Dollar for dollar, nobody builds a sports car to outperform those built in the U.S. When it comes to luxury, it is hard to beat the Germans but when you are looking for a beautiful sports car you simply must go to the Italians. Nobody builds a better looking car than the Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati, but the sticker shock on one of those cars can make your heart stop and run backward. So, how about the economical Alfa Romeo? If speculators are accurate, the 2014 New York International Auto Show will be the site that finally debuts a mass produced Italian automobile that not only looks fantastic but will be economically priced as well.
The car’s unmistakable triangular front grille, voracious lower air dams, and pavement hugging center of gravity proclaim a level of performance that exceeds the average. Its gross vehicle weight of just 2100-pounds (which stands to be supplemented with the presence of two side airbags, two knee airbags, and other mandated equipment for U.S.-bound models) is easily inspired by the mid-mounted dual-overhead cam 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that manages to produce 237-hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. It has the capacity to bolt from 0 to 60 mph in only 4.4-seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph. In order to reduce turbo-lag the engine uses an excess valve overlap theology, in low RPM open-throttle situations, maximizing air availability at the turbocharger intake. Everything about the engine in the 4C is overdone, making engine performance modification a near necessity. Expect a dramatic increase in factory engine performance in succeeding models, as well. The Italian version of the 4C is fitted with open exhaust so that it snarls with even the slightest acceleration and reverberates beautifully upon deceleration. The six-speed dual dry clutch automatic transmission shifts quickly and can be controlled using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters if you so desire. Electronically adaptive rear-wheel drive (called Alfa DNA) allows you to select the level of control most suitable for your particular driving application.
Rich and supple leather seating with driver friendly features such as a fully digital instrument cluster with the speedometer, tachometer, and engine monitoring gauges squeezed tightly into an area approximately the size of an open check book, and a flat-bottom steering wheel, with the full regiment of buttons, serve-up an atmosphere which could only be borne of the rich tradition created by many generations of machines with a focus on performance. The controls consist of a few simple switches and buttons that are very straightforward and incredibly easy to use.
The carbon-fiber body composition, with dual aluminum crash-box design for added safety, combined with the high-double wishbone front and McPherson rear suspension systems allow the 2015 Alfa Romeo C4 to seemingly melt into the curves as car and driver virtually become one being dancing effortlessly in a precisely choreographed series of movements that decree nothing less than an all out assault on the pavement below. The Pirelli P-Zero tires nip into the curves upon entry, grabbing and gaining ground, and then propel the tiny automobile forward like a sling-shot upon exit.