000
Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Coupe vs Porsche 718 Boxster Roadster
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The new two-seater Porsche 718 Boxster now comes powered by brand new four-pot engines that might leave a sour taste in the mouth of enthusiasts. However, despite the loss of naturally aspirated engines, this is actually more powerful and cheaper to run than before.
Moreover, it’s one of the best cars to drive in this class. It isn’t as frenetic as it used to be, and it has lost a bit of verve and character. But it’s never been this fast, nor this composed.
The suspension has been revised, and the ride height has been reduced by 10mm. Both these changes contribute to improved drivability and go some way to boosting this cars appeal.
Part of the reboot is better ride quality. The new suspension setup does a good job of absorbing the worst lumps and bumps that Britain’s roads can throw at you, while the mid-engined layout ensures balance, poise and agility.
There are just two engines to choose from, and they’re both petrol’s. Both the 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre power plants have four cylinders, and both offer plenty of pace and performance. The smaller of the two engines develops up to 296bhp, which is enough to get you from a standstill in 4.7 seconds when you’re in the mood. However, this sort of blistering pace is only available if you’d the Sport Chrono Pack, which comes with the speed-busting launch control system.
The 2.5-litre engine feels more athletic. It delivers up to 345bhp, and can rocket you from a rest to 62 in a matter of 4.2 seconds if you opt for the Sport Chrono Pack.
It might seem unfair to have to pay extra to push this car to its limits, but it’s still lightning quick without launch control. It’s certainly not an essential.
If there is one thing we can all agree is a positive outcome of the introduction of turbochargers it’s the reduced running costs. In 2017, the manual Porsche 718 Boxster can achieve fuel economy returns up to 38.2mpg. These sort of figures would have been unthinkable a few years back.
The cabin has been modernised. An enhanced infotainment system has helped to this end, as have some upgraded air vent trims and a smaller wheel. However, the cabin has always been well crafted and lovingly built, so there wasn’t a whole lot to improve on. It was very much a case of building on past successes. The 7” touchscreen looks great, Apple Car Play is an option, and the controls and buttons are easy to use.
Despite having just two seats, the 718 Boxster is not totally unusable. The roof can be lowered in 9 seconds flat, storage spaces are good, while the car coms with two boots that together can offer 280-litres of space.
Porsche – £41,700 – £50,700
Verdict Of Our 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Coupe Review
If you’re up for a challenge, owning one of these bad boys might be a good idea. For anyone who doesn’t want to go to war with their car as they nip to Tesco, however, you might want to look elsewhere.
This is a handful that literally wants to fight you as soon as you fire it up. It’s fierce, awkward – but thrilling. It does lag a bit, and you will need to push it hard to get it to play ball. But once you’ve got a hang of it, the new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Coupe is a feisty Italian two-seater that rewards willing enthusiasts.
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