The 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C — offered as a coupe or semi-convertible, called Spider — is a scaled-down supercar in more ways than one. First, it is simply smaller than Ferraris and Lamborghinis; second, in price, it comes in way below those cars, and third, it undercuts them in weight thanks to a carbon-fiber tub and a turbo-4.
There are two changes this year for the 4C: The 2018 Spider offers a front fascia with carbon-fiber vents and yellow stitching for the black leather seat option. An optional front fascia with carbon-fiber vents is added, and the interior with black leather seats and yellow stitching is now offered on black, white, and Basalt Gray 4C models.
The rest of the 4C formula remains exactly the same — raw, balanced, light, and feel-it-in-your-chest stylish.
The rear-wheel-drive and mid-engine setup make for sublime handling, and power comes from a 237-hp turbocharged inline four-cylinder.
The Alfa Romeo 4C is best bought as a specialty car that is used for fun. It looks special with its low menacing stance, scoops and curves. Lines flow from the triangular grille up front, and pronounced rear haunches give the look of a predator ready to pounce.
To be honest, it is not the most practical or comfortable car for everyday driving. The seats are tight, there is almost no luggage room, and it is so low to the ground it is tough to get out of — none of which matters once you are behind the wheel. That is because the designers and engineers the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider removed every bit of fat with the goal of boosting performance and enhancing the feel of the primary controls.
Sitting behind the carbon-fiber hot tub for two is a transversely mounted 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a dual-clutch automatic. Acceleration is commensurate with the Alfa’s shrunken-exotic looks. A blast to 60 mph takes 4.2 seconds and the quarter-mile passes in 12.9 seconds at 107 mph.
The 4C practically anticipates road challenges, although unassisted steering sends through unfiltered messages from the road. The rich texture of the pavement, every seam, and every break in the road is broadcast to your palms. Steering this car requires strength. The manual steering that is so great at speed, however, is tough to deal with at lower speeds.
The base price of the model I tested was $65,900. It topped off at $83,145 with the addition of Madreperla White tri-coat exterior paint and a lineup of other optional features available in the Track Package: a racing suspension with unique front and rear sway bars, stiffer shocks, a flat-bottom steering wheel with a microfiber insert, a carbon-fiber rear spoiler, and carbon-fiber exterior mirrors.
Also offered are staggered 18- and 19-inch wheels; xenon headlights; brake calipers painted red, black, silver, or yellow; an Akrapovic exhaust, and a premium Alpine audio system.
Fuel economy is pretty good for a sporty car, with a respectable 24 mpg city/ 34 mpg highway. The only drawback is the 4C requires premium fuel.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.