ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE
SPIDER FROM ALFA
The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, Jan 23, 2016
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
If the late David Bowie were a car, we think he would have been an Alfa Romeo 4C Spider—or surely it would have been one of his more prominent personas: conspicuous, rambunctious, outlandish and sexy. It’s the alpha dog of the automotive kennel. Reviewer Harvey Schwartz marvels at both the pleasure and pain of the Alfa.
Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz
Part of the Fiat Group, the Alfa Romero brand is now on sale at select Chrysler/Dodge dealers. Second off the ship is the amazing Alfa Romero 4C Spider that followed the 4C coupe introduced early last year. The 4C carries the Alfa Romeo DNA perfectly with exclusive styling, unique construction, a powerful turbocharged engine, race-bred suspension, strong brakes, staggered wheels/tires plus a very racy interior. The new 4C Spider gives a more adrenaline-charged driving experience with open-air enjoyment.
The car is a handful to drive but fun and exciting when you get going. A couple of caveats though: To fully enjoy the driving experience, the consumer should not be more than 5 feet 10 inches tall, I am 6 feet 3 inches and had to shoehorn myself in and out. Also, the engine sits behind the seats, and with the performance exhaust, it is very loud—even when the windows are up. Plus, it crackles and burbles when downshifting, making it sound as close to a real race-car as you can get.
The Alfa 4C has a style and design like no other sports car on the American roads. Lower aero side extensions help with high-speed stability. The headlamp clusters feature bi-Xeon headlamps, LED DRLs that is also carbon fiber intensive. Down below is a flat pan to help smooth air entering underneath. Other drivers race up to the Alfa, smile, and ask “what is it?”
The 4C is something special. It weighs just 2,487 pounds (amazing) and the super-potent engine develops 237 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and 258 pound-feet of torque at just 2,200 thru 4,250 rpm. It feels like a rocket! The feeling is outrageous even at high speeds, when I push the throttle the car just powers forward and my head is thrown back. To add frosting to this delicious cake, the rev-matching paddle shifts and ultra quick gear changes are amazing—just like a formula racecar.
Exiting the hot gases are three available exhaust systems, each loud and throaty. The all-new Akrapovic dual-mode exhaust will be available later in the year., developed with racing exhaust experts at Akrapovic. There is also a standard and racing exhaust system. The test 4C Spider came with the racing exhaust system that removes the muffler and instead integrates a uniquely designed asymmetric Y-shape system after the catalyst. It can be heard from a block away.
Planting all of this power and torque to the pavement is a fully independent suspension. Straight-ahead at very high speeds and when slicing through steep curving back roads, the 4C Spider always held its place. Like riding on rails, it feels so much like a real racecar for the streets.
A most interesting part of the new 4C Spider is the deletion of a power-steering system. Yes, in Alfa’s desire to have maximum agility and road feel, the ultra-lightweight 4C Spider has manual rack & pinion steering! It felt strange at the beginning (having to move forward or backward to turn the wheel), but I really appreciate the extra precision and feel for the road with this unique system.
Safely and quickly slowing the new 4C Spider down from speed and when entering steep curving roads are fantastic drilled power disc brakes with up to 1.25g of braking deceleration. Up front are 12 inch vented discs clamped with fixed Brembo 4-piston calipers and 11.5 inch vented discs clamped with dual piston opposed calipers in the rear. The brakes have a very linear feeling-equal and fast acting. Standard ABS, EBD and all-speed traction control (which can be turned off) help maintain directional stability on wet and slick pavement.
Alfa practically thought of everything with the all-new 4C Spider, including the staggered wheels and tires that make a big footprint for maximum acceleration and handling. Up front are 18X8 inch forged alloy wheels wrapped with 205/40ZR18 inch Pirelli P-Zero low profile high-performance tires, and rear 19X8.5 inch forged alloy wheels wrapped with Pirelli 235/35ZR19 inch P-Zero low profile high-performance tires.
The interior projects the supercar styling, power and performance inside with a racy cabin for two. A boy-racer’s delight—and I mean boy because you better be less than 6 feet to enter and exit easy and enjoy the tight cockpit. The 4C Spider interior is inspired from Alfa’s racing heritage, purpose-built with only the essential driving components nicely integrated, canted to me with easy to reach buttons and toggle switches.
The all-new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is as close as you can get to a real compact racecar with Alfa’s unique, sexy styling, a very high-performance engine mated to a lightning-quick transmission, sport-tuned suspension, precise manual steering, power brakes, and staggered wheels that only heighten the senses for extreme motorsports fun on the road and on the track.
© Words supra and pictures by Harvey Schwartz
Hot tramp, I love you so.
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For more information about Alfa Romeo products, go to alfaromeousa.com
Name of vehicle:
2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
Price: $63,900.00 base/$71,895.00 as tested including destination
EPA fuel economy ratings:
24 mpg city/34 mpg highway
1.7 liter DOHC 16-valve turbocharged, direct injection in-line four with intercooler
237 horsepower at 6,000 rpm
258 pound-feet of torque at 2,200-4,250 rpm
6-speed twin clutch automatic with paddle shifters and launch control
Manual rack & pinion
Mid-engine, rear drive
Four-wheel independent with front and rear stabilizer bars
Brakes Front 12 inch vented discs clamped with fixed Brembo 4-piston calipers Rear 11.5 inch vented discs clamped with dual piston opposed calipers Standard ABS, EBD and all-speed traction control (can be turned off) Wheels and tires 18X8-inch alloy wheels with 235/40R18 performance tires Dimensions Total length: 157 inches Total width: 73.5 inches Total height: 46.7 inches Curb weight: 2,487 pounds