Alfa Romeo 4C (2014 – 2019) Review

Alfa Romeo 4C (2014 – 2019) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Although more appealing as a modern classic than when it was available new, the Alfa Romeo 4C remains a frustratingly flawed car.

+Impressive performance. Exotic specification of carbon-fibre tub construction. Good looks and rarity.

-Engine sounds terrible. Interior lacks quality. Heinously over-active steering requires constant corrections.

On average it achieves 100% of the official MPG figure

The Alfa Romeo 4C had the looks, pace and exotic materials to put the Italian brand right back at the top of performance car buyers’ wishlists. It was even reasonably priced when new, given its rarity and beauty. Yet, its singular focus and poor build quality meant the car was no competition for the Porsche Cayman or even the Lotus Evora. Read on for our full Alfa Romeo 4C review.

You could almost hear the collective intake of breath from fans worldwide when the Alfa Romeo 4C was first shown in 2011.

Following the short-run, high-cost, if not fantastically received, Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, the Alfa Romeo 4C coupe, and later open-top Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, gave some hope to those seduced by the Italian brand that they might finally have something attainable worth saving for.

Forget sharp-looking Fiat-in-disguise models like the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the Alfa Romeo MiTo. The Alfa Romeo 4C was a proper, bespoke sports car that was lightweight and gorgeous – if you ignore the woeful Gary-from-Halfords-designed headlamps – mid-engined and rear-wheel drive. It was what an Alfa Romeo should be.   

Much of the appeal centred around its construction. It features a carbon-fibre tub, which might not mean anything to you, but it’s what Formula One drivers sit in.

Indeed, the only production cars to feature the same construction at the Alfa Romeo 4C’s launch included the McLaren 650S and the Lamborghini Aventador, plus a handful of other mega-money exotics and supercars. The Alfa Romeo 4C’s construction really does put it among some very rarefied machinery indeed.

In that company, then, the £45,000 that was asked for the Alfa Romeo 4C looked like something of a bargain.

Making that price possible did mean that many of the parts hanging off that fancy carbon-fibre tub were used elsewhere in the Alfa Romeo line-up, but the attention to detail remained impressive, regardless.

The mid-mounted engine, introduced with the Alfa Romeo 4C, is an aluminium 1750cc direct injection turbocharged unit, that lightweight build allowing it to drop some 22kg in weight over the same output and capacity engine in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV.

The dedication to weight reduction saw the Alfa Romeo 4C boast an unladen weight of 895kg, all of which means the 240PS and 350Nm of torque the 1750cc turbocharged unit produces is put to very good use.

Acceleration from 0-62mph arrives in just 4.5 seconds if you use the launch control, aided by the rapid shifts from the paddle-shifted automatic twin-clutch transmission.

All that performance and lightweight does come with some compromises, though. The Alfa Romeo 4C is a very single-minded machine, its focus on its featherweight build much in the same vein as the Lotus Elise, only here it’s arguably more compromised.

The cabin is tight, vision out of it heavily restricted, and it’s pretty austere in there. But then the Alfa Romeo 4C isn’t likely to be bought with commuting and daily drives in mind, so such focus is perhaps understandable.

Fancy a new Alfa Romeo? Read heycar's Alfa Romeo Stelvio review here.

Ask Honest John

Will the Alfa Romeo 4C become a valuable classic?

"Will the Alfa 4C become a valuable classic?"
If we knew that, we'd also be picking our lottery numbers this week. Alfas often do well, thanks to their Italian heritage, gorgeous styling, fizzy engines and petrolhead enthusiast base. So, to answer your question, we'd say yes - the Alfa 4C has a pretty decent chance of becoming a classic. How much it might be worth one day and how soon it's star will rise is anyone's guess.
Answered by Keith Moody

Can you recommend a sporty estate for my wife's business and a mid-engined sports car for me?

"I have been struggling to find a balance of cars in our garage. Our current cars are a 12-year-old Range Rover converted to LPG and a modified 55 plate Audi S4 V8. The latter satisfies my need for speed and my part-time car touring business, but is mainly used by my wife for work (lucky girl). And we use the Range Rover for very rural living and driving in the Highlands, winter conditions and for towing a large trailer. I drive a small van otherwise. What we need is a more economical but sporty estate for my wife's business travel (about 18,000 a year) and I would like to buy a mid range, mid-engined sports car (Alfa 4C?) with hopefully some luggage space for the touring, and keep the Rangie for emergencies. I'm struggling with the estate I'm afraid and keep coming back to the S4, which I love to bits. Help."
For the wife, the recently facelifted SEAT Exeo ST 2.0 TDI CR 143 should do the business at around 50mpg. But don't bank on keeping it longer than three years and then you should avoid the problems that modern diesels start to develop. For you, difficult. No chance of an Alfa 4C without paying a ridiculous premium for being one of the first to get one. You might as well go for what it's copied from: an Elise / Vauxhall VX220, and I’ve seen a new Opel roadster being tested on the roads of Bavaria. If an Elise, make sure it has the Toyota Motor. Or follow Steven Sutcliffe and put your name down for a Ginetta G60 which he rates much more hard core than a Porsche Cayman R (see Autocar 26-10-2011).
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Alfa Romeo 4C (2014 – 2019) cost?